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This is from an email that FACSA sent out Yesterday. It was important enough to come out of my self imposed archive.
Last April, the PA Attorney General’s Office established a toll-free phone number for survivors of child sex abuse (who were PA residents, or were abused by someone in PA) to call if they wanted to file a report of being sexually abused or molested as a child under 18 no matter how long ago the abuse happened or no matter who committed the abuse.
The AG’s office is asking victims from all the places/institutions and all the alleged criminals that have literally gotten away with soul murder. Hopefully, the AG’s office will be able to take further steps to expose the criminals and the criminal institutions that aided and abetted the perps.
While your specific abuse may have happened so long ago that there is no criminal or civil charges you can file, by your identifying perps and complicit institutions now, other victims may gain the courage to come forward once they realize they were not the only one abused by their perp. Additionally, we anticipate there are many institutions over the years that have hidden cases of child sex abuse when it happened and with the children they were supposed to be protecting. The perps and the institutions need to be held accountable for the damage that happened.
Please call this number. Leave a message. Someone will call you back.
Your story could be of help to other victims.
And then SHARE, SHARE, SHARE this email/post!
PS: If you lived in the Allentown Diocese when you were abused, please also contact Rep. Mark Rozzi.
On Facebook: Private Message Rep. Rozzi at https://www.facebook.com/VoteRozzi
Via Email: MRozzi@pahouse.net
I have been off the grid for about a week. I am just catching up with the news and my email and I was startled to find out that Teresa Osborne, the Chancellor of the Diocese of Scranton was injured in a serious automobile accident on 23 July.
I wanted to send out my best wishes for a full recovery. While the employer of Ms. Osborne and I do not see eye to eye, I do not wish anyone in the Diocese ill and I certainly don’t want to see anyone have to endure serious injury.
For those of you who find comfort in prayer, please keep her in yours. For those of us that don’t, a little love and light in her direction can’t hurt.
An article in the Scranton Times-Tribune online follows up on the story of Carlos Urrutigoiry and his elevation to a position of authority over priests accused of misconduct in a Catholic Diocese in Paraguay.
The National Director of SNAP, David Chlohessy, is demanding the Diocese release the files on the Urrutigoiry and the events that occurred at St. Gregory’s Academy in Elmhurst, a residential school sponsored by the Society of St. John, a religious order. Urrutigoiry was credibly accused of sleeping with teenage boys as part of his “ministry”.
It will come as no surprise that the Diocese of Scranton will take no action and that the National Director of SNAP will move on to another press release/photo opportunity. The dance continues and yet no progress is made.
According to an article in the Pocono Record on 14 March 2014, a priest who was credibly accused of molesting boys in Shohola (Pike County) and Moscow (Lackawanna County), Pennsylvania has been elevated to the post of Vicar General of Ciudad del Este Diocese in Paraguay. Now a Monsignor, Carlos Urrutigoity will be in charge of investigations into claims of abuse or misconduct by priests in the diocese. (Anyone else see this as the church taking a stand against the sexual misconduct by priests?)
Back in 2002 a lawsuit claimed that Urrutigoity and one of his henchmen, Father Eric Ensey had been “sleeping” with boys as part of their ministry. Protected by the Diocese of Scranton Bishop James Timlin, the priests escaped prosecution by sending them for “psychological evaluation” in Canada. The Diocese has a long-standing process where they send predator priests outside of the jurisdiction that could prosecute them. Timlin and his diocesan risk managers settled the lawsuit but did nothing else.
Now Monsignor Urrutigoity is operating in Paraguay and is in charge of protecting the people of his diocese from predator priests. Despite Bishop Martino’s letter to the diocese in Paraguay, there really has not been anything done. Had Bishops Timlin and Martino had the ability to discern right from wrong or even if one of them had a spine, they would have taken action in accordance with canon law and sought to have these and other predator priests that operated in the Diocese of Scranton defrocked and exposed. But we all know that is not part of the risk calculus for the Catholic Hierarchy.
This crisis continues for three reasons. First, bishops are still protecting the predators at the expense of the vulnerable. Second, coward politicians who are under the cassocks of the bishops refuse to pass any meaningful legislation to hold the institutions that protect child rapists. Third, Catholic parishioners are not holding their hierarchy accountable. I put the most blame on the last group. For all the lip service from lay Catholics about the ongoing crisis, there is no real action to fix the problem and hold people accountable.
Catholics are not doing what they need to do to protect the innocent. I am sure if their Saviour came back today, he would not want anything to do with these frauds.
