Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Bishop's Deposition Details Attempts to Keep Sexual Abuse Secret

The stories about the heinous conduct of the Roman Catholic Church hierarchy to protect predatory priests and cover up the rampant sexual abuse of children and minors just keep unfolding. As the Chicago Tribune is reporting, the deposition of a former Auxiliary Bishop for the Archdiocese of Chicago reveals over two dozen predator priest who were knowingly protected by the archdiocese with apparently little or no regard for the minors being molested by these priests. Rather, it was all about protecting the Church's reputation and to Hell with the laws against molesting minors and aiding and abetting crimes. I suspect the deposition is a microcosm of what happened in diocese all around the world - and may still be happening despite the Church's disingenuous promises that it has put its house in order. Meanwhile, those who covered up abuse and enabled predatory priests have never been held to account under either Church law or the civil laws. Here are some story highlights:
The archdiocese of Chicago has agreed to pay $3.9 million to settle six sexual abuse cases and on Tuesday released a bishop's deposition that detailed the church's failure to report the crimes and attempts to keep them secret.
The 180-page deposition provides a rare glimpse of "how clerical culture operated in the past," said Jeffrey R. Anderson, an attorney for the victims. Retired Auxiliary Bishop Raymond Goedert, the second-highest-ranking bishop in the Chicago archdiocese, testified that most of the priests he confronted with sexual abuse charges admitted them.
"I knew the civil law considered it a crime," Goedert said in his deposition, adding that he felt church law required him to treat matters confidentially. "I simply would not talk about [the cases] to anyone except those who had a right to know because of their position in the diocese."
"What emerges here is that the interests of the institution come first, then the man, the perpetrator of crime," Pearlman said. "And somewhere in the distance [are] the victims of the crime. Their priorities are in the wrong order."

The deposition shows how "deeply ingrained secrecy" is in this archdiocese, Barbara Dorris, the outreach director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said in a statement. . . . "That confidentiality allowed the archdiocese to move serial predators from parish to parish without congregations' knowledge about child-abuse allegations," she said.
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago paid more than $15.8 million in legal settlements related to sexual abuse last year, amounting to $80.2 million in claims from June 2001 to June 2008.
I continue to believe that a married clergy would not have so coldly and uncaringly ignored the interests of the minors being abused. Few parents would not feel compelled to stop such abuse but for a group of celibate men without families, the institution mattered more than the children. Benedict XVI and others in the hierarchy still do not get it - and never will.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Let Go...Let Peace Come In Foundation is a newly formed nonprofit with a mission to help heal and support adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse worldwide. We are actively seeking adult survivors who would be willing to post a childhood photo and caption, their story, or their creative expressions to our website www.letgoletpeacecomein.org. We need to "show" the world that we will no longer be silenced and that there are enough of us to make a difference. By uniting survivors from across the globe we can help provide a stronger and more powerful voice to those survivors who have not yet found the courage to speak out. Together we can; together we should; together we NEED to stand up and be counted. Please visit our site for more details on how you can send us your submissions.

Thank you for everything you do!

Gretchen Paules
Administrative Director
Let Go...Let Peace Come In Foundation
111 Presidential Blvd., Suite 212
Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004