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Since my last post, I have spoken briefly with an investigator. I am looking forward to a more in-depth interview with him. He initially offered to meet me here in Virginia until he realized that I was much further south than he expected. Contact has been made. He seems to be working a very large case load for the Diocese of Scranton, which is not surprising at all because the bishops there were protecting a number of predator priests.
I will let you know when a more detailed interview is conducted and I will pass any information that is made available to me.
If you share an experience similar to my own within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, I urge you to contact the Attorney General’s hotline at 1-888-538-8541 .
I have a healthy skepticism when it comes to anyone actually prosecuting the institutions that have made it a business practice to support and protect pedophiles that groom, sexually abuse and rape children within that institution. There is a risk calculation, no doubt, that guides these institutions to deny claims of abuse, attempt to discredit victims and protect the predators.
In the post prior to this one, I put out information released by the Foundation to Abolish Child Sexual Abuse (FACSA). They are looking for victims of sexual abuse to dial in, regardless of how long ago the abuse took place. It is imperative that we document the files on the institutions that protected predators and turned a deaf ear on victims.
The Attorney General’s office in Harrisburg has a Sexual Abuse Hotline, 1-888-538-8541. I called the number on Monday morning. I had a recording tell me that the line was not in service. I tried later in the morning and was surprised to have a live person answer the phone and take my information. She told me the name of the investigator looking into the Diocese of Scranton and said she would pass my information along. I will wait and see if anyone contacts me. If they do I will let you know. I do not expect much, but I would like to document the file against the Diocese of Scranton.
If you were the victim of sexual abuse as a child (under the age of 18) within the state of Pennsylvania, you should call the hotline and make a report. The person answering the phone will give you the name of the investigator for the Diocese(s) that are applicable to your particular circumstances.
Within the Dioceses in Pennsylvania there have been at least 292 credibly accused priests. That, to me, seems to be a low number. In my case, the Diocese of Scranton admits to only (!) four victims of my predator. I know that number is low. Ridiculously, insultingly low. These predators were prolific.
If you have a story to tell, now is the time to do so. Please call the number, 1-888-538-8541 and be heard.
I guess we shall see where, if anywhere, this will lead.
***Disclaimer: the misspelling of “Alltona” on the map was embedded in the .gif file I pulled from the Diocese of Harrisburg’s website.
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
The following is the content of an email I received yesterday from the Foundation to Abolish Child Sex Abuse (FACSA):
Over the many months of the current PA Legislature’s session our team has continued to monitor for legislative efforts that will protect children from sexual predators and provide some measure of justice for CSA victims. Most recently there were several pieces of legislation signed into law by Gov. Corbett including the following changes:
- Designated state licensing boards will now be required to provide training on child abuse recognition and reporting.
- New provisions clarify who is mandated to report child abuse and the reporting process they must follow to report suspected abuse to the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare.
- Employees will now be protected from discrimination in the workplace as a result of reporting suspected abuse.
- Penalties will increase for those required to report supposed abuse but fail to do so.
Additionally a bill providing for stable funding of Child Advocacy Centers (CACs) in PA was also signed by Gov. Corbett. CACs are multidisciplinary treatment programs for abused children, which brings together doctors, nurses, prosecutors, social workers and law enforcement. This approach gives abused children the best chance to recover and also provides the most effective way to gather evidence to bring perpetrators to justice. There are currently 21 CACs in PA.
However, although more than one dozen “child protection” laws have been enacted to date, none enable the removal of known pedophiles.
One champion for this much needed legislation is Rep. Mark Rozzi. Rep. Rozzi represents part of Berks County. He and some childhood friends were victims of CSA. Rep. Rozzi has introduced several pieces of legislation to help protect children and promote justice for victims.
- You are Invited!
Please join us in Harrisburg on Wednesday April 30th to support Rep. Mark Rozzi’s HB 2067 and after the press conference join one of our teams who will be meeting with key legislators to ask for their support of this important legislation.
