Saturday, February 12, 2011

Hardly Worth Mentioning Anymore...

Maybe that was their plan. Maybe if they ride it out, they can just keep getting away with it once the story becomes so commonplace and tedious that people get bored with the news and just stop caring, or assume that something was done.

Two stories today. From the first:
The priest, the Rev. Martin P. O’Loghlen, was once a leader in his religious order and was appointed to an archdiocesan sexual abuse advisory board, although officials at both the order and the archdiocese knew at the time about his admission of sexual abuse and addiction. He served on the board, which was meant to review accusations of abuse by priests, for at least two years in the late 1990s, according to church and legal documents.
From the second:
Nearly a decade after the scandal over sexual abuse by priests erupted, Philadelphia's district attorney has taken a step no prosecutor in the U.S. had taken before: filing criminal charges against a high-ranking Roman Catholic official for allegedly failing to protect children.


Williams announced charges Thursday against three priests, a parochial school teacher and Monsignor William Lynn, who as secretary of the clergy was one of the top officials in the Philadelphia Archdiocese from 1992 to 2004.

The three priests and the teacher were charged with raping boys. Lynn, 60, was accused not of molesting children but of endangering them. A damning grand jury report said at least two boys were sexually assaulted because he put two known pedophiles in posts where they had contact with youngsters.

"The rapist priests we accuse were well-known to the secretary of clergy, but he cloaked their conduct and put them in place to do it again," the report said.

The grand jury report went further and suggested that the archbishop at the time, Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, who retired in 2003, may have known what was going on.


Over the past decade, prosecutors have pressed high-ranking church officials in the U.S. to accept responsibility for covering up abuse but never actually brought criminal charges against them as individuals.

For instance, Phoenix Bishop Thomas O'Brien admitted in 2003 that he sheltered abusive priests, an acknowledgment made as part of a deal with prosecutors that gave him immunity from any potential obstruction-of-justice charge. He agreed to institute reforms and cede some authority to other church officials.

The Diocese of Manchester, N.H., admitted wrongdoing but avoided criminal charges in 2003. The Archdiocese of Cincinnati pleaded no contest in 2003 to charges of failing to tell authorities about sex abuse claims against priests, paid a find and created a fund for victims.

And in 2005, the Boston Archdiocese struck a deal to avoid an unprecedented federal indictment on allegations of making a false statement to federal authorities. Among other things, the archdiocese agreed to closer scrutiny of its child-protection programs.

This isn't going to go away just because you make room-mothers at Catholic schools take useless VIRTUS training. Anything short of massive institutional reform will not solve the entrenched corruption which is inherent to the very structures of power and how relationships and accountability work (or don't work) among the clergy.

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