Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Clerical Sexual Abuse Charges

In the continuing scandal involving the Catholic Church, a recent Philadelphia grand jury reports more horrible acts by priests, covered-up by a diocesan official, as reported by the Washington Post; and there is another story, from the New York Times, about the sexual abuse problems of the Catholic Church in the Netherlands.

This will continue to be one of the major impediments to criminal conversions unless there is a deep understanding that it is not the institutional Church governed by men who have been susceptible to the rule of Satan since the beginning, that one is converted to, but the eternal Church, and here the rule is “With Peter, To Christ, Through Mary.”

An excerpt from the Washington Post story.

“PHILADELPHIA -- Two Roman Catholic priests, a former priest and a Catholic school teacher were charged Thursday with raping young boys, while a former high-ranking church official was accused of transferring problem priests to new parishes without warning anyone of prior sex-abuse complaints.

“The charges stemmed from a two-year grand jury investigation into priest abuse in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, the second such inquiry in the city.

“In the rare, if not unprecedented, move, the grand jury charged Monsignor William Lynn with endangering children in his role as secretary for clergy under former Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua.

“Lynn, 60, had a duty to protect children in the five-county archdiocese and refer priests with known sexual problems for rehabilitation or prosecution, District Attorney Seth Williams said in announcing the charges.

"He instead lied to parishioners and went out of his way to reassign priests without telling pastors or principals . that they were pedophiles," Williams said.

“Lynn's defense lawyer said the two endangerment counts should not apply because Lynn did not have any children under his care. He also questioned the merits of the counts, which carry a maximum 14-year prison term.

"We certainly don't concede for a moment that he knew he was putting children at risk," lawyer Tom Bergstrom told The Associated Press.

“While American dioceses have paid hundreds of millions of dollars to abuse victims to settle civil lawsuits in recent years, criminal charges in clergy sex abuse cases have been rare.

“People who were molested as children often wait for decades before gaining the courage to come forward - usually long after the statute of limitation for criminal charges has run out. A small number of accused clergy have been prosecuted and convicted since 2002, when the clergy sex abuse crisis erupted in the Archdiocese of Boston. However, no bishop or church administrator has been taken to trial over their failures to protect children from accused priests.

“Lynn featured prominently in a scathing 2005 grand jury report that found 63 priests in the Philadelphia archdiocese had been credibly accused of child sexual assault over several decades while local church officials turned a blind eye. Frustrated prosecutors then concluded, though, that they could not file any criminal charges because the statute of limitations on the crimes had expired.

“Pennsylvania has since revised laws to give child sex-assault victims more time to report abuse, while the archdiocese under Cardinal Justin Rigali has pledged to refer credible complaints to law enforcement."