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It is now time to undo the injustice bishops are doing to too many priests, falsely accused of child abuse and now vindicated, but still torn from their priesthood

Or do they care more for protecting themselves than for the exercise of common decency?

By on Wednesday, 16 May 2012

My attention was drawn, in yesterday’s Morning Catholic must reads to a piece by Michael Novak intriguingly entitled “A Different Priestly Scandal”. 

Michael Novak is the author of twenty-five books, is much else besides and is almost always worth reading. The priestly scandal in question turned out to be one I have written about myself, but not for some time: the growing scandal of priests who are unjustly accused of child sex abuse, suspended by their diocese from all priestly functions and sent into a kind of ecclesiastical limbo, subsequently declared innocent by the civil authorities, and then totally ignored by the diocesan authorities who suspended them.

He writes of having dinner with a priest who greatly impressed him as a gifted and dedicated pastor.

He was unaware at first that this good man had been falsely accused of sexual molestation eight years before. He was effectively stripped of his priesthood (as Novak says, a scandal in itself) since in the Catholic Church today, it seems that the idea that a priest is innocent until proved guilty is a simple dead letter: what he finds, in effect, is that unless he can prove his innocence (an almost impossible task) he will be deemed guilty. This particular priest was in fact proved innocent. His accuser died of a cocaine overdose , but not before exonerating him by admitting the falsity of his accusation. His bishop, however, as Novak indignantly writes “has not moved – dared? – to reinstate this good man and return him to his proper standing in the priesthood, or even to give a public apology for his unjust treatment. Nor has the press that stirred up the atmosphere of high-tech lynchings revisited his case … to clear [him] of this horrible wrong.”

This story ought to be a one-off aberration: but I am coming to the conclusion that “this horrible wrong” is not only not a rare occurrence but is absolutely normal. There are, that is to say, hundreds and perhaps thousands of priests, world-wide, in this appalling situation.

I am not saying that the initial suspension shouldn’t take place. But a bishop who suspends a priest owes it to a man he has robbed of his vocation, even if in theory temporarily, to make sure that he really is guilty. The civil authorities have to do that: and in not a few cases the priest is found not guilty, or the DPP finds that there is no case to answer. The bishop ought then to reinstate him: but in many cases does not, even when it is clear that the initial accusation was fraudulent.

It is clear that there are many such false accusations, especially when there is the prospect of financial “compensation” from a vulnerable diocese. In his new book Catholic Priests Falsely Accused, David Pierre writes that “one can examine the number of Boston priests who were found to have committed abuse versus the number of those whose cases were studied and found to be false. In the end, one can demonstrate the sobering figure that one-third of accused priests in the Archdiocese of Boston were accused falsely. (I provide all of the supporting numbers in my book.)”

And as he also says, such priestly victims, nearly always, have been unable to return to the exercise of their priestly vocation: “the media is far too willing to adopt a tone of ‘guilty until proven innocent’—if not ‘guilty until proven guiltier’—when reporting cases of individuals coming forward to claim abuse by Catholic priests decades ago… [and] in many instances these accusations later turn out to be false. Yet the damage to the accused cleric’s reputation has already been done. His name remains plastered on the Internet as a ‘credibly accused molester,’ and enemies of the Church have no fear in using these bogus accusations to attack the Church.”

As I wrote here about a year ago, not for the first time, genuine and proven child sex abuse by priests has of course undoubtedly happened, and something had to be done about it (it should be added in parenthesis that the Church is practically the only organisation in society which actually has done anything about it, even though it it is clear that the minority of clergy involved in this appalling crime is numerically no greater than the percentage of abusers in the male population at large). So those very few children and teenagers actually in danger from Catholic priests obviously had to be protected. But as I also pointed out, “Catholic hierarchies, having erred in one direction in the past, had to make sure they were immune from such accusations in the future. So they set up procedures so rigorous that they have now erred in the other direction: in other words, without necessarily having any evidence of any kind, they now immediately suspend any priest accused, whether the accusations are believable or not. Innocent or guilty, this has often been enough to wreck his priestly ministry for ever: after all, everyone knows that there is no smoke without fire.”

