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It is already beginning.  The troops are rallying around the disgraced priest.  If you read the online reports of the arraignment of Father Bob Timchak in the various news outlets you will find comments by people weighing in on both sides of this issue.  Parishioners and former students are expressing shock and disbelief.  Some are even rallying around him.  Many are questioning their faith and wondering how a man who has been so outspoken on issues important to his parishioners could fall from grace in this manner.  They lament that he was so involved with children in the respective parishes and schools he has been affiliated with over the years and they can’t reconcile the man and the crime with which he is accused.  And yet this “good, kind man” now stands accused of possessing child pornography and tampering with evidence.   Not very priestly activity when you think about it.

Watching news reports online, I am amazed at both the support for Father Timchak and the lack of concern for victims.  Yes, the kids in those photos are victims.  A state trooper interviewed for one Scranton TV news report lamented that this case will make it more difficult for other priests in the diocese.  Excuse me?  You are worried about the other priests?  Where is the concern for the kids in the photos?  Some of them could be from parishes or schools where this man worked.  At a minimum, these photos need to be reviewed by the organizations that search for lost and exploited children.   They are living (I hope), breathing people who need protection from the filth that exploits them.    Not just the people with the cameras and websites, but from the people who get off on  photos of children.

There has been some outrage in the comment sections of online reports, I added my own comments in some cases.  But I am also seeing commenters and at least one columnist who seem to be rallying to the defense of this man.  I get it, really I do.  Innocent until proven guilty.  But that only goes to a point.  When faced with a lot of evidence, Catholics still tend to go with the disbelief option and explain away the truth in front of them.  The indoctrination of the church manifests itself in support for people who engage in horrible behavior.   Love the sinner not the sin.  Platitudes run amok in cases of clergy sex crimes.

I am a firm believer in the concept of innocent until proven guilty.  Father Bob needs to be presented with the evidence against him and make a decision.   I am sure he has gone to his confessor and received absolution.  You know how priests take care of their own.  Part of that absolution should be to atone for his sins and take his punishment.  That, after all, is part of Catholic tradition.  You are told to take responsibility for your actions and do the right thing.  Alas, what your are taught and what the priests do is often a contradiction.

If the evidence against him is irrefutable shouldn’t part of his penance be to stand up and enter a guilty plea?

Here is what I would like to see.  I would like to see him enter a plea of not guilty.  I would like the Pennsylvania state courts to issue search warrants  to allow the police to search the Diocese of Scranton for evidence in this and other cases of sexual crimes that the Diocese helped to suppress.  I would like to see the Pike County District attorney issue subpoenas for Father Bob’s records.  I would like the Diocese to fight that subpoena with every fiber of their being.  And then I want to see them lose.  I would love to see news reports featuring law enforcement carrying boxes of evidence from the Chancery.  All of which should become a matter of public record.

I would like to see investigators go to the parishes and the schools that this priest has been affiliated with and actively search for victims of sexual crimes at the hands of Father Timchak.  It is not a stretch to think that hemay have  acted on his impulses over the years.  There are families with children that were particularly close to this priest.  Start there.  The tell tale signs are very clear in hindsight.   He may have favored a particular child, taken him under his wing, taken him on day trips, maybe an overnight stay somewhere? The best candidates are kids from broken homes or homes with significant addiction or medical issues.  The family, especially the mother, will be very devout in their faith.  The priest is the spiritual advisor or perhaps a  marraige or grief counselor.  This is how he would work his way in.    The targets have to be in awe of the priest and fully accept that the priest is the representative of god on earth.  These are the families in which victims are targeted.

There needs to be an in depth investigation.  I would be willing to bet that the kiddie porn may just be the tip of the iceberg.

I anticipate that the Diocese of Scranton will generously fund this man’s defense (with parishioners’ money, of course) and will stop at nothing to downplay the crimes, absolve the perpetrator and make the victims look invisible.  They will employ whatever sleight of hand is necessary to divert attention away from the church.  Their mission is to avoid scandal.  And yet, they fail at that mission over and over again.

I think all the records of all credibly accused priests in this diocese should be turned over to the U.S. Attorney for review of the crimes that they have committed and to determine the extent of the sexual crime cancer in the Diocese of Scranton.  I would like to see anyone who has covered up sexual abuse reports or moved priests to avoid prosecution dragged in front of a judge.  Let Bishops Timlin and Martino lead the procession to the bench!

