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Pope establishing commission to hear appeals of accused priests.

In a brief note this morning, the Vatican announced that Pope Francis has appointed Archbishop Jose Luis Mollaghan of Rosaria, Argentina, to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, where he will have "responsibility for" a commission to examine appeals by clergy accused of “delicta graviora"--a canonical term that includes the crime of sexual abuse. The Vatican statement provided no further details about this new commission.

As Catholic News Service notes, over the past decade, the Holy See has laicized 848 priests for abusing minors or vulnerable adults. Over the same period, another twenty-five hundred priests were ordered not to have contact with minors, and to live out their lives in prayer and penance, usually for reasons of advanced age.

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 As I recall, Christ said we must forgive seventy times seventy times...

Off by a factor of ten.

"When thy brother offendeth thee the four hundred ninety-first time, bop him one good and hard." (Anonymous commentary on Mt 18:22)

Barbara --

Please don't stop commenting about this problem.  Your experience lends authority to what you say, and you say it so very well.

"As I recall, Christ said we must forgive seventy times seventy times..."

He also mentioned something about a millstone.

848+2500=3300 priests disciplined for charges related to minor abuse. There are just over 400000 priests in the world, so this is only a little under 1%. Considering the number of countries that I suspect still cover up sexual abuse by clergy, that's quite a significant fraction.

Bruce, there is something inelegant about forgiving the harm done to others, and something is off about asking the people who have been harmed to forgive their abuser.

 

 

Thanks Ann. It's just that these threads could almost write themselves at this point. 

especially as long as the church remains in denial mode

 

IMHO, that era is long past.

Denial mode is long past - what are you smoking?  Have you read anything lately from the archdiocese of Minneapolis-St. Paul?  How about Milwaukee?  How about Gallup, New Mexico?  How about archdiocese of St. Louis?

Any of those mentioned involve multiple abuse cases with bishops stonewalling; denying, having to give depositions (listen to Neinstedt's - dotCommonweal and Grant Gallicho published the link - almost scary in his denial, ignorance (or what he tried to claim), etc.?

Would suggest that you share the same disease of denial.

Bruce, there is something inelegant about forgiving the harm done to others, and something is off about asking the people who have been harmed to forgive their abuser.

 

Claire, A world without forgiveness is a world focused on grudges and getting even.  Even justice without mercy, just produces an eye for an eye.  I agree it may seem inelegant and even off, but it seems like a crucial step in healing.  Asking forgiveness is one of the 12 steps in AA.  

Bruce: you don't make the world a better place by looking at someone who has hurt another person, "forgiving" them for harm that has not affected you, and then turning to the victim and chastising them for not being as noble and forgiving as you are yourself. It's not about justice versus mercy: it's about for whom forgiveness is fitting. It's not fitting for the bystander.

Agree with Claire. It's not our place to forgive priests who abused, it's up to their victims if they want to or not, I think.

I gather from the above that mandated reporters are actually a small group in American society and have the greatest trouble complying with the demands of that role.

Bishops are not mandated reporters it seems.

Perhaps SNAP wants a universal law that would make it legally obligatory for EVERYONE to report suspicions of child abuse.

As it is, the police receive 2,000,000 reports of suspected child abuse every year. Only 20% or so are substantiated.

Could it be that in the present climate the proportion of such reports where priests are involved might be higher than average, and the proportion of substantiated ones lower?

When such reports are made to a bishop, the priest is likely to be stepped down from ministry. We even saw Abp Nienstedt step down because of a pretty flimsy allegation.

What process is there to ensure that the reinstated priest can recover his good name and the truth of the people?

Bill de Haas recites various cases of child abuse, which are of course always horrifying and distressing. But I would remind him that two wrongs do not make a right.

Sorry, JOL - mandated reporters are actually a signficant group in the US by both federal and state laws.

Examples - almost every state requires teachers to be mandated reporters; same goes for police, fire, sheriff departments.  Add in state agencies that are responsible for child protective services, elderly services, hospital workers, and almost any medical professional.

Do you just make things up to fit your pre-ordained narrative?  Do you even know what a mandated reporter is and why?

So, you would reject or severly limit mandated reporting because, in your mind, it has to result in a guilty verdit or the mandated reporter is acting falsely?   You don't even understand the concept or reason for mandated reporting.