And as I also pointed out, there has been a considerable number of false accusations, particularly when it has been possible to mount some kind of legal demand for “compensation”: where a priest is known to be wealthy or to be a member of a wealthy family this vile phenomenon has been particularly flagrant (I am personally acquainted with one such case: the priest in question was clearly innocent, but his bishop still covered his back by flinging him to the wolves).

Something of a fightback is now underway. As the National Catholic register reported recently in an article entitled “Priests in Limbo”

 

advocates for accused priests contend that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishop’s “zero tolerance” policy has also spawned an unjust system that tramples on the rights of priests. In many cases, priests who have been found innocent remain barred from active ministry, while others who appeal their cases to the Vatican can be sidelined for years….

Father Michael Maginot, a canon lawyer who works with the clergy support group Justice for Priests, said he knew of no case where a priest that had been tried and cleared by a diocesan tribunal was then fully reinstated in active ministry.

 

There is, as I say, now something of a reaction under way (the internet is full of it), sometimes organised by a priest’s own people. I conclude with a splendid American website called “in support of Fr Ed”, which insists that “Our Fr. Ed is not the only priest with a stellar reputation to fall victim to an accusation of this nature and a questionable USCCB procedure that is bound to invite false allegations. The zero tolerance policy creates a situation in which priests are considered guilty until proven innocent and even subjects them to double jeopardy (both situations contrary to US law), making every priest and bishop a potential target for those motivated by revenge or greed or, in some cases, with distorted memories.”

Exactly so; and more and more ordinary Catholics are becoming aware of this shameful and unjust situation. Our bishops, judging by their behaviour, are still not aware of it. It is high time for this to change, and for bishops to undo the gross injustice many of them are still doing to hundreds of falsely accused priests, who want nothing more than to be allowed to minister to their people, from whose service they have been so brutally torn.

  • JabbaPapa

     As for what is it about the Catholic priesthood that attracts men of this kind?

    It’s the all-male environment, just for starters.

    There are more than a few ex-Anglican priests who flocked to the Catholic Church, in the years *before* the Ordinariates, when women priests were introduced into Anglicanism because they would have found themselves unable to continue their “lifestyle” preferences in a mixed-sex environment !!!

    (of course every healthy parish *is* a mixed-sex environment, but not every parish is a healthy one)

    There are regional and national variations involved here, of course — the gay lobbies inside the Church are very powerful in UK and US, but not powerful at all in rural south Europe.

  • irishsmile

    Incorrect.  Many, if not most of the victims are young men and teen males. 

  • Tom Perry

    I have in my posts been asking questions and providing facts that are sourced from enquiry reports principally, and similar. Jabba Pappa decided to post on these threads. Interestingly in his last post Mr West asks a direct question of JP to which s/he has not yet replied. In my last question to JP I sought to understand if s/he thought the church had any safeguarding responsibilities, or any responsibilities at all – but the reply is meaningless.  

    In the strand JP suggests clerical child abuse has been known about for decades Because it’s been *decades* since the general public has been aware of the depth of this scandal in Western society,  There is though documented evidence that the Church has known about child abuse by priests for rather longer.  

    This is ‘The Beast File’  a long established feature of ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Company) which I hope you will find interesting and which I hope places the current situation in some kind of context.   

    Father Tom Doyle is a long-time critic of the Church’s handling of child abuse. I provide here his biography so you understand his experience in the workings of the church. He provided an interview to George Negus of SBS which  once again is an Australian media concern. 

    The interview can be seen here. It does open, but it may be a little slow. 

    And then there was the well constructed documentary ‘Deliver us form Evil’ by Amy Berg which provides an insight into the crime and politics of child abuse within the church. 

    William Oddie may have a point, but from everything one reads on this subject, it needs to join a lengthening queue. 

    I will not be posting again on this article.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/JuanOskar-JayMaynes/1012381485 JuanOskar JayMaynes

    The Church leaders which are the bishops have been ‘chick-ti-fied’.  They have become great cowards that want to be left alone and not have to deal with any accusations that seem odd but might be true.

  • Eamonn

    Any falsely accused priests suffering this way care to get together with those who did not falsely accuse and were treated, are treated similarly by the ‘Church’ – not least the ‘faithful laity’ ?