PRESS CONFERENCE INFO:
Rep. Mark Rozzi Press Conference on HB 2067
WHEN: Wed. April 30, 2014 at 10:00 AM
WHERE: Capitol Media Center, Room 1 East Wing of Capitol, Harrisburg, PA
MEETING WITH LEGISLATORS:
If you are interested in joining one of our teams who will be meeting with legislators after the press conference, please contact Tammy Lerner at 610-509-9568 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org to sign on. You will need to arrive at our legislative team’s office across from the Capitol Building in Harrisburg no later than 9:00 AM to review plans for the day.
MORE INFO RE: HB 2067:
HB 2067 does several things:
- Going forward, it permanently eliminates the SOL for child sex abuse, both criminally (now to age 50) and civilly (now to age 30)
- As a compromise, it does allow for previously time-barred victims (up to age 50) to bring suit.
- If the perpetrator was employed by a public or private entity that owed a duty of care for the victim, damages against the entity may be awarded with a finding of “gross negligence”.
- Add “child sex abuse” as an exception to immunity laws thereby removing the “sovereign immunity” defense for public officials and institutions.
Why this legislation is important:
- Victims deserve their day in court.
- It takes courage (and often decades) for children to acknowledge abuse.
- Perpetrators and responsible entities have not been held accountable.
- Perpetrators are still involved with children.
- Perpetrators have been deliberately shielded from prosecution.
- The SOL laws are arbitrary and archaic.
- Only lawmakers have the power to enact laws to protect the public.
- Although more than one dozen “child protection” laws have been enacted to date, none enable the removal of known pedophiles.
- HB 2067 is sound public policy.
Below is part of an e-mail Rep. Rozzi recently sent to his colleagues to encourage them to support HB 2067:
“Once again I am appealing to the sense of civic responsibility that leads every one of us to seek public office. As legislators, we have an obligation to institute laws that safeguard our citizens… especially those who cannot protect themselves.
“We read how venerable institutions, insulated by outdated laws, have not only allowed the victimization of children….but have exposed countless others to the horrors of sexual abuse. The problem will NEVER GO AWAY as long as perpetrators are shielded. Witness Sandusky, the Boy Scouts, any religious organization, and any school system…public or private.
“We have learned that victims of child sex abuse often take decades to acknowledge their demons and that they rarely make false claims. We know that perpetrators can’t stop abusing. But if we can give survivors of child sex abuse the opportunity to expose predators through accessing records to support their claims, without the constraints of arbitrary statutes of limitations, than this will go a long way to stop the abuse of the next generation of children.
“I implore you to co-sponsor my legislation, House Bill 2067 and call upon the Chairmen of the Judiciary Committee to at least hold a meeting on the merits of the measure. On behalf of all victims of child sexual abuse, I thank you in advance for your consideration and support.”FACSA 740 Cornerstone Lane Bryn Mawr, Pa 19010
The Church is the Real Victim
There is nothing more offensive to me personally as the defensive tactics embraced by the hierarchy of the Catholic Church. In this installment of the “Playbook” we will take a look at how the RCC spins the sexual crime crisis to make the RCC look like the victim. Ignore the RCC sex crisis, banking crisis, involvement in murders and kidnappings, Vatican leaks, gay witch hunts, reprimand of nuns to deflect attention away from the sex crisis, loss of parishioners, arbitrary closing of parishes, insensitive detached and out of touch leaders. Ignore it all! The real victim here is Catholicism. (Adjust your sarcasm dials and buckle in.) And the ALLEGED victims of sexual abuse are the source of all the woes of the church.
1. Alleged Victims are hell-bent on the destruction of the church. The hierarchy of the church and the ultra conservative groups that support it are painting the goals of survivors being solely focused on the destruction of the church. Their contention is that we will not be placated until the Bishops’ Chryslers, their summer houses, and their extravagant lifestyles are destroyed. They want to tell the faithful that victims of abuse want to tear down schools and churches, destroy parishes and bankrupt the church until god (lower case intended) is banished from society.
Groups like the Catholic League spit out statistics in support of such claims on a regular basis. Those statistics, for the most part, are unsubstantiated. When I wrote to the point of contact at the Catholic league to fact check a particularly virulent rant from Bill Donohue (Catholic Hater in Chief), there was simply no reply. I guess when you are spinning propaganda to support your local Archbishop the truth is not required.
