You are currently browsing the monthly archive for May 2009.
Part of managing this blog is checking on the dashboard to see if anyone is reading what I post. In some cases I can see the referrers that bring readers to my blog. Of interest on the list of referrers, in the last few days especially, is Behan Communications. Behan Communications is a Public Affairs, Public Relations and Marketing Firm based in Albany, New York who count the New York State Catholic Conference Policy Group and the Diocese of Albany as clients. The NY Catholic Conference is the public policy voice for the Catholic Church in the State of New York. The NYSCC is the Cardinal’s (Archdiocese of New York) mouthpiece in the war on protecting the kingdom and it’s treasure from the serfs that fill the pews and pay the bills for the fancy houses, big cars, snazzy outfits and the expenses involved with keeping pedophiles comfortable in the Empire State.
I am sure that the good folks at Behan are following the legislative proceedings in the State Capital very closely. I will assume that part of having the New York State Catholic Conference as a client is supporting the Pro-Pedophile, Anti-victim/survivor posture adopted by most diocese in the United States. No doubt they will actively lobby for legislation that is ineffective and allows the Bishops to continue to obstruct justice and protect pedophile while utilizing the donations of parishioners to accomplish those tasks. I wonder if they are paid in 30 pieces of silver increments?
Behan Communications advertises litigation support services “to help businesses and institutions respond to the adverse publicity and provide sound, protective and accurate information to shareholders, employees, customers and the media while protecting their legal positions, Behan Communications’ litigation support practice works closely with our clients’ attorneys in civil and criminal courts“. In other words, they are spin masters. They put lipstick on pigs for a living. (I apologize to any pig that may be insulted by any comparison, real or implied, to the hierarchy of the Catholic Church in the United States, Ireland, the Vatican or any other part of the world or underworld).
I can only surmise that Behan will be working tirelessly to support their Diocesan client in denying their role in the Catholic Sex Scandal and isolating the victims of clerical sex abuse. A question posed on their website seems to say it all. “If you win in court, but lose in the court of public opinion, have you really won?” When it comes to pedophile priests and the Bishops that protect them, I think the jury in the court of public opinion has already rendered a verdict.
I do appreciate the page views, thanks guys!
I read a great article by Father Thomas Doyle entitled Irish abuse report demands decisive action with his observations on the recently released report in Ireland that came from the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse and covered a 60-year-period from 1936 to the present. It raised serious questions about Catholic institutions that permitted and fostered climates of sustained abuse by priests and nuns.
Father Doyle is a canon lawyer and has been a steadfast advocate for victims of abuse. He is a Dominican Priest. He is a godsend to people like me.
Read the article, it is your current homework assignment.
My favorite passage from his article is the simple yet powerful summation of the attitude of the Catholic Church:
The official reaction is predictable. Denial, minimization, blame shifting and finally limited acknowledgment followed by carefully nuanced “apologies” has been the standard fare. At no time has the leadership of any part of the institutional Church ever owned up to any systemic accountability. The standard responses are totally unacceptable because they are devious and irrelevant. Those who still hold to the institutional Church as their source of emotional security may well bray about anti-Catholicism, media sensationalism and exaggeration of what they claim to be an aberration. Such responses are mindless but far worse, they inflict even more pain on the thousands whose lives have been violated.
Can someone tell me why the laity of the Catholic Church remains in their lethargic daze? Why aren’t people screaming, pounding on the doors of Chanceries, withholding donations and seeking reform? I am at a loss!
The Foundation to Abolish Child Sex Abuse (FACSA) has issued an “Action Alert” to garner support for the NY Child Victims Act (NY Assembly Bill 2596). If you are a victim who was abused in New York (even if you are not a resident of that state), know someone that was or are just concerned about the continuing sexual exploitation and abuse of children please consider writing to the state legislators listed below.
If you need to understand why this bill is important, the NY Coalition to Protect Children has a website that explains better than I can.
