|Clerical Sex, Blackmail, and Sexual Abuse|
PRELIMINARY CONSIDERATIONS FOR THE UNDERSTANDING OF THE GENEALOGY OF SEXUAL ABUSE BY CATHOLIC CLERGY
Nov 6, 2008
The long history of the Catholic Church records popes, cardinals, bishops, and priests who were saints and heroes. Their lives are powerful forces to inspire others to live like Christ. Likewise, the historical record tallies some from each group who were sexually active. They, too, can do good works. Although clergy who had concubines were troublesome or a distraction to the clerical system, for the most part they were tolerable — and still are. Thirty percent of German priests are reported to have women companions. The number in the Netherlands, Spain, and Switzerland is arguably fifty percent. Estimates for the African and South American clergy run much higher.
Records exist from the first centuries of the Church that refer to sex between clerics. This group of clergy who is sexually active with each other are more problematic to the clerical system. Those who abuse minors — girls and particularly boys—is intolerable within the clerical system.
In 1049 a saint wrote the core Church document that outlines and analyzes this clerical behavior and its effects.
The dynamics of priests having sex with each other or with seminarians is particularly relevant today to the Church in the United States.
QUESTIONS: First: Which clerics abuse? Second: Why do even good clergy who know about sexual abuse by other priests and bishops still refuse to speak up about it? The questions are vital for the protection of children. They are also provocative given the record of at least five American cardinals. (Cf. Attachment. FACT SHEET)
THESIS: The Roman Catholic Clerical System produces and protects a certain number of sexually active clergy some of whom who abuse minors.
It must be remembered that sexually active priests, bishops, and cardinals can do, and have done, a great deal of genuine good. At times their sexual activity can be regarded as ‘normal’ from a purely secular and psychological viewpoint—that is it is with an appropriate adult consenting partner. Because of the requirement and profession of celibacy sexual activity by any cleric is never a neutral act systemically—even if secret, it always has some influence on the culture, usually negative. From experience and reliable accounts I could list multiple cases of clerical generational sexual activity—that is priests who have been sexually active with another priest who in turn sexually abuses a minor; this behavior demonstrates the pattern that permits and transmits activity leading to or perpetuating abuse of minors. I will record only four here.
SNAP 2008 FACT SHEET ON CHILD SEX ABUSE AND COVER UP
America's Five Worst Catholic Cardinals
The bishops of the United States pledged in 2002 to respond quickly, openly and compassionately to the crisis of clergy child molestation.
Despite that promise, these men, who know that child sex abuse—beyond sin—is criminal and destructive to lives and the mission and image of the Church, have betrayed trust and violated their word. This list focuses on five Cardinals' admitted, proven, or alleged offenses within the past six years,
1. Cardinal Francis George of Chicago
The police questioned Fr. Daniel McCormack in August 2005 because of abuse allegations. Two months later the Chicago lay review board recommended that George suspend McCormack. George refused, kept silent, and let his chancellor promote McCormack to another parish. Three months later police arrested McCormack. the district attorney said that McCormack molested at least three boys during the last few months of his active parish ministry in Chicago 's inner city. Prosecutors claim one of the children had been assaulted "on an almost daily" basis.
Subsequently McCormack pled guilty to child molestation.
Later, records obtained by victims' attorneys showed that already in 1999 a school principal reported accusations against McCormack to archdiocesan officials. Nothing was done.
Adding insult to injury, five high ranking church officials closely involved in this fiasco have since been promoted.
A female school principal was the only archdiocesan staffer to call the police. She has been fired. Church authorities refuse to explain why.
While the McCormack case has received some attention George displayed shocking callousness, recklessness, and secrecy in other post-2002 cases. Most notably, within months of the adoption of the so-called Dallas Reforms, George knowingly and secretly let a convicted predator priest (Fr. Kenneth Martin) work in the archdiocese and live, part-time, with George in his mansion.
2. Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles
In 2005 or 2006, police questioned LA church and school officials about current child sex abuse allegations against John Malburg. Malburg was a Catholic high school principal from a politically prominent family. The archdiocese didn't suspend him. They told no one about the investigation. Six months later, Malburg was arrested and criminally charged. Parents asked church officials "Why didn't you tell us? Why didn't you suspend him?" Cardinal Mahony's PR man told the LA Times "Law enforcement told us to keep quiet." The next day, in the LA Times, prosecutors said they never made any such request.
Police say Fr. Nicholas Aguilar-Rivera sexually assaulted at least 26 boys in Los Angeles in just nine months.
Secret church records about Aguilar-Rivera were publicly disclosed In August 2007. According to the New York Times the documents showed that Bishop Thomas Curry—then a monsignor—"tipped off" the accused pedophile priest who then fled to Mexico to avoid criminal prosecution. A LA district attorney said Curry "facilitated" the priest’s flight. Aguilar-Rivera continued to molest kids in Mexico.
Thomas Curry is one of Mahony's auxiliary bishops. Despite public pleas to discipline Curry, or at least speak out about Curry's irresponsible behavior, Mahony denies any responsibility and did nothing.