…views on this blog as of this evening. It is a little unnerving to see that this little conversation I am having, mostly with myself at times, has attracted that much traffic with just over 200 posts released into the internet. Perhaps I will see 100,000 by the weekend!
Somehow it is now 2013. And we are already half way through January. I will admit that the passing of 2012 into the history books gives me a sense of relief. I feel like I have been holding my breath underwater for most of the year. It was a year of personal challenges, uncertainty at work, a separation agreement that should have taken weeks went on significantly longer and the last shallow exhale from the man who stole so much from so many. He made it! He won the race to the grave without being held publicly accountable. He was aided and abetted to the end by the Diocese of Scranton’s hierarchy and the Servants of the Paraclete at the St. John Vianney Center in Dittmer, Missouri.
Yes, good riddance 2012!
We start 2013 with more stories of priests and lay teachers on trial, overly redacted files from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and a bishop still holding on to his See despite his conviction in helping to protect a pedophile. Lets also throw the ongoing targeting of American Nuns by a church hierarchy so corrupt and arrogant that they can bully with impunity, while the faithful sit in the pew remain passive.
Here we go again!
But there is hope for this year to start off on a positive note! Justice4PAkids is holding a Jan 23 press conference in the Harrisburg State House Rotunda at 10 am for introduction of new bills for abolishing statute of limitations (SOLs) for sexual crimes committed against children. Maureen Martinez, Justice4PAkids President, is encouraging people to come out and support the cause. She requests that you please RSVP to: firstname.lastname@example.org if you can make it. If you can support this group, please do so. They are really leading the charge for justice and accountability in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania!
I am hopeful that 2013 will be a good year on many fronts. I wish you all a happy and healthy new year. I wish you all the truth and justice for which we all seek.
This is the second in a series of posts on the tactics in play from the hierarchy of the Catholic Church and its apologists (the Catholic League of Extraordinary Idiots comes to mind).
There is Nothing We Can Do About It
The church is using these tactics to wash their hands of responsibility for the actions of their priests, nuns and lay people who have used their positions and stations to commit physical and sexual assaults on children and vulnerable adults.
This is the plausible deniability strategy practiced by the church in their attempt to shut down victims or organizations within the church who are looking to hold the hierarchy to account for the crimes committed, literally, in the name of God.
1. We’re sorry, but the statutes of limitations have passed. Lawyers are quick to point this one out on behalf of the diocese. “We would love to talk to you, ease your pain, express our deep condolences and regrets, but I see that the SOL’s for both criminal and civil actions have expired. Here, have a mass card and a copy of our Notice Regarding Sexual Abuse of a Person Under Eighteen Years of Age by Ordained or Lay Personnel of the Diocese. Please leave through the side door and consider a donation to our annual fund drive to support our retiring vocations!” Bottom line here is that once the statutes of limitations has run out, they have no vested interest in working with victims or their families. There is no acknowledgement past the “credible report”. There is no investigation, there is no review under Canon Law. There is no consequence. It is like it never happened.
2. The alleged crimes took place before our policy was in place. Bummer Dude! I hear what you are saying about Father (insert name here). But what happened to you happened before our policy came into effect. We can’t retroactively give a damn about your particular instance. If we did that, we would have to pretend to care about all the other victims of all the other priests we have
hidden retired. That Notice Regarding Sexual Abuse of a Person Under Eighteen Years of Age by Ordained or Lay Personnel of the Diocese information we gave you as we hustled you out a side door in number 1 (see above), sorry buddy, you predate that. So, too bad. Please do not disturb the senior citizens coming into the cathedral, church, or chapel who have bequests for the church written into their wills. We would prefer that they remain oblivious to what is going on. The bishop does need a new Chrysler, the current car is almost 3 years old (gasp).
3. He’s dead, he can’t defend himself against these charges. Inevitably, a victim of abuse who has remained silent for decades will come forward. Often, even if the claim is credible, parishioners and the hierarchy of the church will attack the victim for “trying to soil the good name of Father (fill in the blank). “Why don’t you let him rest in peace!” “You are only going after someone who cannot defend himself”.
In my case, my perp (what do I call him?) died in May. In June I received the first volley of the “let him rest in peace, you are trashing the reputation of a deceased man of god” email. It starts! Suspend the fact that he was a prolific abuser/molester/rapist. Forget the fact the Diocese of Scranton had him locked away for a dozen years. Forget that he was sent to “rehabilitation” and he started grooming his next victim as soon as the backs of his handler were turned.