Again, based upon all of the documentation in Ireland, Australia, Canada, and the US, less than 3% of all priests accused of abuse are cleared.....and some of this is because witnesses will not come forward; decline to be involved in a court or civil court case; priest has died and evidence to support one accuser is not available,  etc.

Two wrongs don't make a right......so, we take the possible 3% and that cancels out the 97% - you have a strange concept of justice and child safety. 

You make it out to be a world in which there are nothing but *witch hunts* for poor priests - they are such victims.  Fact - if a diocese has a fully functioning abuse panel, priests who are falsely accused can be investigated and returned to service quickly.....why doesn't this happen?  Because bishops and diocesan panels don't function correctly; don't have the necessary skills; bishop is too busy playing CYA, etc.

Oh yeah, Nienstedt had a false allegation - yep, but no false allegation about his cover ups, his denials, his obfuscations, his use of mental reservations, etc.  Sad that this one individual made this allegation because it temporarily side-tracked the actual issue with this archbishop - cover-ups, lies, and denials.

 

JOL - mandated reporters per state and federal law are actually a significant group - your statement reveals your ignorance.

Examples - almost every state mandates that teachers are mandated reporters; same with state workers governing child/elder care; hospital workers, all police/fire; and all professionals that provide some type of medical care.

In some states, bishops are mandated reporters.  Reality - mandated reporting is a process (not a final judgment).  You seem to assume that when a mandated report is made and it is found to be false that this shows the futility of mandated reporting.  Sorry, you don't get it - mandated reporting is there because a trained professional has enough evidence to lodge a suspicion on good grounds - that doesn't mean that the following investigation won't arrive at a cleared verdict....in fact, this is evidence that they system may be working well.  You appear to equate or expect mandated reporting to be done only if the reporter can prove his/her suspiciions 100% of the time...which means you don't understand how abusers work, act, abuse, hide, coerce, threaten, etc.  You really do live in your own made up world.

We have studies, court records (LA archdiocese for example) from Ireland, Australia, Canada, US and less than 3% of accusations against priest abusers are determined to be false...and even in those cases, often too much time has passed; the abuser has died; only one witness comes forward, etc.

You make it sound like there is a constant *witch hunt* going on against the poor priests - such victims.

Suggest that effective, skilled, trained, and experienced dioceses, bishops, and safety panels deal with false accusations quickly and that a priest is returned to duty without much impact on his good name.  In reality, bishops play CYA; dioceses lack the skills, experience, and knowledge to do good investigations; implement protocols, and manage the process.

Two wrongs don't make a right - you have a strange system in which a possible 3% would cancel out the other 97% - talk about clericalism. 

Heavy sarcasm gets in the way of any accurate representation of what I said or any clear communication of the information you wish to impart.

I get it that bishops are mandated reporters in some States, not in all.  How many States exactly? 

I note that 97% are "not cleared" -- which suggests that the accused are left in limbo. What percent are actually convicted of criminal wrongdoing? 

The case against Abp Nienstedt is far less clear than you imagine. There is no criminal action against him, and none seems possible, despite SNAP's ardent wishes.

http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news2010/03_04/clergymandated.pdf

 Approx. 18 States and Puerto Rico make everyone mandated reporters. Approx. 26 states list clergy as mandated reporters. 

 

A bishop faces a possible 5 years in prison for not reporting the sexual assault of one teenager by another. Note that sexual assault does not necessarily means "rape and sodomy" as Jim Jenkins seems to think. The bishop if given no pastoral leeway to suggest to the victim and her parents that dragging the young people through courts is not necessarily the best path to follow. http://www.deseretnews.com/article/705389636/Mormon-bishop-charged-with-...

Of course there is also the possibility that the girl did not clearly identify what happened to her as a case of sexual assault. And if a boy grabs a girl at a disco, it can sometimes be interpreted either as romantic passion or as sexual assault. Life is untidier than the lawbooks and the screeching ideologies.

I see Bp Finn's defense team argued that he was not a mandated reporter. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l8DNae3EFdw

SNAP obsess a lot about Bp Robert Finn, Shawn Ratigan, Curtis Wehmeyer, and Jonathan Shelley, but were curiously "understanding" of their own Steve Taylor who downloaded child porn. 