Now would be an excellent time for Cardinal Rigali, the Archbishop of Philadelphia and the Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Scranton, to clean house and make right what has been wrong for decades.

Below is a listing  of Father Timchak’s assignment history to let people know where he has been.  He has probably left a trail of questionable behavior and, possibly, young victims in his wake.   Why do these guys always have lots of access to schools?  The authorities need to go to these parishes and schools before the Diocese of Scranton starts passing around confidentiality agreements and checks.

Father Timchak’s history as a priest presented from TimesLeader.com:

Timchak’s history as a priest

According to Diocese of Scranton records:

June 27, 1992: Father Timchak was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Scranton.

1992-94: Assistant Pastor, St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception Parish, Wilkes-Barre.

1994-96: Director of Religious Formation, Seton Catholic High School, Pittston; in residence at St. John the Evangelist Parish, Pittston.

1996-98: Director of Religious Formation, Bishop Hoban High School, Wilkes-Barre; and Assistant Pastor, Holy Saviour Parish, Wilkes-Barre.

1998-2000: Assistant Pastor, Annunciation Parish, Williamsport.

2000-06: Pastor, Transfiguration Parish, West Hazleton, and SS. Peter and Paul Parish, Hazleton. Also Chaplain, Bishop Hafey Jr./Sr. High School, Hazleton, 2005-06.

2006-07: Leave of Absence. During this period, he worked in the Luzerne County Probation Office.

2007-April 2009: Assistant Pastor, St. Vincent de Paul, Milford, and St. John Neumann, Lords Valley. Also, he was an occasional substitute teacher in area elementary schools.

April 2009-present: Leave of Absence.

In case you are one of the people who believe that the worst of the sex scandal in the Catholic Church is over, I have more bad news.  Another priest in the Diocese of Scranton has been reported, this time for child pornography.

Father TimchakAccording to news reports, and this is a story that is just breaking this evening, Father Robert Timchak was in court in Milford to begin answering charges for possession of child pornography and tampering with evidence.  According to news channels in Scranton, the investigation has been ongoing since December 2008 when someone tipped off the Diocese of Scranton that he had child pornography on his computer.

According to Channel 16 in Scranton, Timchak has served as pastor at several Catholic churches in the area, including the Transfigurations Church in West Hazelton, Saints Peter and Paul in Hazelton and most recently Saint John Neumann in Lords Valley

On the St John Neumann website this evening is a note to parishioners that reads:
Due to the recent problems in the Catholic Church,The Church has provided information for any individual that may have questions about the Bishop’s decision in Dallas. Please go to the following web site of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops www.usccb.org.

You will note that the Diocese has not put any information that tells you that your priest has child pornography on his computer nor does it tell you to contact the Pennsylvania State Police if you have information that would benefit law enforcement or the Pike County District Attorney. There is nothing on the website for the combined Transfigurations Church and Saints Peter and Paul in the Hazelton area. No need to let too many people know that a potential predator was in their midst. That is the way the Diocese of Scranton rolls!

I have to ask the obvious question here, why did it take the Pennsylvania State Police 11 months to check this guy’s computer and arrest him? Why did the Diocese of Scranton leave this “priest” in the parish since December 2008? I would love to ask if the Diocese of Scranton went into the community looking for possible victims. I wonder how many families in the parish where close to Father Timchak? Of those families, how many had young boys that were left alone with Father Timchak? Are any of the photos on the computer children of the parishes to which he was assigned?

Once again the Diocese showed the blinding speed with which it deals with potential child molesters wearing Roman Collars.  I imagine it took Bill Genello that long to practice the line “the Diocese has no comment” in front of the mirror in the bathroom. It was, no doubt, Bill Genello that put the brilliant and totally useless line on the church website. In case you are reading this Bill, I did a screen grab to document your referral to an organization that your most recent Bishop, Joseph Martino claimed did not have any authority in his diocese.

I am very familiar with this area. I served mass at Good Shepherd.  I lived in Hemlock Farms from 7th grade through my graduation from high school in 1978. I also lived there during the first two summers when I attended the University of Scranton.St John Neumann draws parishioners from that development. I lived in Hemlock Farms during the time frame where I was abused and raped by Father Gibson.