     If so – I’d love to meet with you. We have a lot in common and might be able to show the rest of the half wits how to do things differently. I empathise completely, know what you go through and ask you take care of yourself. Family, friends and those like you are really the only ones who will give you the ‘support’ you need and who realise that it’s an ongoing process. Do take care.I never would/could have imagined my faith would be tested in such a way and endlessly so it seems. But it has been, I accept that now, and that in part brings peace. Believing as Jesus said too that, ‘faith makes well’ – brings its own peace and healing. So if you are there, want to connect, and build bridges, trust, heal the wounds in the Body of Christ. Get in touch.God blessEamonn(lflynn43@yahoo:disqus .com)

  • Eamonn

    This will be my last posting on this site. 

    As a survivor of clerical sexual and other abuses, I am “DISGUSTED” that every time I try and say something here it’s removed. I’d understand to a degree at least if what I had said were anti Catholic in any way. 

    Catholic Herald – certain the ‘UK’ publication is just an extension of the clerical abuser’s arm/will.  ”Don’t ever speak about this to anyone !” 

    Well thank you very much CH. Another farce. Not that anyone will ever see this. God forbid the truth might bring ‘scandal’ to the boundless hypocrites within the ranks of the hierarchy and laity of the Catholic Church. 

  • Fr.Thomas Poovathinkal

    IF CATHOLIC  HERALD COULD MAKE A  SHORT SURVEY OF WHAT POPES:  JOHN PAUL II AND BENEDICT XVI HAVE DONE  BY WAY OF DEALING WITH SUCH CASES (PRINCIPLE, PRACTICE AND FEW EXAMPLES) OF CHILD ABUSE IT WOULD HELP.

    WHEN MONEY IS BROUGHT IN TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM…..IT SMELLS FOUL. PEOPLE FROM PENURY BACKGROUND WILL HAVE A FEAST AND A LOT OF NON-VICTIMS ALSO COULD TURN OUT THEMSELVES AS VICTIMS. HONESTY NEED NOT BE THE BEST POLICY IN EVERYONE’S CASE.

  • Fr.Thomas Poovathinkal

     
    EVEN 60% IS UNBELIEVABLE. IF IT IS WOMAN CASE, IT COULD BE DIFFERENT PERHAPS.

    AS LONG AS THERE IS NO SCIENTIFIC SURVEY DONE WE CAN ONLY SURMISE.

    WHY IS THE CHURCH AUTHORITIES NOT ENCOURAGING SCIENTIFIC SURVEY FROM WITHIN ABOUT MATTERS OF THIS SORT?

  • MichaelR

    The Church really should excommunicate all those who make false accusations against priests, and not re-admit them to the sacraments until they have made a full admission of their lies and a proper apology to the priest.

  • 89afa8484c8d7af4

     Do you really need to be advertising here huanggua804?

  • Father George David Byers

    Think money. Think risk minimization (for payouts) of insurance underwriters.

    Holding all those accused as guilty, regardless of the facts, so that out of court settlements are instantly made instead of litigated penalties risked, is what is desired by insurers and therefore by the bishops. The litigated penalty can be 15 times more than the settlement. Do the math.

    Want proof about the 30 pieces of silver? Try this:

    http://holysoulshermitage.com/2012/05/15/the-judas-crisis/

  • 89afa8484c8d7af4

     I don’t see any other solution and excommunicating is the least we could do.  Does this crime not easily fall under the sins that cry out to heaven? 

    A. Based on # 1867 of the
    Catechism of the Catholic Church, there are:

    (1) Wilful murder – the blood of Abel, [Gen. 4:10]

    (2) The sin of the Sodomites, [Gen. 18:20; 19:13]

    (3) The cry of the people oppressed in Egypt, [Ex. 3:7-10]

    (4) The cry of the foreigner, the widow and the orphan, [Ex. 20:20-22] and

    (5) Injustice to the wage earner. [Deut. 24:14-5; Jas. 5:4]http://www.catholicdoors.com/faq/qu43.htm#answer2Despite that fact, adding injury to the gravest insult, victims of slander are shamed by their communities and prior friends, who no longer call, never.  That’s compassion?  That’s Christ love?  …and you see it and feel it the most by daily communicants who pray all day and quickly end conversations or leave in a rush if you happen to run into them.   It never ends!  Being holy requires more than going through the praying motions.  It requires action.  The sin of omission is where everyone misses the boat here, and is blind and in need of the greatest conversion!