The variation on #3 is the “he is an addled old man suffering from (insert malady of age here)” who cannot remember what he did”. The diocese, in my case, wanted to garner sympathy for him with me because he was suffering from dementia. Sorry, sympathy is not a commodity I offer wholesale.
The culture of this institution is such that no change is possible as long as the hierarchy is not held accountable. Either from within the church or from civil authority. This morning, word from a courtroom in Philadelphia was that Monsignor Lynn was sentenced to 3-6 years for his crime of failing to protect a child from sexual crimes committed by a priest known to the diocese as an abuser (not the word I really want to use). This is a start. Justice came at a heavy price to the victims and a heavy price to the parishioners whose donations (even if they didn’t know they were footing the legal bill) funded the $11 million + defense costs.
I have been asked if I thought the sentence was reasonable and I think it was. I have to believe in the justice system, the alternative is just not acceptable. That said, Monsignor Lynn should pay for his complicity, but he is taking a bullet for those who wear purple or red. I would like to see the bishops and archbishops who have been playing a shell game with pedophiles for decades to have a day in court and, if a jury convicts, sentenced accordingly. I recommend that Bishop Timlin, late of the Diocese of Scranton be moved to the front of the list. This country needs to send a message that Roman Collar Crime will not be tolerated in any form.
Returning from an event in Northern Virgina, I decided to call the Diocese of Scranton and get confirmation that Robert Gibson had died. I identified myself and asked for the office that could help me confirm that a priest, formerly of the Diocese, had passed away. I was transferred to another office and, once again, I identified myself and request confirmation that Robert Gibson had died. After a pause, the woman’s voice changed and she told me that she would not discuss the matter with me. I asked for her name and she hung up on me.
Not too long ago I had been assured by the Chancellor that I would be notified of his death. Apparently that was another hollow promise. Shocking!
This morning, after the call to the diocese that was terminated abruptly by a diocesan employee, I sent a note to the Victim’s Assistance Coordinator, I received a terse response from the Diocese:
Please be advised that Robert Gibson died on Sunday, May 27, 2012.
DIOCESE OF SCRANTON
Chancellor and Chief Operating Officer
Phone: 570-207-2216 Fax: 570-207-2236
It is amazing to me that this organization could not even grant me a confirmation of his death without behaving badly. For them, there must be relief that he is passed and the mistaken impression that this is over.
Can someone,(Bishop Bambera), explain to me why his staff is openly hostile to victims of priests that served in his diocese? Can someone perhaps teach a little compassion. For the record, I identified myself and spoke in a courteous manner to the woman on the phone who refused to identify herself. Perhaps the Bishop should, at a minimum, have his staff trained in proper phone etiquette.
But I do have confirmation. The Diocese still doesn’t get it. It really is time for Pennsylvania to change the law and allow all the victims to seek to bring the coverup committed by the Diocese of Scranton into the light.
Just for the record, Robert J. Gibson’s Parish assignment history is located at this hotlink.
I have heard from what I consider to be a very reliable source that Robert Gibson passed away in late May 2012. I do not have a confirmation on that from the Diocese of Scranton. I will be asking for that confirmation as soon as I have posted this.
I don’t know exactly what I am feeling at the moment. Relief, sadness, anger… pick one. I think that the truth died with him.
If you were one of Robert Gibsons victims, you can contact me and I will tell you what I know, I just won’t be able to tell you how I know it. I will have more information soon.
Someone in the Diocese of Scranton is probably breathing a sigh of relief for all the wrong reasons.
I have to admit that sometimes I get really angry over some of the comments that are sent in that, on the surface, seem to want to offer me encouragement but, in fact, are supportive of either the man who raped and beat me or others like him. They are most likely sent by well-meaning people who are not willing to admit that their church is guilty of harboring predator priests as well as other criminal activity. Or they are unwilling to allow that their precious “Father Bob” or “Father Gibson” was a predator who indulged his perverse fetish of raping prepubescent boys as his way to get off. (Excuse me for being blunt.) (Robert Gibson’s assignments as a priest in the Diocese of Scranton are listed here.)
A case in point, I received an email from a reader in response to a reply I left to a comment on a recent post. The original comment was from a friend who was angry that the man who had officiated at her wedding and baptised her children was also the man who sexual preyed on her junior high school classmates (yes, that is an intentional plural). The conflict was weighing on her.