I am sure that there are a lot of parents in Lords Valley, West Hazelton and Hazelton who are having some very difficult conversations with their children tonight. If I may offer advice, please be supportive and don’t overreact if you child starts to tell you about things that make you uncomfortable. If your child has had a noticable change in personality, attitude, school behavior or has been withdrawn, moody or depressed seek help. I strongly recommend you do not go to the Diocese of Scranton. As kind and gentle as Joan Holmes may seem to you, the Diocese will try to collect information and spin this to their advantage. Do not let them control any aspect of this process, they will turn on you.

The Diocese of Scranton has an adversarial record in dealing with victims and their families over the years. Don’t let them re-victimize you, your family or your community. Believe me when I tell you from first hand experience, they will not make you a priority. They will protect the Diocese, the Diocese’s bank account and the priest before they will do anything for victims.

The Year of the Priest rolls on. I just don’t think that this is what the Pope had in mind!

A New York Times article that ran on 15 October tells the story of “a mother, a sick son and his father, the priest”. The priest a, Franciscan Friar, was able to work his way into the family, taking advantage of the woman by using his position as “spiritual director” and marriage counselor after the woman’s marriage fell apart. He eventually ended up “sharing a bed, meals, movie nights and vacations with the children”.

The relationship finally ended up producing a son. The Franciscans eventually acquiesced to providing child support after convincing the woman to sign a confidentiality agreement. The relationship between the priest and the woman came to an end when another woman confronted the woman who gave birth to the priest’s child because she too had a long term sexual relationship with the same priest.

The priest in question did get to go to a program run for priests with sexual disorders in New Mexico. Can it be the Servants of the Paraclete that worked with this priest? ( This is the same organization that helps American Dioceses with their “Pedophile Relocation and Protection” issues.) The recidivism rate for the graduates of these programs seems to be quite high.

The woman is seeking assistance for the son who was the product of this union. Now 22, the young man has been diagnosed with terminal cancer on the one hand and is fighting the Franciscans on the other for help with the medical bills. While they cry poverty and claim they are doing more than the law requires (a familiar battle cry of the Catholic hierarchy), the order is providing some financial assistance until the man turns 23. The priest is doing nothing.

Despite the fact that the order was aware of this man’s playboy lifestyle, it appears that they did not sanction him in any way. In fact, he was successful in being selected for positions of greater authority and responsibility, with the order knowing full well about his extracurricular activities. This guy even was in a position to teach seminarians about how to stay celibate.about his relationships with women. I think he maybe teaching the priests of the future how to score.

This story is not all that surprising, and the fact that the New York Times ran with the story at all is pretty remarkable. But what I found to be the most fascinating bit of information in the story is that a landmark study in 1990 by the scholar A.W. Richard Sipe, a former Benedictine, existed that documented this phenomenon in the church. That study found that 20% of Catholic Priests were involved in “continuing sexual relationships with women” and another 8-10% had “occasional heterosexual relationships”. An earlier study by Sipe concluded that 30% of Catholic priests had a homosexual orientation. Other studies put that number closer to 50%. The studies also suggest that up to 98% of those priests are sexually active.

You do the math. That puts 5-6 out of 10 priests who are sexually active with partners presumably over the age of 18. Throw in the 5-8% who have a pedophilia orientation and it seems that the number of priests living up to their vow of celibacy, regardless of their sexual orientation, is the minority of Catholic Clergy.

It seems to me that the Catholic Church may not be encouraging this kind of behavior, but they are definitely not taking steps to curb it. They are passively accepting it, allowing  vulnerable adults and children to be put at risk.  The priest in this case was finally suspended from his duties by the Catholic Diocese of Superior over this past weekend according to a brief article by the Duluth News Tribune. I note that the Franciscans were not the organization taking this action.

There are many that will say the woman in this case knew what she was getting into by having a sexual relationship with a priest. It is always easy to blame the woman who seduced the priest away from God. But this is a clear case of a philandering priest (with other girlfriends) taking advantage of his position to push his advances on a woman he was supposed to be counseling. If he was a psychologist, he could lose his license for such behavior. No, the faithful will brand the woman as the one to blame. They will forgive the priest for being “all too human”. There will be no consequences for him. Unfortunately, the damage will continue to permeate every facet of this woman’s life. And in this case, the consequences are visited on the son as well. The son is terminally ill and the father just sloughs it off. 

The priest, for his part, did send the young man a card during his medical battle with brain tumors. That has to count for something, right?