2. The media is picking on the Catholic Church. You hear this everywhere a church leader or the head of some ultra-conservative church organization or group of church apologists get together in front of a microphone. This is all a vast left-wing conspiracy. The best article I have read in this vein is by John P. Martin called “Church scandal hits close to home“. The article stands on its own merit. I first read this article while keeping up with Susan Mathew’s Blog, Catholics4Change. It first appeared on Philly.com.
Bloggers Note: Do you think if the hierarchy of the Catholic Church and it’s shills would be getting negative media attention if they were not so completely inept, involved in protecting predator pedophiles, running corrupt banking systems, punishing nuns for doing good work, covering up kidnappings of teenagers and funding the extravagant excess of the princes of the church?
3. Trial Lawyers are keeping this issue alive! If you read the Catholic apologists’ blogs and press releases from groups like the Catholic League, you would discover that the “scandal” is being perpetuated by the likes of Jeff Anderson and Marci Hamilton. Their spin is that the trial lawyers and scholars are trying to keep the scandal alive for their own personal enrichment. “There is really good money in those settlements”. Anyone look at the stable of lawyers, PR guys, media consultants and risk management types in the employ of various dioceses, religious orders and Catholic organizations lately? By some accounts the cost of defending Monsignor Lynn ran upwards of $11 Millions! I think, in fact, the hierarchy of the Catholic Church is keeping Trial Lawyers (and PR guys and media consultants) alive. Just a thought…
4. These crimes are the work of homosexuals bent on the destruction of the church. Let’s just blame it on gay priests. I have covered this before. Simply put, just before you are gay, does not mean you are a pedophile. The church would like you to believe that the “gay sub-culture” in the priesthood is from where this deviant behavior emanates. But, if this was true, can someone explain to me about the priests who have preyed on girls? You see, with the excuse generators that operate in many of the Chancery buildings around the world it is really true that the devil is in the details. I would imagine that there are gay priests in the church who are doing god’s work and looking after parishioners without trying to slide their hands inside an altar boy’s cassock.
5. The behavior of these pedophiles is a direct result of the excesses of Vatican II and the liberalization of Catholicism. Once again the boys in the curia are counting on the gullibility of parishioners that blindly follow their roman collared handlers. People, if there are documented cases of pedophilia in the church dating back before Vatican II, which ran from 11 October 1962 until 8 December 1965, how can blame the “liberalization of the church”? Put down the church bulletin and the letter from the bishop on the annual fund drive and think. Canon law has articles covering crimes against children by clergy going back hundreds of years. This crisis is not a post Vatican II product. This kind of behavior, and the cover ups by the church, have been going on for centuries. It is built into the fabric of the clergy to protect their institution and avoid scandal at all costs. Even if it is at the expense of a child. The big difference today is that we have social networks that can reveal the true nature of those who will commit heinous crimes against children and those institutions that will protect those predators.
The next installment will cover the methods employed by the bishops of the church to keep priests one step ahead of the sheriff or two steps outside of the jurisdictions that could prosecute them.
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.
While glancing at my WordPress.com dashboard I noticed that this will be my 200th post on this blog. I am amazed I have stuck to it this long, although my posts have been less frequent as events in my personal life demand my attention. For this post I am beginning a series on the Catholic playbook. These are the strategies that the Church and its apologists use to downplay the sex crisis that continues to play out around the world. I have been keeping notes over the last five years on reactions to media stories, blogs similar to mine and message boards. There are too many to do in one sitting so I will try to do them in installments. I think you can safely say that these strategies are employed by any organization that takes a risk management approach of covering up and denying instead of being proactive and forthright. The RCC has been using these tactics for centuries. (That’s right, this sex crisis is not the result of Vatican II as the very conservative zealots will have you believe).
Here is installment 1 of the RCC Hierarchy Playbook:
It is in use again. The Roman Catholic Church (RCC) hierarchy is pulling out their playbook on how to spin their position on the myriad of crises in which the church is embroiled. The good old boy network has been fostering corruption, scandal and criminal activity for centuries. Why would it be any different in the 21st century.
In the wake of the conviction of Monsignor Lynn in Philadelphia, the hierarchy’s public relations goon squads are trying to minimize damage in the media, isolate other potential “crisis hotspots”, and brainwash “the faithful” that all is well and that the one holy catholic and apostolic church is on solid footing, just as St. Peter placed it. You can keep coming to church and filling the collection plates.