The text of the FACSA Action Alert follows:
Urgent Action Needed on NY Child Victims Act
In the next 2 days your action could help get the NY Child Victims Act (NY Assembly Bill 2596) passed.
There is a bill in the New York Assembly that has a chance to extend the statute of limitations on child sex abuse and to open a one year window to allow survivors to have a chance for justice. The NY Catholic Conference is promoting a competing bill which extends the statute of limitations minimally and does not have a window. It is imperative that NY Legislators hear from survivors and their supporters. Please call or email the people on the list below and share this email with everyone you know who cares about children.
THE TIME TO CALL/EMAIL THEM IS NOW!
These following members of the New York Assembly may be on the fence about the Child Victims Act. It is imperative that they hear from victims and their supporters to encourage them to vote yes on this bill.
Ron Canestrari 518-455-4474 CanestR@assembly.state.ny.us
Audrey I. Pheffer 518-455-4292 PheffeA@assembly.state.ny.us
Robert Reilly 518-455-5931 ReillyR@assembly.state.ny.us
William Magee 518-455-4807 MageeW@assembly.state.ny.us
Joseph Morell 518-455-5373 MorellJ@assembly.state.ny.us
Andrew Hevesi 518-455-4926 HevesiA@assembly.state.ny.us
Naomi Rivera 518-455-5844 RiveraN@assembly.state.ny.us
Kenneth Zebrowski 518-455-5735 ZebrowskiK@assembly.state.ny.us
Francine DelMonte 518-455-5284 DelMonF@assembly.state.ny.us
Mark Weprin 518-455-5806 WeprinM@assembly.state.ny.us
Grace Meng 518-455-5411 MengG@assembly.state.ny.us
Michael G. DenDekker 518-455-4545 DenDekkerM@assembly.state.ny.us
Frank K. Skartados 518-455-5762 SkartadosF@assembly.state.ny.us
The Survivor’s Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) is staging an event in Albany, New York on June 2 at the State Capital. You do not need to be a resident of the Empire State to participate in this event. As a child I was brought to New York City by Father Gibson so I am endorsing this event to anyone who can support it ( See “Crossing the Line“).
Here is the text of the email from Barbara with the details and information for Delaware victims:
Dear Survivors, Supporters and Friends:
While the info below is related to Delaware and New York, we are sending this to several other states as well. We know people move and so even if you now live in one state, chances are it is different from where you grew up. Or, you may know of someone abused in DE or NY and may be able to give them this important information. (Also, sometimes our perpetrators took us into another state to go to the beach, or for a retreat, etc. but usually abused us in our hometown – even if it only happened one time in DE or NY that is enough!) Please spread the word and do all you can to help!
Barbara Blaine David Clohessy
SNAP President SNAP National Director
NEW YORK STATE
Know anyone who was abused as a child in the state of New York? We need your help one more time in New York. There are two ways you can help.
1. Come to Albany on Tuesday, June 2 for Lobby Day. (We’ll meet at 9:30 a.m. in the Liberty Café near the Albany Room).
2. Even if you can’t travel to Albany, you can still help by submitting childhood photos of victims in New York to firstname.lastname@example.org
If you send in a photo, but would like to remain anonymous, we can put a black box or bar covering your eyes to protect your identity, but still show that you were young and innocent. (Please scan the photo in jpegs of high quality – if you aren’t sure of the quality of scanning in your home please consider going to Kinkos for this! The photos will be enlarged and most start off with low quality, considering the era of when our childhood photos were taken, so please take the energy to do this and if necessary, submit the receipt from Kinkos and we’ll reimburse you the costs.) Please state where in NY the abuse took place (whether by county, city, or general region). Also, it would be helpful if you can say the age you were when you were abused and what relation to you the predator was, e.g. uncle, foster parent, clergy member, priest, rabbi, minister, counselor, coach, scout leader, etc. Buffalo, Abused at age 12 by scout leader. Long Island, Abused at age 16 by uncle.
Lastly, please include a statement indicating that you give permission for your childhood photo to be included in a display at the Capitol in Albany New York or for other purposes to educate about the sexual abuse of children – and add a date.