I recently received a press release concerning on of the Diocese of Scranton’s poster priests for child sexual abuse, Fr. Carlos Urrutigoity of the Society of St John.  I don’t usually get press releases, so I did not really know what to do with it.  Because I had written about Carlos Urrutigoity in the past as part of a run down of the notorious priests of the Diocese of Scranton and his photograph appearing in a child’s missal that is still being marketed by a company named Sacros in the same Pennsylvania County where the Society of St. John was establishing itself before a sex scandal derailed and allegations of fraud racked the new religious order.

It seems that a Paraguayan Bishop has allowed the Society of  St. John, a Catholic cult that seems to specialize in pedophilia, to relocate and set up shop in the South American Country.

The relocation and restoration in South America of the formerly suppressed, U.S.-based scandal-ridden Society of Saint John (SSJ) is one of the most outrageous examples of ecclesiastical malfeasance facing the Catholic Church today! – Randy Engel, Director of the U.S. Coalition for Life

“Disbanded and forbidden from representing itself as ‘a recognized ecclesial entity of the Roman Catholic Church by Bishop Joseph Martino, of the Diocese of Scranton in November 2004, after years of credible accusations of moral turpitude and gross financial fraud, the disgraced Society of St. John has found protection and solace in the arms of Bishop Rogelio Ricardo Livieres Plano of the Diocese of Ciudad del Este, Paraguay,” says Engel.

“At the heart of the controversy is Bishop Livieres’ incardination of SSJ founder Fr. Carlos Urrutigoity into the Diocese of Ciudad del Este,” says Engel. “The incardination took place despite repeated warnings from Bishop Martino to Livieres that Urrutigoity’s unchastity, disobedience and outright rebellion, and financial extravagance made him “unfit for ministry,” and despite assurances made in March 2006 by Archbishop Orlando Antonini, the Apostolic Nuncio of Paraguay, that Urrutigoity (and his accomplice and rapist Fr. Eric Ensey) were temporarily in the Diocese of Ciudad del Este, but had been sent away by Bishop Livieres. “… It seems that it does not remain any trace of this Society in Paraguay ,” reported Archbishop Antonini. “That turned out not to be the case,” says the Coalition director.

“In his public letter of November 17, 2008, in defense of the SSJ and Urrutigoity,” says Engel, “Bishop Livieres states that Urrutigoity stands innocent of the charges against him; that there have never been any “serious and credible charges” against him; and that the “campaign of defamation” against him “was “orchestrated by one source.” “I believe that the record will show that the bishop’s assertions are incorrect on every count,” says Engel.

“From his earliest days as a seminarian at the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) Seminary of Our Lady of Co-Redemptrix in La Reja, Argentina , Urrutigoity was accused of maintaining particular friendships, and of homosexual tendencies and acts against his fellow seminarians and layman living at the seminary,” says Engel.

“Later, after a brief stay at the priory of Cordoba ( Argentina ), Urrutigoity was shipped out of Argentina to the SSPX’ St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary in Winona , Minn. where he was ordained in 1989 and given a teaching position,” says Engel.

“In 1997, shortly after Urrutigoity was expelled from St. Thomas for ‘subversive activities,’ that is, secretly plotting a new religious order, he sexually molested a seminarian who had left with him – an action prosecutable under both canon law and civil law,” says Engel. “Unfortunately,” says Engel, by the time the incident was reported to SSPX authorities, two years had passed, and Urrutigoity and his followers had found safe haven in the Diocese of Scranton, Pennsylvania headed by Bishop James Timlin.”

“It was Timlin who gave the newly formed pederast Society of St. John its canonical standing as a ‘clerical association of the faithful’; lent his financial assistance to the building of the Society’s “City of God,” a project which attracted more than $5 million in donations but never materialized; and appointed the SSJ members as chaplains at St. Gregory’s Academy, a Catholic boys’ prep school operated by the Fraternity of St. Peter,” says Engel.

“Among the many warnings concerning Urrutigoity that Timlin received but ignored,” says Engel, “was a confidential letter dated February 10, 1999, from the SSPX Superior General Bernard Fellay confirming the charges of sexual abuse against Urrutigoity stated above, and citing earlier charges made at the La Reja Seminary.”