The playbook is predictable and predatory. It can be broken down into several broad categories. We start with: ( I shouldn’t have to say this but… sarcasm runs amock in this post). (If you are a Diocesan Spokesperson, try to keep up, I try use a lot of one syllable words, if you get confused you can use the google machine.)
Paint the Victim as a Predator
1. Victims are only looking for money! Greed is one of the deadly sins. The hierarchy of the church must have people believe that the victim of sexual crimes committed by priests, nuns or lay representatives are only out for a quick, large payday. Gloss over the damage done by the predators who enjoy the top cover of the church while targeting victims for their own pleasure, that is not relevant! Father “Fill in the Blank” is not called to account for his actions, crimes and deceptions. No, we can’t have that. Let’s go after the victim who has carried his/her great terrible secret of violation for years or decades. We lurk in the shadows for years for the opportunity to litigate and force the church to pay for sins it did not commit. The victim is the bad guy in his/her search for justice.
2. Victims will bankrupt us. Ignore the palaces, art work,massive princely mansions, the expensive cars, summer retreat spots, first class flights to Italy and land used to hide pedophiles in Catholic minimum security facilities. Ignore the vast resources of the Catholic Church worldwide. Wealth that is beyond the comprehension of most mortals is not to be considered. Cardinals and bishops have had the audacity to claim poverty in the face of claims that substantiate their complicity it protecting pedophiles in their attempt to protect the church from scandal. Dioceses have attempted to use this tactic in court but have failed. They will cry out that they have to close schools and parishes to pay for settlements and awards to victims of predators that they have shielded. Funny, it would seem that the best way to avoid scandal is to not create one! But I digress. Has it ever occurred to anyone in the hierarchy of the church that predator priests, by their actions and in total disregard for the good of the church, continue to prey on children and vulnerable adults and open that organization to scrutiny, penalty and sanction? Can I have a big “DUH” from the congregations?
3. Victims of sexual abuse are likely to be abuser as well. Make me the new monster! There is no proof of this, but the church and their apologists take this out for a spin on a regular basis. Paint me as the new threat to children and vulnerable adults! Once again the church needs you to suspend belief in the overwhelming evidence of institutional cover ups and re-victimization. Never mind that priests, nuns and lay members of the church have abused their positions of power and were given refuge, financial support and the institutional blessing of the church while victims were ostracized and painted as monsters. Urges, surely the victims have them and seek the same carnal pleasures that they were forced to comply with. Really?! Again, the church is lying to protect its treasure. It relies on the blind stupidity of the parishioners who believe everything they are told.
AND MY PERSONAL FAVORITE:
4. The Priest is only guilty of being seduced. No kidding! You would be amazed at the number of times this has been thrown at me by “Good Catholics” and priests. It was my fault that he raped me. I tempted him, I led him down the path to this. Let’s for a moment suspend belief in reality that sexual activity with a minor under the age of consent is, at a minimum, statutory rape. Let’s for a moment suspend the logical notion that children who have not gone through puberty are generally not sexual creatures. Let’s suspend belief that an adult man is unable to distinguish between right and wrong. These acts, in my specific case, were not tender, passionate acts. They were brutal, criminal acts that resulted in injuries to my person, my well-being, my psyche. They stole my innocence, my faith, my trust and my ability to deal with the everyday world around me. At age 13, I assure you, I did not seduce a priest. He raped me, repeatedly. They were acts of violence. Acts of intimidation, dominance and depravity. Anyone who can embrace the idea of a child seducing an adult in this manner has, in my opinion, a seriously flawed thought process.
The next installment will be: “There is nothing we can do about it”
If you want to add to the discussion, feel free to comment…
It has been an interesting 31 days. I still have not processed it all. I don’t know how to process some of it. I have been told to try to look at these things in the context of “the glass being half full”. What I have found in looking through my own personal lens at all that has happened since May 25th, is that the glass is broken.
In May, Robert Gibson, the Catholic priest who raped me while I was an 8th grade student at Notre Dame Jr/Sr High School in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, died. True to form, I was informed of his passing by a source close to the Gibson family and not by the Diocesan official who had promised to inform me of his inevitable death.