Know of anyone abused in Delaware? Even one time? Please spread the word.
Delaware’s landmark two-year civil window – The Child Victims’ Act – will close in July.
If you or someone you know were sexually abused as a child in or around the state of Delaware (certain areas on Maryland’s eastern shore are eligible), you may have rights under this law.
Why should you consider using the civil courts?
— You can expose your perpetrator in the civil justice system,
— You can share your story and seek healing,
— You can warn the community where your perpetrator lives about the risk he/she poses,
— You can hold your perpetrator and the men and women who protected him/her accountable,
— You can help other victims (who think they are all alone) realize that what happened to them was not their fault,
— You can expose people who enabled and facilitated child molesters, and
— You can help ensure that what happened to you never happens to another child.
The decision to file a lawsuit is a difficult one. But this may be the only chance many survivors have to make sure that their perpetrator is stopped. In California, victims exposed approximately 300 men and women who hurt kids. You may help save a life or help another victim!
A reputable attorney will discuss all of your options with you. He or she will also allow you the option of pulling out of your case at any time if the stress is too much – at no cost to you. Many California victims contacted us just after a similar window of opportunity closed in that state. It was heartbreaking for them to learn they waited too long. Please know that the deadline won’t be extended. You can file a case and still remain anonymous and back out later if necessary.
Please know that sex crime victims have a right to anonymity. Your identity will be made known to the predator but not to the general public. If you have questions or concerns, please investigate and learn the answers now.
But whatever you do, please do not wait until it is too late.
Today was a great day! My oldest son graduated from college in New York this morning. On the scale of what is important in my life, this is about as good as it will ever be. So for now, I intend to enjoy this for a few days.
I will get back to posting when I return home to Virginia.
One last thought, please take a moment to remember the men and women that are serving or have served in our Armed Forces. Especially those who gave the last full measure of their devotion.
Posted from my iPod.
Kay Ebeling was recently fired from her position at LA City Buzz Examiner for pissing off the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Once again, a bunch of pedophile apologists/protectors were deeply wounded by a person asking hard questions. Poor babies! Personally, I think you deserve a medal for your struggle against the idiots that continue to waste time and resources on protecting the unforgivable instead of proactively dealing with the problem of sexual misconduct and crimes in the Catholic Church.
Kay is back on her blog spot City of Angels: Hope 2009. I’ve corrected my link to her blog on the left side of this blog. Please consider giving her more than just a passing glance. Each voice is important in the fight to keep children safe from harm. Show her a little support!
Welcome back to the sometimes less than polite world of blogging, Kay! I’m hoping to get to speak to you in person in Washington this August.
I am trying to work out where I want to go with this blog. Now that I am over 50 posts into this little exercise in free speech I am struggling with where to go next. I am trying to find out what I should be talking about and what voice I should use to air those thoughts. I found that screaming and being rude is almost as effective as saying nothing at all. Not that I won’t throw the occasional dig at a certain “Prince of the Church” now and then.
I am reassessing the mission of this blog. I am doing so because I wonder if I am making a difference. I want to do more than to preach to the converted on this topic. Obviously, I am hoping that this blog can help someone either come forward and report the abuse that they suffered, get help, or feel like they are not alone. It has been cathartic for me to write it. That was my main motivation in starting this thread, my own personal form of therapy.
Writing this has also been frustrating in some ways. In addition to writing the posts (and revisting them for corrections and improvements), I try to get the link for this blog out there so people who may not normally run across it would have the chance to see it. In all honesty, I am trying to get a little traction so I can get support (non-monetary, this is not about money) for my efforts to have the truth come to light. I have linked it to CONDRON and Alpha Inventions, which are both tools for discovering and sharing blogs. In a few instances I have seen my work put up on message boards and in Abuse Tracker. Some of my posts are up on Bishop Accountability as well. It is gratifying to see my posts on political sites (just this morning I found it here).