  • 89afa8484c8d7af4

     Could you site some solid sources for these false accusations? 

  • 89afa8484c8d7af4

     It’s because they can’t win.  They don’t have a choice.  Once accused, Guilty!  Yes there’s a slight chance they could win in court, but the reality is that it’s not likely.  End of story. 

  • JabbaPapa

    I’m afraid my sources are mainly French, including one quite technocratically gruesome one analysing the nature of paedophilia as such that not only would I refuse to impart to even my worst enemies due to its extremely disturbing nature, but I also have no desire to ever set my own eyes on the damn thing myself !!

    But the info on the % rate of false accusations in the teaching professions for example is easily obtainable AFAIK — I mean there are very very few teachers who are child molesters, but there are far greater numbers than the actual guilty who are accused of it – by silly, ignorant, vengeful kids out for some childish vendetta rubbish because they’re bored or angry or whatever.

  • JabbaPapa

    ????

    Sorry — I’m horrified to hear that you were a victim of such abuses.

    May the Mother of God and all other Saints pray for your healing and your peace.

    Otherwise — please do NOT for an instant imagine that people in here do in ANY way support the perpetrators of such evil crimes !!!!

    You cannot expect people to sympathise with your personal experiences when you’ve not described them until slamming the door in the face of everyone that you didn’t explain them to !!!

    We’re not mind readers — unless you say that you were abused by a priest, nobody has any reason at all to imagine that you were.

  • JabbaPapa

    Aaaah that’s a very good point — this alone could be sufficient to explain the massive discrepancy between the extremely “low” % of false accused (“only” 66% false accused) in the US as compared to elsewhere.

    Cripes you have a crappy legal system !!!

  • JabbaPapa

    Anyone who makes such a false accusation has excommunicated himself or herself from the Church.

  • Gallibus

    Problem is they probably don’t go to the sacraments anyway. We need to get together and counter-sue these people, effectively beggaring them as they have tried to do to the faithful.

  • Nancyfiat

    to all My Brothers falsely accused Priests…………

    A priest once said to me If you want to see injustice look at a Crucifix….

    To be made models of Christ in this way is most definitely a crucifixion….

    In heaven it will be your greatest Glory……

    I will remember you in my prayers untill then…………..

  • Nancyfiat

    to all My Brothers falsely accused Priests…………
    A priest once said to me If you want to see injustice look at a Crucifix….
    To be made models of Christ in this way is most definitely a crucifixion….
    In heaven it will be your greatest Glory……
    I will remember you in my prayers untill then…………..

  • Honeybadger

    Please, Eamonn, do not tar us all with the same brush.

    Those people – especially the religious - who do such heinous things to the young and the vulnerable yet arrogantly and defiantly feel neither guilt or remorse or are not contrite in asking Almighty God and their victims to forgive the evil they have done have already lost God and have refused His Love, Mercy and Forgiveness …  and, according to a church mystic (whose name currently escapes me as I heard this a long time ago), will go to a place worse than hell.

    Now hell is a bad place, as we have been taught to avoid all our lives and as witnessed by a vision granted to the children of Fatima – but a worse place than hell? Apparently there is one.

    Christ paid the price for all the sins of the world when he suffered and died on the cross.

    When you look at the crucifix, you will notice His hands and feet are nailed, a crown of thorns on His head and a large tear on the side of His body dripping with blood. Although Christ was whipped and scourged to within an inch of his life before he carried His cross, why do we meditate on these wounds in particular?

    Humanity commits sin using the mind (the crown of thorns), feet and hands (nailed) and the heart (the piercing in the side). When Christ rose again, he showed his hands and his side to his disciples.

    He conquered sin and death.

    Those who SHOULD have protected you, supported and helped you to heal those grievous wounds that have scarred you indelibly and should have taken steps to punish the evil-doers have also sinned:

    The sin of vanity and the sin of omission. 

    Vanity - because there are those who were too bothered about their self-image and their stance in the community and ‘what the neighbours will say’ . It’s an Irish thing and I should know…

    Omission – that those who have been told about these evils did nothing about it or ‘punished’ those who blew the whistle. It also goes for those who knew and did not say a word out of fear or cowardice or both.

    What I have written above may – perhaps – be of no consolation to you. You feel utterly betrayed and what happened to you is the worst evil imaginable.