I was also conflicted for years because the same man who had raped and beat me numerous times was responsible for getting my father into an alcohol rehab program during my freshman year of college. The man was a bit of a hero in my family for a long time. I heard about it for years and I seethed at the accolades being offered for him. He used this magnanimous act of pastoral kindness to keep me quiet, keep me in place, keep me from telling my great terrible secret. It was quite a shock to my parents when I finally told them some of the things that happened all those years ago. Acts of sexual predation that the Diocese of Scranton deemed credible based on other reports on the same “priest”. Acts that I know were committed on more children than the Diocese of Scranton cares to admit.
The email I received was a little over the top. I read it once and it bothered me so I walked away from the computer. When I read it later I was upset. The next day I was just angry. I wrote several responses, deleting one after another until I was able to find a way to temper my anger. I am not sure that I was completely successful.
The sender of the email stated that she had gone to Missouri to see Father Gibson. In her words (Sic):
He was a vegetable of a man in bed. He is completely unable to speak or respond. I knew it was him because they told me that was the man in the bed; but I didn’t recognize him. He is an emaciated shell of a person. He is enduring an empty, lonely, desolation of a life.He cannot speak or comprehend. He is Completely cut off from human interaction. It is an empty room with nothing but a bed.
Where the wheels came off for me in this email were statements like (sic):
But I knew Robert Gibson. I believe he would choose to suffer like this. I believe he was so ashamed. I believe he was pained at what he did to you.
When he dies. ….. And my sense it will be soon… Robert Gibson will make it a priority to help you heal. He was a monster to you. He knew that, but he was not able to control his urges. They call it pedophilia.
Did you ever have urges that you could not control?
Michael… I hope and pray (and I do still pray) that you are somehow able to find peace. If there is a God, then I know that Robert Gibson deserves to suffer for what he did to you. I knew him. He had goodness along side the horror that he showed you.
You will be free soon. Your pain is something I cannot grasp. But you will wake up one day and realize you can breathe. That means Robert Gibson has died and begged our Lord to protect you and comfort you. I hope then you will be free.
Let me answer each of these examples in turn. I don’t believe he would choose to suffer. He enjoyed what he did, he liked the power, he liked being dominant and he got off on it. It sexually excited him. Did he have regrets or did he lament his actions? We have no way to know. His only regret was probably that he got caught. But even then there was no consequence of note. The Diocese was more about preventing scandal and keeping the parishioners in the pew for the Sunday morning magic show and tithing. They moved him to Dittmer, one step ahead of the authorities that should have prosecuted him.
He is going to make me a priority after he dies? Interesting concept! If you buy into the “heaven hypothesis” (thanks Maria, I really like that expression) you would think that this man would not get past St Peter. He would probably be on the express train to hell, along with Bishop Timlin and his band of cronies who put themselves above the welfare of children in the Diocese of Scranton.
My favorite… “Did you ever had urges you could not control?”. If you are insinuating that I have had urges to molest, rape or harm in any way, a child, the answer is “NO”! I get this more often than not from the church apologists/zealots, in fact it is one of the church defenses against survivors/victims of sexual predators wearing Roman Collars. They want us to be identified as predators. They want us to be seen as subhuman and threatening. Do not, even for a moment, put me in the same category as Robert Gibson, rapist of children.
“He had goodness along side of the horror that he showed you.” Really! At what point did the “goodness” manifest itself? Or perhaps he did “good” things to keep up the facade of being a caring priest in order to separate his next victim from the herd. Tell me, how do you reconcile the fact that he had all this evil along side of the goodness he showed you?
The idea of Robert Gibson ascending to the right hand of the “father” upon his death is absurd. If there is a “god”, I would suspect that miscreants like Gibson are not destined for any reward in the after life.
I am sure when he does die, he will be buried with the full vestments of the church that turned its back on his victims. I am sure he will have a funeral befitting a man of “god”. I am sure he will be heralded for his goodness and sent to his “maker” for his eternal reward. That will be the final act in the church’s deceit. I doubt his victims will be invited to send him off with the “honors” he truly deserves. I am sure that Diocese will wait for a while to tell his victims that he has died so that there will be not interference with his priestly funeral.
His death will not set me free. I am already free, I have the truth. I have spoken that truth and others have also stood up to say that they were also targeted by Gibson. Some have done so publicly, others have done so privately. As soon as our great terrible secrets were shared, we were all free. He has no power over me. His death will not result in my rebirth. To give his life, his basic ability to pump blood and draw breath, power over his many victims is ludicrous. He is just a pathetic life form.
