Friday, December 19, 2014
“Credibly accused” means a slap on the wrist for pedophile priests
In Gallup, New Mexico the local catholic diocese made public a list of priests who were “credibly accused” of sexually abusing children between 1951 and 2013. This diocese includes Apache, Navajo and Coconino counties – the sad details of abuse of American Indian children by catholic clergy is well known. The list includes over a dozen other clergy and a layperson, but it does not outline any criminal charges, sanctions or how many children were sexually-abused.
Six of the accused priests are deceased. This release of abuser names follows the usual pattern of the church: crimes made public when it is too late to do anything about it. One Arizona lawyer, Robert Pastor explained what “credibly accused” meant to the church: the accused would be prosecuted by the church, not the civil authorities and this was just a way to justify hiding pedophile priests.
A spokesperson for the church had only sketchy details of any “punishment” – some priests were removed or later left the priesthood. Others were later found to be working in different dioceses. Some offenders were sent for rehabilitation –even though the psychiatrists know that pedophiles are never cured.
Barbara Dorris, outreach coordinator for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) said that this disclosure was a step in the right direction but said: "It feels like they only do the bare minimum and only when forced…They have had years to do outreach, to try to find these persons who have been hurt, to perform with law enforcement to get to the truth in these instances, and yet what they have carried out is extremely tiny." She said that many priests whose names were on the list are still alive "and, we fear, still have access to kids."
EJ Montini, a columnist for azcentral.com writing about the release of names asked how could it have taken so long and whether other dioceses are still covering up. He related the facts about Rev. George Bredemann, a local priest who in 1989 pleaded guilty to three counts of attempted child molestation and, according to prosecutors, acknowledged 15 other child victims.
To show what is wrong with the attitude of the church, after Bredemann's admission the local Bishop O'Brien said, ''I'm saddened that this has happened to a priest in the Diocese in Phoenix.'' Said Montini, “I noted at the time that his excellency the bishop was confused. That nothing had happened to the priest. It had happened to little boys.” Montini says that according to victim advocates there has never been a full accounting. “There might never be such a thing, not in this life, anyway. I'd guess, I'd hope, however, that for pedophile priests there is a special place in hell,” said Montini.
BishopAccountability.org has an extensive list of Publicly Accused Roman Catholic Priests, Nuns, Brothers, Deacons, and Seminarians in the United States – see if your diocese is listed.