    However…

    What I will say is that what this blog is trying to do is look at the other side of the coin – has anyone ever asked how the rest of the Roman Catholic Church and her laity feel about these horrid betrayals of trust – which, as we are human beings, traumatised and sickened us justs as badly?

    No.

    Several priests I spoke to were physically and verbally abused in the street just because they wore their clerical collars… and they were totally innocent and just as disgusted with the abuses committed by their confreres! Do they deserve that treatment? No.

    Or the opportunism of some unscrupulous, shameless people who falsely accuse priests and religious of committing similar heinous crimes such as those done to you?  Mud sticks faster on an innocent priest (you must know about the recent RTE Primetime scandal where a priest’s reputation and good name was practically destroyed?).

    The first instance of ‘clerical’ child sex abuse I ever encountered in my neighbourhood was that done by a Methodist minister! Did I call my Methodist friends or their ministers hypocrites?

    No. We helped in the process of healing their pain and trauma.

    Eamonn, if you accept our prayers for your healing and the strength to move on with your life then you will rise above the bitterness and heinousness of what was done to you.

    Of course, we are not asking you to forget – but don’t let the evil that has happened to you eat up what little peace you have in your heart and soul. Reach out and help others who have suffered.

    Almighty God will do the rest…

  • Beekie10

    I want to see the names of the Bishops who throw these good priests under the bus.  They always say “this Bishop or that Bishop” never naming them.  God knows who they are….time for us to know. Our dear innocent priests need our help.  God bless them.

  • Fr.Thomas Poovathinkal

    THE BEST THING FOR THE CHURCH IS TO SETTLE THEM (SEX RELATED PROBLEM CASES) IN THE WORLD WITH WHATEVER HELP IS POSSIBLE.

  • Jonathan West

    JabbaPapa
    You need to realise the psychological manipulations carried out by abusers to ensure the silence of their victims. It can often take 20 or 30 years for somebody to gather the courage to come forward. 

    In order to stop abuse as soon as possible, it is necessary to pass on all allegations to the secular authorities so that they can be followed up by trained independent people. What would you say to the pupil at Downside School, abused by Fr Nicholas White (White was convicted at the start of this year), where his abbot knew that White had already abused another pupil, and took no action other than to bar White from teaching the very youngest boys at the school? That is abuse which should never have happened.

    And yet, earlier in this thread, you said that “it’s time to focus on the criminals instead of on the communities they happen to belong to”, and repeatedly refused opportunities to comment on the case of St Benedict’s School, Ealing, whose child protection policy still does not make an unequivocal commitment to report all allegations to the authorities.

    Where abuse happens in an institutional context, such as within a church or a church school, then it is the responsibility of those who run the institution to ensure that abusers are discovered and stopped as soon as possible. but all too many times, the catholic church has given the welfare of the abusing priest priority over that of the welfare of the abused victim.

    Where abusers abuse in an institutional setting, I think it is entirely right to look at “the communities they happen to belong to” especially if those communities aren’t doing what is needed to detect and prevent the abuse.

  • scary goat

     I agree totally.  Maybe while they are about it they could excommunicate the guilty priests and covering-up bishops till they come clean and make amends as well.

  • scary goat

     Dear Eamonn

    I tried to email you at the above address but it came back failed delivery.  Would like to talk but not on a public board. om_7amid@hotmail.com.  (For Eamonn’s use only please)
    Thanks.

  • scary goat

     Oops, my mistake, copied the address wrong.  Tried again and I think it’s gone this time.  Thanks.

  • scary goat
  • Maureen

    Would need Our Lady of Fatima to seek another ‘great miracle’ from God for that to happen SG.

    I know a parish where there are two ‘ex’ priests’. Both were convicted of abuse, rape and one left a fifteen year old girl pregnant. He is still in prison. Two brothers. Their bishop is giving them both monthly stipends. I wonder what the congregation would do knowing that. And one is using that money to pay a lawyer to get him a shorter time in prison.No priest should be falsely accused and should of course be supported all the way if that happens. These poor men are also victims of the ineptitude of their superiors/bishops. I’ve never seen anywhere that these abusers and those who cover for them and support them be asked to be excommunicated though.  Pathological to its core. Seriously considering ‘ex communicating’ myself. 