Referring back to Bishop Livieres’ letter of November 2008, Engel notes that “while in 2001 the Scranton Independent Review Board reported that there were no explicit allegations of sex while Urrutigoity was sleeping with students at St. Gregory’s, the bishop failed to report the Board’s final recommendation made on March 21, 2002 which stated ‘In view of the credible allegation from the seminarian, his admitted practice of sleeping with boys and young men, and the troubling evaluation by The Southdown Institute, Father Carlos Urrutigoity should be removed from active ministry; his faculties should be revoked; and he should be asked to live privately (emphasis added).’”

Engel reports that “Even after the Scranton Diocese in 2002 was named as a co-defendant in a $1million plus sex abuse lawsuit brought by “John Doe,” a former student at St. Gregory’s Academy, who charged Urrutigoity and another SSJ priest, Eric Ensey with sexual assault,” says Engel, “and the case had been settled in the plaintiff’s favor for $454,550, Timlin continued to praise and support the SSJ just as Bishop Livieres is doing today.”

“There is no doubt that there is a ‘cult of personality’ that has developed around the charismatic and charming Urrutigoity,” says Engel, “and it is well-known that he has powerful familial, financial and ecclesiastical connections in Argentina and Rome, which explains the extraordinary degree of protection and immunity he has enjoyed over the span of more than two decades.” “But our concern is, and always has been, for the physical, moral, and spiritual welfare of the vulnerable and innocent children and youth who will fall into Urrutigoity’s path as a result of his appointment to the diocese by Bishop Livieres,” says Engel

“I believe the Catholics of the Diocese of Ciudad del Este have every right to demand that plans for the canonical erection of the Society of St. John by Bishop Livieres be terminated and canonical procedures begun to return Fr. Urrutigoity to the lay state,” says Engel. “If Bishop Livieres refuses to take action in this matter, then the task falls to the Holy See and ultimately the Holy Father,” she says.

“The U.S. Coalition for Life pledges its assistance to the people of Ciudad del Este by freely providing to Catholic organizations and members of the media throughout Paraguay and South America all the documentation necessary to back up the Coalition’s charges against Fr. Urrutigoity and the Society of St. John,” Engel says.

“We also plan to challenge the Society’s IRS tax-deductible tax status which currently enables the Society to raise funds from clueless Catholics in the United States for shipment to Paraguay ,” she says.

“Neither Urrutigoity nor any other member of the Society of St. John is going to bugger his way through any youth or seminarian in Paraguay or anywhere else if we can help it,” says the Director of the USCL, “but we can’t do it without the help of the Catholic laity and clergy of the Diocese of Ciudad del Este.”

This is just another example of how the Catholic Church continues to support rogue priests who, for whatever reason, find the support and protection of misguided, arrogant bishops.  I am amazed that the center of the Roman Catholic Universe, the Holy See, allows bishops to sponsor  cults that prey on the vulnerable and steal from the parishioners and benefactors who blindly provide financial support.  I guess if Rome gets its cut of the take, they have no issue looking the other way!

Organized Roman Collar Crime is alive and well in spite of church protestations to the contrary.  Where are your donation dollars going these days?

Just cause you got the monkey off your back doesn’t mean the circus has left town.

George Carlin

It is October and I realized the other day that I have been doing this blog for almost a year.  I posted for the first time on 14 October 2008.  Since then I have published over 90 posts, permitted over 100 comments and, to be honest, disallowed about 2 dozen others (not including the normal spam).

A year has passed and I am trying to figure out if I have accomplished any of the things I have set out to do.  There is a line in the  song  “No Good Deed” from the musical Wicked where Elphaba is questioning whether she was “seeking good or just seeking attention”. I am beginning to understand that question more every time I start working on a post or reading another blog about clergy abuse.

I have been sorting through the things I have discovered since I started this blog.  Many are probably self evident, others were a little surprising.  Where to begin?