I just don’t know if it is enough. I would love to develop a site that allows for blogs on this topic to be accessible in one location. I was hoping that SNAP or Bishop Accountability would have such a thing, but as of the time of publishing this post there is no such location. As I lamented in a recent post, some of the blogs I read as I was getting to the point of making my report on Father Gibson have gone silent on the net. I don’t know if they grew as frustrated as I have been lately and just stopped writing. I know some have been dealing with litigation and family issues. There are many reasons, all of them valid. I just don’t want the voices to die out.
I saw an article on line at Abuse Tracker that had the headline “As abuse scandals dim, St. Paul lawyer keeps suing” . “As abuse scandal dims…”, that is what the Catholic Church in America and the Vatican want. They want the scandal to dim so they can go back to the good old days. If our voices are silent, they will get their way.
So I will make an offer. If you would like to write a guest post on my blog, send it to me. I will consider putting it up on-line. If you have a blog and you write on this subject either occasionally or exclusively, I will put a link up to your posts.
If you are attending the SNAP Conference in Washington DC in August and would like to talk about how we can keep the voices from going silent I will make myself available. I’m signed up for the conference and have my hotel reservation at the Hyatt in Crystal City. Lets have a conversation. Let me know what you are thinking!
Abuse thrives in an environment of secrecy! Don’t let the Catholic Church succeed in achieving that environment again.
The Diocese of Scranton has more pedophiles in the closet. Obviously they don’t want you, the parishioners of the Diocese, the media or law enforcement to be aware of any of this.
The latest name to be added to the Diocese of Scranton’s growing list of pedophiles is Father Austin E. Flanagan. Father Flanagan (not of Boy’s Town Fame) was allegedly removed from his “priestly” duties by the Diocese of Scranton a few years ago after allegations that the priest had molested boys. Flanagan is thought to still be living in Scranton. There is an address listed for him on Spruce Street in Scranton, at the old Hotel Jermyn.
Flanagan was reported to the Diocese of Scranton for molesting two boys over Easter Weekend in 1973 while he was assigned to St. Mary’s in Avoca. One of the victims from that weekend met with the Diocese in 2005 and was given assurances by the Diocesan representatives present that Flanaghan was not acting as a priest any more. As usual, those Diocesan representatives employed the usual strong arm tactics preferred by the Chancery. The victim was told that the priest did not remember him and that it was the victim’s word against the priest’s. (It seems to be a common that pedophiles under the protection of the Bishops of Scranton are prone to suffer bouts of selective amnesia or suffer from dementia.) Given that this meeting was conducted after the USCCB’s Charter dictating the standards of conduct in relation to the still growing child sex abuse scandal in the Catholic Church were promulgated, the Chancery’s behavior exhibited a complete disregard for the problem still plaguing the Catholic Church today. Since Bishop Martino has stated publicly that “No USCCB document is relevant in this diocese,” and “The USCCB doesn’t speak for me.”. It is not surprising that he and his organization is conducting themselves as a rogue diocese. This may be bad news for parishioners in the diocese, but it must be a reassuring comfort to pedophiles and their supporters/apologists.
Bishop Martino was not at the meeting with this victim. One of his minions offered the excuse that he was on “pastoral business”. If it was a Thursday, I am sure he was in Philadelphia. Perhaps he was trying to figure out how to keep his growing crop of pedophiles happy, safe and living in the security of his all powerful protection. Maybe he was sizing up the next generation of alter boys. He must have a reason to support these criminals, perhaps he is sympathetic for more sinister reasons. The reader is invited to draw his or her own conclusions.
The Diocese of Scranton has been callous in their handling of sex abuse cases in the past. In the case of Father Flanagan, he had admitted to other cases of “inappropriate touching” which allegedly led to his removal from active ministry. He was not, however, turned over to law enforcement for prosecution on sex crimes. This is a Diocesan violation of the USCCB rules (of course, they don’t apply to the Diocese of Scranton). The Diocese still protects its own.