  • jeff

    Jonathan West,
    60 percent is a lie.  According to the Jay report, the number is 81 percent.  How dare you twist the truth. 

  • Jonathan West

    Not intentionally. I just mixed up the John Jay report with the Murphy Report, where the ratio of boys to girls is 2.3 boys: 1 girl.

  • Jonathan West

    If they are under 18, legally they are children. I really find it sickening how people try to minimise the problem by defining certain groups of victims as being outside the scope. There are those in the church who have sought to exclude teens by making a distinction between paedophilia and ephebophilia.

    Let’s just call it child sex abuse. Everyone understands what that is.

  • Jonathan West

    It’s noticeable that Michael Novak (and by extension William Oddie) use an anecdote to support the suggestion of widespread injustice towards falsely accused priests.

    But if you want an alternative that is based on real statistics, you should take a look at the following analysis of the John Jay Report.

    http://www.associationofcatholicpriests.ie/2012/03/re-catholic-priests-falsely-accused-the-facts-the-fraud-the-stories-by-dave-pierre/ 

    The conclusion is that only 1.5% of allegations are thought to be false.

  • scary goat

    Good morning.  And goodbye.  This will be my last posting on this site.  I have decided that I want nothing more to do with a newspaper that publishes such a misleading and damaging article as this one.  It is irresponsible and callous as well as unfactual.  My sincere sympathies to any priest who has genuinely been falsely accused, but false allegations are NOT rampant as suggested here.  Even Church authorities recognise a false accusation rate of 2% max. God help us.

  • scary goat

     scary goat has left the building.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6CEZOOGD4PA36BAXT7LRHH3SCU DaveP
  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6CEZOOGD4PA36BAXT7LRHH3SCU DaveP
  • Guest

    In reply to Jonathan West

    Thank you for your sane and precise posts.  The focal point is that we must protect the victims of child abuse. For their sake, we must ensure that robust safeguarding policies are followed in Catholic schools and parishes.  
     
    The shame of the former approah of  ’brush it under the carpet’ and move the abuser on to another parish or school is one that we have to admit and now  do our best to help the victims.  Playing with statistics, splitting hairs about pedophilia or statutory rape, or claiming that the church is the victim of anticatholics is beside the point and compounds our damage to those victims.  
     
    Safeguarding policies that entail suspension while a case is investigated are standard practice in schools and should also be the model in parishes.  If the allegation is proved beyond all doubt to be false, then reinstatement should,and does in schools,  follow.   What we cannot know, but perhaps the bishops do, isthat if there are cases that are not pursued to court because the victim does not want the trauma of being a witness, but where the abuser, on the balance of probabilities,  is not without a case to answer.  Teachers in these circumstances would go on list 99 and not be employed in schools again nor left alone with children.   Perhaps our dioceses have developed a similar clerical equivalent of list 99? 

  • Jonathan West

    I notice that Davie Pierre’s reply to Sean O’Conaill’s criticism makes no mention of the 1.5% figure from the John Jay report.

    I notice also that Dave Pierre’s reply uses anecdotal evidence rather than overall figures (for instance on the issue of “unsubstantiated” vs “false” allegations, and that his definition of “unsubstantiated” is (according to Sean O’Conaill) at odds with that publicly described by the diocese of Boston itself. I’ve looked into it, and O’Conaill seems to have a pretty good point.The overall impression is that Pierre is looking to defend the name of the Catholic church by obfuscation of facts definitions and categories, and by complaining about anti-catholic prejudice at every opportunity.

    Since JabbaPapa didn’t feel able to answer any of my questions, perhaps you would care to have a go.

    1. If you were to learn that your local priest had abused a child (perhaps because the child has told you), would you go to the police, or would you stay silent because reporting is not mandatory?

    2. In the circumstances of widespread abuses having been uncovered at St Benedict’s School Ealing, do you think it acceptable that the school’s child protection policy does not make an unequivocal commitment to report all allegations of abuse to the secular authorities?

  • Jonathan West

    We don’t need a clerical equivalent of List 99 – we can use the real thing! A List 99 check is part of a CRB check with enhanced disclosure, something which should be a routine part of the recruitment process for anybody who works with children.