For several years, Mahony secretly let an admitted priest child molester—Franciscan Friar Gerald Chumik live in his archdiocese in a picturesque religious complex overlooking the Pacific ocean. The cleric was wanted on criminal charges in Canada. In 2005 SNAP and others demanded that Mahony turn over the Friar to law enforcement; instead he allowed Chumik move from Santa Barbara Mission Church in Santa Barbara to a treatment facility in Missouri. For 14 years, Chumik has been a fugitive from his native Canada.
SNAP leaders believe this needlessly put children at risk and is a clear violation of the much-touted Dallas Charter that all American bishops adopted in June of 2002.
Elected district attorneys rarely feud in public with powerful religious figures. But in October 2005, (more than three years after Mahony pledged "openness" about child sex abuse and cover ups), Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley said "Three years ago, I urged Cardinal Mahony to provide the fullest possible disclosure of evidence of sexual abuse by clergy. Despite two court rulings ordering full disclosure, Cardinal Mahony continues to claim 'confidentiality privileges' that no court has recognized."
3. Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Houston
In November 2007, a victim reported having been sexually abused by Fr. Stephen Horn between 1989 and 1993. DiNardo found him credible and suspended Horn. The Cardinal, however, kept the allegation and his determination secret from parishioners, police, and the public for two months. Again an example of disregard of the US bishops' repeated pledges to act quickly and openly about credibly sex abuse allegations. Finally, in mid-January 2008, DiNardo disclosed his action. The delay gave the credibly accused molester Fr. Horn ample opportunity to fabricate alibis, destroy evidence, intimidate victims, threaten witnesses, or flee the country as some pedophile priests have done.
DiNardo's secrecy and delay occurred in the weeks between the Pope’s announcement in October that Bishop DiNardo would be named a Cardinal and the Vatican ceremonies on November 24. Some Houston Catholics speculated that DiNardo didn't want the news of Horn's crimes to “rain his parade.”
Weeks ago, SNAP wrote DiNardo, urging him to explain and apologize for his secrecy. SNAP has urged the cardinal to visit parishes where Horn worked and emphatically beg victims and witnesses to come forward, get help, and call the police. He has not responded to the letter or the request.
When he was a bishop in Sioux City, Iowa, DiNardo similarly mishandled the Fr. George McFadden case in Iowa, only disclosing the allegations against this predator priest long after the facts.
In the 1990s or before, Sioux City church officials knew of repeated charges of child molestation against Fr. McFadden. He admitted abuse dating back to the 1960s. DiNardo became Sioux City bishop in 1997. DiNardo stayed silent for at least five years when he had the chance to disclose McFadden's criminal actions to police, prosecutors, parishioners, and the public. He did not keep McFadden from contact with other vulnerable children.
According to a 2002 Des Moines Register article, "The confessed child molester continued to hear confession and say Mass daily over the past decade at the Cathedral of the Epiphany, Sioux City's largest Catholic church.”
Dozens of civil lawsuits accuse McFadden of abusing more than 25 girls and boys. Despite his alleged 'treatment' and 'retirement' in the 1990s, he continued to function as priest until 2002.
4. Cardinal Sean O'Malley of Boston
In 2008 church officials disclosed that, for the second year in a row, O'Malley is in violation of the US bishops' child sex abuse prevention policy.
SNAP is convinced that much in the policy serves meaningless public relations. But O'Malley is breaking one of the proven, practical requirements that help prevent abuse— training kids how to avoid or stop being victimized.
Roughly one in five Boston Catholic children is not receiving this training. Every child is supposed to receive it.
Worse, O'Malley tries to dodge responsibility for this clear, egregious refusal by blaming pastors and parishioners.
O'Malley has had six years to persuade colleagues to get on board and get his employees on board. He has neglected positive mandated steps toward prevention.
He has not disciplined a single individual for flaunting this national requirement.
In a 2006 case with disturbing parallels to many of the hundreds of Boston pedophile priest cases, O'Malley moved very slowly and against a prominent Catholic hospital official who faces multiple allegations of sexually harassing employees.
A high-ranking human resources official at the hospital "accused O'Malley of improperly interceding in the investigation to help (the accused), giving him advance notice of the probe, providing him with an adviser, and telling of the reprimand before consulting with the board," according to the Boston Globe.
The cardinal's actions "have made a mockery of the investigation. It is nothing short of shameful."
"Perhaps most troubling" was "near absence" of concern for the women complainants that was shown by the church hierarchy.
5. Cardinal Edward Egan of New York
The New York Post reported "The former principal of a prestigious Catholic high school who resigned amid allegations of inappropriate images on his work computer was allowed to stay on the job for nearly five months after a priest wrote the New York Archdiocese accusing him of serious misconduct."
In 2003, Egan became the only US prelate to refuse to say mass for the National Review Board—hand-picked, devoutly Catholic, and distinguished lay panel chosen by the United States bishops to look at the church's child sex abuse crisis. According to the New York Times, Egan also "interfered with" and prevented the US bishops' 'watchdog' on clergy sex cases from speaking in his archdiocese.
For further information CONTACT
David Clohessy of St. Louis, SNAP national director 314 566 9790 cell
Peter Isely of Milwaukee, SNAP board chair emeritus 414 429 7259 cell
Barbara Blaine of Chicago, SNAP president 312 399 4747 cell
Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, SNAP 314 503 0003 cell