To be honest, I was numb. I was neither happy nor sad that he had died, I was not angry at not having had a chance to confront him while he lived. Many of the people who emailed me after I blogged about his passing were quick to offer their thoughts on the man who had committed criminal acts (this was not just abuse) against many, and had betrayed us all. There was another shocking revelation about him that came with the news of his death that should not have surprised me, but it did. Another of his victims shared his story with me as the news of his passing got out. I don’t feel like I should be celebrating the end of a life, no matter how malevolently lived. In his addled later years, I am told he was a shell, a soul lost to dementia. I don’t think I should take any solace in his condition at the conclusion of his life. With the onset of that condition also came the death of truth for me and many others. There was no last moment apology from a dying man, no admission to his crimes, no sense of his prolificity when it came to the number of children he raped, sodomized, tortured or beat while he was being “naughty” during the 1960’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. There was no accounting.
Many have told me he is going to get his in the next life. I don’t believe there is a next life and I don’t believe in hell. Gibson escaped this life and atonement for his crimes with the aid of the Diocese of Scranton, the Catholic Church and a network of Roman Collar Crime supporters who probably all breathed a collective sigh of relief as he breathed his last shallow, labored breath.
While this was all going on, the jury in Philadelphia was deliberating the fate of two priests, one accused of molesting a child, the other of covering up crimes and endangering children. As the jury deliberations dragged on, I could not help but wonder if there was a juror who could have been refusing to convict on religious grounds. Perhaps the church had gotten to someone on the jury with threats or payments. Based on my dealings with the church, I saw this as very possible because I do not differentiate between organized crime and the hierarchy of the Catholic Church. The jury did convict Monsignor Lynn, finally, on only one count of endangering a child. The jury deadlocked on the priest on trial for molesting a child. That was a start, albeit a very poor one.
Monsignor Lynn used the defense of superior orders or the “Nuremberg” defense. It was really Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua who should have been on trial and he “conveniently” died the day after a judge ruled him competent to testify in Lynn’s trial. With Lynn’s conviction we have a lieutenant going to prison while the generals are untouched. While I welcome the conviction as a first step, it is by no means a leap and I do not see it as a major turning point in the struggle to force the hierarchy of the church to come clean on the conspiracy of silence and the further victimization of children and vulnerable adults. I will feel a little better when I see someone in purple or red vestments being led away in handcuffs to serve a long-term behind bars for their crimes.
And then there was Jerry Sandusky’s trial. The defense here was that the victims were seeking monetary awards. They were greedy and willing to bring this kind man down. Sure he was a little overly affectionate, so what if he liked sharing showers with young boys. Luckily the jury saw through that and convicted on almost all counts of the indictment. He will appeal; we will go through all this again. He will put the victims through the scrutiny and the attacks that should rightfully be aimed at him. Just when you thought you heard it all, his stepson came forward and identified himself as one of the victims. I am not surprised.
The true test will be when the Penn State officials who covered up the reported incidents that allowed for other children to be placed in danger of rape and abuse. When I see a Pennsylvania jury convict based on strong evidence I will start to believe that a change is coming.
There are bills that have been stuck in the judiciary committee of the Pennsylvania General Assembly that are moving, at a glacial pace, towards the floor for a vote. Held up in the Judiciary committee by the imperial chairman Ron Marsico for a long time,the bills finally moved on to another committee because of the intense pressure of the two trials going on in the Commonwealth. Finally, Marsico’s political peril overcame his loyalty to the Catholic Hierarchy. If those bills pass and the governor of Pennsylvania signs them into law, I will start to believe.
In the meantime, I watch the Catholic faithful announce that justice and honor have been satisfied. They mimic the voices from the pulpit that claim the scandal is past and that we must look forward. We must turn a blind eye to the past and to the victims for whom justice and honor have not been satisfied and truth has been denied. We must look to the future and protect the mother church! (Sarcasm intended)
This is not over. The church’s hierarchy has not paid a vulgar price for its vulgar complicity and parishioners’ complacency. It has not learned its lesson and the faithful have not seized power from those who have abused it for centuries. It is business as usual. It is all about power, prestige and keeping butts in the seats for the Sunday morning magic show and keeping the revenue stream flowing. I have such low expectations for the Catholic Church. I have set the bar ridiculously low for the church and marveled at how they continue to fall short.