    But for this to be as effective as possible in a Catholic context, the church needs to make its own contributions to the List 99 database.Whenever a priest is removed from active ministry or a youth worker is removed from position because that person is thought unsuitable to work with children, then a report on the matter should always be sent to the Independent Safeguarding Authority. The ISA can review it and decide whether that person should go on List 99.

    Unless the church makes such reports, an abuser could move from one catholic institution to the next and abuse each time, because each successive CRB check comes up clean. It is Catholic children predominantly who will suffer as a result.

    It’s not hard to start doing this right.

    I’d like to ask something of those of you who have children at school: Have you looked at your school’s child protection policy? Does it make an absolutely unambiguous commitment to contact the Local Authority Desighnated Officer for Child Protection (LADO) whenever any allegation of child abuse is made against a member of staff?

    If you haven’t looked yet, then I strongly recommend that you look soon. And if that commitment isn’t there, get in touch with the headteacher and the chair of governors and make a really big nuisance of yourself until the policy is fixed. If we wait for a top-down solution to the crisis, we may wait for ever, but each one of us can take active steps to make sure that good child protection measures are in effect in our own local school and parish.

    Safeguarding is everybody’s business.

  • For what its worth

     I hear you but the numbers don’t lie.  The stats seem to contradict your statement, and unless you can show otherwise, or prove their lying I’ll have to go with what’s most reliable.

    http://www.associationofcatholicpriests.ie/2012/03/dave-pierre-author-of-catholic-priests-falsely-accused/

    Not trying to argue, it just seems reasonable no? 

  • W Oddie

    Promises, promises….

  • Jonathan West

    Not very seemly.

  • Juan Moment

    Numbers don’t lie – its a comic contribution at this stage of the debate.

      

  • Juan Moment
  • Lipareli724

    My name is Fr. Michael Lipareli. I am a chaplain at the Philadelphia VAMC. I have been suspended for the last two months because an anonymous claim by a girl that demanded my seat on the subway.  I refused. She complained- the police took us off the train,interviewed us aand determined there was no crime, illegal behavior. We departed.  this was Friday.  When I showed up Sunday for my tour, I discovered I was barred from the hospital.  No one, the director,  my supervisor,no one told me why. It tokk me two weeks to find out the accusation-in general.
      I went to the city court office to ascertain the records–No charge or incident recorded. Since the event occurred.  Yet the VAMC refused to allow me to return and my supervisor said he didn’t know why.
     I received the accusation from the Archdiocese .  A month later-while I was told to stay at home- I met with the representitive from the military archdiocese who informed me I was accused of touching her breast.  On the train?? Why did she say nothing to the police? Why ? Nothing happended.  However I was suspended.  How I could I disprove a negative?? NY Archdiocese -where I’m from-also suspended me. Why They got the word from the military. so they figure why not?
     I told the bishop I did not think I surrendered my rights.  Apparently so. I was told to get legal representation/
      I admit this is not as serious as false accusation of child molestation -but the defensive, rejecting attitude of the church-reinforces the documentations you present .

  • Annie

    Alas, here in Australia it is highly unlikely this issue will ever be raised. There is now a full-scale hue and cry against the Catholic Church, prompted by aggressive secularists, who weep crocodile tears for the victims but only for those allegedly assaulted by Catholic clergy. The accusations concerning other religious groups are treated with discretion and respect, for fear of media boycotts or accusations of prejudice. No publicity has ever been given particularly on the national broadcaster to the well known cases in Ireland and elsewhere of priests falsely accused and then by some miracle, finally exonerated. Nor is the possibility of malice, pay-back, etc, which are freely discussed when estranged male partners are accused of sexual assault, ever referred to in the case of alleged clerical abuse. Decent priests and lay people suffer insults and name-calling and so-called jokes every day. The same media which declaims in a judgmental tone about Innocent till Proven Guilty in the case of perceived public outcries against child abuse by entertainers, sports commentators, artists, etc, suddenly drops the idea when it is a Catholic cleric in the spotlight. Perhaps one day, things may change, but until then the witch-hunt goes on..

  • Annie

     I see. So it’s all about the numbers, and if a few wrongly accused priests suffer all their life, too bad, according to you, as long as we get the guilty ones in the dock..seems to go against that fine principle adopted by the anti capital punishment crusaders that it is better that the guilty man go free than that one innocent man loses his life..there is anger in your tone, but sometimes anger blinds us to the true meaning of justice..