  • Faith is not a part of my life.  I do not pray in the traditional sense.  Really, I just don’t buy into the process.
  • I do not believe in God in the traditional Catholic or Christian construct. I do not believe in heaven or hell or in a benevolent god. The truth revealed to me by the actions and crimes of Father Gibson as well as the actions of diocesan officials who have gone to great lengths to hide the crimes of many priests was that the “faith” they promoted was as contrived, calculated and deceptive as their defense of the priests who violated the most devout for their own perverse pleasure. I have to admit, I have not been able to reconcile my personal confusion with survivors who are still devout Catholics, Baptists, Jews…   I don’t understand.
  • People knew.  My contemporaries knew he was odd and that something was not right.  Parents knew something was wrong, he was moved at one parish after only 6 months.  The other priests knew, one walked in on him.  Nothing was done.  He had help keeping his secret, I was alone with mine.
  • People who should have protected me and the others failed us as badly as he abused us.
  • The judicial system and state legislatures are deferential to the church.   They are predisposed to allowing the Catholic church to regulate itself at great peril to children and vulnerable adults.
  • The Catholic Church will do anything, expend funds and resources, deceive, lie and attack anyone in an effort to downplay the fact that they are still hiding the abuse that has been at an epidemic level for decades.  They will do the most unchristian and evil things in order to discredit anyone that comes forward with credible allegations.  You don’t have to go any further than your local news blog or Abuse Tracker to get a taste of the church’s battle against the truth.  From the Diocese of Bridgeport going all the way to the Supreme Court to fight an order to make public the details of abuse to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles (and Cardinal Mahoney) denying responsibility for hundreds of cases of criminal sexual activity by their priests, the evidence is presented on a daily basis  documenting the Catholic Hierarchy’s complicity in perpetuating the abuse of children and vulnerable adults.
  • The Catholic Church is a huge multinational business, run for a purpose.  It has a goal to collect money, to perpetuate itself and to avoid scandal. They want to attract the “faithful” to fill the seats for the Sunday morning magic show in order to keep the collection plate filled.  This will allow the monsignors, bishops, cardinals and even the Pope to continue living in opulent excess.  It has long ago stopped being about god, charity, faith and truth.
  • The Dioceses in the United States will work with each other and through orders like the Servants of the Paraclete to move pedophiles out of a diocese in order to protect the church.  They will send predators to other parishes in other states or countries to hide them from prosecution.  They are willing to put children at risk to avoid scandal.
  • The church has convinced parishioners that all survivors want to do is collect large awards in civil actions.  They have successfully used their influence to paint us as the “bad guys”.  They are actively revisiting the abuse on us to keep the money rolling in. 
  • The church’s representatives are so delusional, they are almost comically incompetent.  And no one in the mainstream media, law enforcement or government will hold them accountable for that incompetence.
  • Parishioners will blindly follow their bishops in spite of overwhelming evidence of wrongdoing.

As far as this blog is concerned, I am amazed that people read any of this.  I have been surprised by some of the people that have read my posts and commented or contacted me. I have spoken to people I have not seen since my high school graduation.  I have corresponded with college and high school friends and I have found that they don’t judge me.  In communication with people I knew in high school, they all have stories that seem to piece together a picture of a priest who was out of control.  Looking back on that puzzle taking shape, this man was a prolific abuser.  Others, both male and female, have stories that involve other priests being physically or sexually abusive. 

Even more surprising is the lack of feedback from people that I thought would respond to  my blog.  I know I fumbled the delivery of the news of what happened to me all those years ago to my family and friends.  I honestly have no idea if my siblings or my parents read this blog. If they do, the conversation, if there is one, takes place without me.

There are days when hundreds of people read what I have written.  Some posts see a lot of traffic, some are barely noticed.  Usually, I am surprised by the posts that get picked up by other bloggers.  Then there are days when 30 visitors come through.  I can tell how people come to find this blog (although I cannot see who is coming in).  Sometimes I will see an increase in traffic even though I have not posted anything new. It is a mystery to me. I do admit to editing, modifying and adding to posts once they are up.  In the case of this post, I accidentally published a few days before I wanted to let it go out into the blogosphere.  I apologize to anyone who read my disjointed efforts at the initial draft that made it online.

I know people “google” Father Gibson and find this blog (I see how people are referred into this blog).  I wonder how many of those people were doing so for the same reason I once googled his name.  My guess is that there are more victims out there who have found my blog and are still grappling with their own great terrible secret.  If you are in this category, you are not alone.  If you want to talk or get information on organizations that can help you, contact me and I will do whatever I can to assist.  I will respect your privacy.

One of the more surprising revelations has been my interactions with other survivors.  I am amazed at the bond I have felt with other survivors.  Before attending the SNAP Conference this past August, my contact with other survivors had been limited to one SNAP meeting in Northern Virginia, several phone calls and a few emails with a few bloggers. There are people out there that I have never met in person that I feel I have known all my life. Entry into this club comes with an absolutely vulgar initiation. But, membership comes with unfailing support from people with similar experiences. Perhaps I now understand the strength my father has gained as a result of the time he has spent with other friends of Bill.