For those concerned about a possible road trip to Dittmer to see Gibson for myself, I did make the run down I-64 from my home in Virginia to Louisville, Kentucky. While the overhead signs encouraged me on to St. Louis, I did not venture past my Kentucky destination. Gibson is not worth the gas. To all my friends who wrote to me out of concern of what a trip to Missouri would do to me, fear not. I would not do anything stupid. I would not lower myself to commit an act of violence like Gibson did repeatedly to me and to many others. If I was going to burn gas to make a scene, it would be to go to Scranton and engage the leaders of the cult in the Chancellery on Wyoming Avenue.
Remember, my dear readers, if you are currently tithing or contributing to the Catholic Church, you are perpetuating the hierarchy that has put children and vulnerable adults in danger. You have been supporting a corrupt organization that has moved far away from the “faith” it purports to espouse. Your tacit support makes you complicit in their actions.
I inquire as the health and well-being of my perp, Robert J. Gibson, periodically. I did so last month to the Victim Assistance Coordinator for the Diocese of Scranton. Admittedly, the email to Joan Holmes was pretty sarcastic. I asked the question “Is the monster still alive?”. I did edit out the adjective I used initially.
As is the standard operating procedure of the Diocese, Ms. Holmes wrote me a wonderful little email in reply, passing my questions to the new chancellor. What I felt most disturbing about Ms. Holmes email dated on 7 April during Holy Week (For victims of sexual crimes committed by priest that week of 2012 is known as the first week in April) was the passage that read:
“As for the trial in Philadelphia, it fills me with sadness and compassion for the victims. At this time during Holy Week, I look at Jesus crucified and I see both priest and victim, so I pray also for the Church He founded.”
You see the priest crucified? Really?! I can see a church official seeing the victim crucified. That makes perfect sense. The church seems to be crucifying us on a regular basis either through their lawyers, PR Firms or through the wonderful (check the sarcasm meter) people of the Catholic League. I guess it is symptomatic of her being sympathetic to the hierarchy of the church that both pays her salary and protects predators in roman collars. There is really no doubt as to where the “Victim’s Assistance Office’s” loyalty falls.
I need to reiterate to the people out there who were victims of sexual crimes by religious or laity in the Diocese of Scranton, the Victim’s Assistance Coordinator’s office is not there to help you. It exists to collect information for the Diocese so that a defensive strategy can be established and the victim of the crime can be marginalized, sidelined or silenced. This office is not an advocate for the victim. If you are looking for assistance in Pennsylvania, I would recommend you contact the local police department or district attorney and the Foundation to Abolish Child Sexual Abuse (FACSA). The Diocese will not offer anything more than lip service to assist you.
The second response to my email came from Ms. Teresa Osborne, the current Chancellor for the Diocese of Scranton. Her email was the official response for several of my questions. Let the record show, they are mostly non-answers.
In regard to the question of whether or not “the monster” still draws breath, her answer was ” Robert Gibson is alive and continues to reside in a secure residential facility for priests in the state of Missouri.” I will have to assume he is in the Catholic Church’s minimum security location for incarcerating predator priest in Dittmer, the St. John Vianney Renewal Center. (and people are worried about Sharia Law? The Catholic Church has been running an underground “jail” network for years!) Funny, last time they were adamant about the fact that he was an old man suffering from dementia in a long-term medical facility in Dittmer, a hospital. They had previous told me he had been moved out of the Vianney Center. OOPS! Someone should have coordinated the response (lies) from the Diocese to make it consistent with earlier reports (lies, half truths) to me.
I am driving west to an event at the end of the month. Maybe I should swing by Dittmer and pay a visit on Robert Gibson and get a first hand look at what kind of condition he is in. Will he be in a room or on the golf course? I will just plug the address (6476 Eime Road, Dittmer, MO 63023) and let my Garmin direct me on the most efficient way to get to the “secure residential facility”. Anyone up for a road trip?
In response to my question about why I was never interviewed, the Chancellor said “From the time your allegation was brought forward, the Diocese of Scranton accepted what you said as true”. Still, I think it odd that the Diocese did not interview me for purposes of a canonical proceeding. It was not odd, I later found out, because they did not refer the case to the Vatican. The Chancellor goes on to say “… Robert Gibson’s status was recently re-evaluated by the Diocese and a referral of his case to the Vatican was initiated.” That is about as non-committal as responses come. Did the Bishop order a an action? What was the action requested? When was the action forwarded to the Vatican? Why have I still not been interviewed? If her goal was to appease me with her email, she fell short of the mark.
As expected, the Diocese has done essentially nothing. They will continue to do nothing. I think I need to program my Garmin GPS unit and start my trek across I-64 heading west towards Dittmer, Missouri. “Recalculating…”