Nothing has changed, yet…
This is from Philly Inquirer Sunday June 24 page c-4 OPINION PAGE
Outside their own circles, they’re mostly unknown — and certainly not referred to as Victim No. … But other child sex-abuse victims across Pennsylvania are just as entitled to justice as those whose accusations were heard in the sensational trials of a former college football coach and a high-ranking Catholic Church official.
Many of the other victims have also suffered in silence for decades, often unable to admit to themselves the horror of being abused as a child or teen. And if they did decide to come forward, it would likely be too late under the state’s criminal and civil statutes.
These other victims waited even as separate juries wrestled with the charges against former Pennsylvania State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, whose alleged victims now include an adopted son, and Archdiocese of Philadelphia Msgr. William Lynn — who on Friday became the first U.S. church official convicted in a child sex-abuse case.
Sandusky was found guilty late Friday on 45 counts of child sex abuse. Lynn was found guilty earlier on one count of child endangerment and acquitted on two other charges. The jury deadlocked on two child-abuse counts against the Rev. James J. Brennan.
For victims in yet unknown cases to get their day in court, Harrisburg lawmakers and Gov. Corbett must push aside special interests, including the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference and the insurance lobby, and carve a path to the courthouse.
A proposal from State Rep. Michael McGeehan (D., Phila.) would do just that, by opening a two-year window for long-ago victims to file civil suits that would allow victims to expose both the accused and those who shielded them.
For more than a year, McGeehan’s bill — and a related proposal to remove abuse-case statutes of limitation, sponsored by State Rep. Louise Williams Bishop (D., Phila.), who was also a childhood abuse victim — went nowhere in the face of determined church opposition.
Wednesday, however, in a sign that lawmakers finally felt the weight of publicity from the two trials, the House Judiciary Committee approved a modified measure crafted by the panel’s chairman, State Rep. Ron Marsico (R., Dauphin). That bill would eliminate statutes of limitation on future criminal prosecutions in child-sexual-assault cases and give victims until age 50 to lodge civil claims.
But Marsico’s measure still does nothing to help long-ago victims.
Apart from the verdicts, the Lynn and Sandusky cases amply demonstrated the need to loosen the statutes, to tighten reporting of abuse claims, and, most important, to provide justice to victims whose predators were shielded by institutional cover-ups.
In pursuit of Lynn’s conviction for child endangerment, prosecutors offered compelling proof that, as the city’s former top prosecutor, Lynne M. Abraham, said, “the cover-up went all the way to the top,” including then-Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua.
At Penn State, two top officials face criminal charges that they helped cover up child-molestation allegations about Sandusky. Appallingly, even former university president Graham B. Spanier failed to alert authorities.
Now, more than ever, it’s time to stand with all abuse victims.
If you live in Pennsylvania, and I know a lot of the readers of this blog live in the Keystone State, it has been an interesting few weeks! But now is not the time to sit back and declare victory. We are a long way from that day!
I received a note from Maureen Martinez at justice4pakids calling for people to contact the Rules Chair in Harrisburg to keep the legislation that was crowbarred out of the hands of the Judiciary committee moving to the floor of the State Assembly for a vote.
The content of her email is as follows:
Two verdicts and the bills moved from Judiciary to Rules Committee—what a week it was last week! THIS WEEK IS CRUCIAL!!!!
CALL TO ACTION RIGHT NOW!!! Call to Rules Chair Rep. Turzai to call up 832, 878 and the new bill 2488 for a committee vote. The legislature is only in session THIS WEEK until June 29–then they break for the entire summer. Call Rep. Turzai: (717) 772-9943 or email him at: email@example.com
This is what you can say in an email:
Dear Rep. Turzai- Time is of the essence. Please call up bills 878 and 832 and 2488 (now residing in your committee as of June 20) for a committee vote. The children of PA thank you!
Why are you still reading this, if you live in PA you have an email to write or a phone call to make. Go on, you have things to do!