Finally, I continued to be frustrated by people I know are genuinely offering me a lifeline.  But, I have reached my limit of devout Catholics who comment on this and other blogs that survivors need to come back to the mother church to find peace.  The same people that support their local pedophile expect me to see the error of my way and return to be forgiven by God.  I have been told by people, some close to me, that I need to put all this behind me and come back.  I have been told that I need to make sure I do not let what happened to me drive me. Funny, for over 30 years I kept the great terrible secret and it ate me alive. It damaged every relationship I have ever had and drove me to some very destructive behavior.   I cannot put that genie back in the bottle, nor do I want to.   To them I would like to respectfully say “No Thank You”.  Please don’t refer me to your parish priest.  If all you have to offer me is your invitation to come back to the church, resist the urge to offer the invitation.  I am not obsessed with what has happened, I am working through the damage caused by the acts of a monster who is still supported by an organization that has forgotten the basis of the religion they claim is the one true faith.  I simply believe that there is no such thing as one true faith.  Between my experiences as a child and my experiences in the military,  I have seen enough  absolutely evil things done in the name of religion to convince me that devotion and faith are easy excuses for violence and intolerance.  I have no use for religion.

I strongly support the passage of window legislation in every state to allow survivors to force an accounting for the horrible acts that have been committed and covered up.  I think that until the church is forced to pay a price it cannot bear for hiding pedophiles, they will not change the way they do business.  I want to see the end of allowing any religious organization the power to  “handle matters on their own”.  To allow for any religion to impose its own law or “solution” is counter to all I believe in.  I swore an oath to protect and serve the Constitution and I served my country for over 23 years.  I feel that any law enforcement or judicial officer who allows the church to deal with a pedophile hiding behind their clerical robes has failed in their duty to protect the public.

The Church has spent millions on lobbyists and public relations firms to prevent legislation from being passed that will hold them accountable to victims.  If they spent a fraction of that providing services for survivors, vetting seminarians and taking reports of criminal behavior seriously, there would be a much smaller universe of survivors.  The only people who have consistently benefitted from the war the church has started and continues to fight are the trial lawyers.

I do not know what is coming my way in the next year.  The song from Wicked is stuck in my head, reminding me that no good deed goes unpunished, no act of charity goes unresented…

Let me know what you are thinking.


Why is Bishop Lahey Smiling?

Why is Bishop Lahey Smiling?

After an arrest warrant was issued by Canadian authorities for Bishop Raymond Lahey of the Roman Catholic diocese of Antigonish in Nova Scotia for child pornography, the whereabouts of Bishop Lahey are unknown.

Bishop Lahey had his resignation accepted by Pope Benedict XVI over the weekend, followed by his hasty departure from his Diocese. Bishop Lahey is known for his brokering of a $15M settlement with child sex abuse victims in the diocese. He was caught with child pornography on his laptop while coming through Canadian security after an overseas trip.

Let’s hope the Mounties get their man, quickly.

Once again the betrayal and sexual exploitation of children comes front and center with another “pillar” of the church. A diocesan spokesman voiced concern for the parishioners and priests of the diocese, but made no mention of the children exploited in the case. It is not shocking that the communications director reaffirms that the focus is always on the church and not on the victims.

I have two questions. The first question is where is the Bishop and why has he not turned himself in? The second question, is the Catholic church aiding and abetting a fugitive from justice? This would not be a first time occurence. Perhaps Cardinal Law needs an assistant in Rome?

Articles on the story are available at Abuse Tracker or the following links:
The Canadian Press
Lifesite
CBC News
The Chronicle Herald

Just a quick note, the Catholic Church would like to remind you that the problems of sexual exploitation, molestation, battery and rape by priests are things of the past. All is well! Just keep on stroking those checks, your money is being used for good purposes!

Can you still find reasons to try to block legislation to protect children from abuses by these people?

Update:  Raymond Lahey surrendered himself to police in Ottawa on 1 October.  Stand by for the “I’m a flawed man who has done good things in his life, and simply made a mistake” script.

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This site is copyrighted by my statement.
Michael Baumann


Credit: Michael Baumann at "Off My Knees"

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