The victim in this case did get assistance, but only after the intervention of the Diocese of Phoenix, his current home diocese. The Diocese in Scranton had to be forced to do the right thing, minimal as that action was. They seem to be unable to grasp the concept of doing the right thing as a rule. Yes, these people are the moral compass of their flock. It is no wonder there is such dissension in the flock, they are still as adrift as their hapless, criminal leadership.
How many more priests is Bishop Martino protecting? How many more crimes have the Bishops of Scranton concealed over the years? Until there is an independent criminal investigation into the ongoing cover up on Wyoming Avenue, the Diocese of Scranton remains a haven for pedophiles and is not safe for children or vulnerable adults. This Blog has identified Father Gibson (my abuser), Father Houston and now Father Flanagan as pedophiles/molesters/rapists that have been supported by the Diocese of Scranton. All three had successfully flown under the radar with the assistance of the Chancery. If you know of more men being protected by the Bishop of Scranton, email me. I will be happy to get their names out to the public and see if we can get them listed on Bishop Accountability’s list of accused priests.
I sent emails to the Diocese of Scranton’s Victims’ Advocate, Joan Holmes, and the Communications Director, William Gennello, for a comment on Father Flanagan. I heard back from Mrs. Holmes, but only with a change of email address notification. Mr. Gennello has not returned the email as of the time of this post. I suspect he is preparing the Diocese next set of lies and half truths at the behest of Bishop Martino. I also suspect that the shredder is working overtime on Wyoming Avenue to cover up the criminal activity of the Diocese.
Thirty-five years later and I still have moments of terror. He had shown up in my life while I was in college and caused me to panic, the flight instinct kicking in and sending me into a spiral. He was always there in the back of my head and in the forefront of my concern that he would show up at something, a wedding, a reunion, or a funeral. So I avoided almost all of them. I attended Marie’s funeral just about a year after our graduation. Otherwise, I had no intention of making an appearance at any location that could possibly result in a chance meeting . Reunions seemed to represent the best opportunity for a face to face meeting. I did not attend a Class of 1978 reunion until just a few years ago. The 25th reunion of the Notre Dame High School Class of 1978 was held in 2004. Apparently math was not our strong suit. I decided to suck it in and go. He was not there. I did not yet know that the Diocese of Scranton had him hidden in Missouri. To be honest, I wanted to go and find out that he had died. I wanted to know that he had gone on to hell. I asked Mr. Lyons about him in casual conversation, but he did not seem to know where Gibson was at the time.
I am not alone in the fear of a chance encounter. Some of the other survivors that I have spoken to have expressed fear that he would attend a function. In a recent email that I received, the writer expressed fear that Gibson would show up at a family member’s funeral. As if losing a loved one is not bad enough, the fear of seeing the potential molester of a sibling at a family funeral eclipses the the grief for the loss and sets you on edge. Gibson is a consuming force, still compounding the damage after all these years. Moving the abuse beyond the victim to other family members. Some people have even expressed a desire to physically harm their perp. The fear welling to hate, the hate eating away at the soul. Damage, years after the physical violation ended. He never really goes away. The Diocese has told me that he is an addled old man suffering from dementia in a hospital in Missouri. Price Memorial Hospital in Eureka Missouri is where he is alleged to be an in-patient. Forgive me if I sound like I don’t believe everything that the Diocese of Scranton has told me. You know, they do not have a good track record for being completely truthful when it comes to one of the 25 or more sexual molesters/rapists or abusers that have operated with impunity in the Diocese of Scranton over the years. Many of them enjoying the protection of Bishops who should have known better. Bishops that should have taken decisive action to stop the abuse and seek out victims who needed the help and comfort of their church.
My wife pointed out to me that the doubt that nagged me about proving my story to be credible was the voice of Gibson in my head, even after 35 years. That voice that could crash any holiday, freeze me in my tracks and cause me to question any good thing that came my way. That is one way he has paralyzed me for years. (There are more, I will get to them.) Even when I had a letter from the Diocese that declared my allegations to be credible, I was convinced that it just was not enough. It is never enough, it is always in the back of my head.