"SNAP's support for Steve Taylor, a psychiatrist convicted on child pornography charges, has been criticized. There was inappropriate material about children on Taylor’s computer, how it got there is uncertain and Taylor drew attention to it himself wanting it removed. The state medical board concluded "no one, including (the Atlanta psychiatrist) testified that Dr. Taylor was a pedophile." Suspicions exist that the material may have been planted. Louisiana examiners knew Taylor had suffered two brain trauma, was sometimes confused and could have poor judgement, they ruled, "We do not believe that the evidence preponderates to the effect that Dr. Taylor intentionally downloaded child pornography, and we so find". Many people fear there was amiscarriage of justice in this case."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Survivors_Network_of_those_Abused_by_Priests

I wonder if a priest in Taylor's position tried to make the same defense would SNAP react with scorn?

Taylor may be the victim of a miscarriage of justice, but SNAP itself has created the climate in which such miscarriages can easily occur.

Heavy sarcasm - no, JOL, facts in the face of your scrambling to find info via Wikipedia (not exactly a reputable source).  What you provided evidence for was your total ignorance about mandated reporting and now you are back-tracking and throwing everything but the kitchen sink into the discussion to cover your errors.  Pathetic.;

Nienstedt - actually, whether criminal charges are brought or not depends upon the local district attorney.  And, given the politics, this doesn't mean that he is or isn't guilty of criminal behavior.  It just means that the district attorney's office weighs everything and may not decide to pursue a case that may or may not find him guilty.  Just because a district attorney decides not to file charges, doesn't mean that Nienstedt is guiltless.

Geez, JOL - you can't even get the facts straight on the Finn case:

Here is what Finn himself said in writing to the judge and what the judgment was (his lawyers' argument failed)

Those facts included an acknowledgement from Finn that he is a mandated child abuse reporter under Missouri law. The stipulation also contained a long recitation of the now-familiar facts of the case with several new insights.
Those included:
• A June 2010 conversation between Finn and Ratigan, in which the bishop told his priest that “we have to take this seriously,” after a Northland Catholic school principal complained to the chancery that the priest was behaving inappropriately around school children.
• A chancery computer manager’s determination in December 2010 that only four or five of the hundreds of lewd photos found on Ratigan’s laptop had been downloaded from the Internet. The rest appeared to have been taken with a personal camera.
• Ratigan’s denial, while hospitalized for a suicide attempt, that he had sexual contact with children or had any images of children involved in sexual acts on his computer.
• A statement from a Pennsylvania psychiatrist, who found that Ratigan was not a risk to children, which appeared to support the priest’s contention that he was the victim of mistreatment by a school official who complained about his conduct around children.
• A note that Ratigan’s “treatment” with the Pennsylvania therapist in early 2011 consisted entirely of telephone conferences.
• A letter from Ratigan to the bishop in February 2011 in which the priest admitted having a pornography problem. “I am going to give you a brief summary of how I got to where I am with my addiction to pornography,” Ratigan wrote.
• Finn’s acknowledgement in a March 2011 email that Ratigan had issues around children. “I am quite concerned about him attending” a sixth-grade girl’s party, Finn wrote. “I think this is clearly an area of vulnerability for” Ratigan.
• Finn’s statement at a meeting with other priests after Ratigan’s arrest that he had “wanted to save … Ratigan’s priesthood” and had been told that Ratigan’s problem was only pornography.
The stipulation also explained Murphy’s decision to call authorities in May 2011. Murphy complained that he was not receiving direction from the diocese’s lawyers and had misgivings about the diagnosis of “loneliness” from the Pennsylvania psychiatrist. Murphy said he had become “horrified” of the prospect that the photographs were not merely downloads from the Internet but were images of children that Ratigan had abused.
“I thought this is just moving along with no direction, and I thought I have got to do something,” the documents quotes Murphy as saying.

The Taylor case is sad - but, please note the evidence in this case.....examples:  two brain traumas, etc.  SNAP was criticized (Blaine wrote a letter to the state of LA medical board that she had to apologize for) but they didn't file a lawsuit to undue the Taylor judgment.  Blaine, like some bishops, made an error - she got caught and she apologized.  Blaine is not SNAP and she had to explain and apologize to the many SNAP chapters throughout the US.  How many bishops have acted in the same manner as Blaine?  

SNAP  did seek to find all evidence and arrive at a fair and balanced judgment.  And, yes, that is what they try to do in protecting children.  If a priest suffered from brain traumas or was found to be mentally incapacitated, SNAP only wants to remove that priest from duty, contact with children, make sure that the bishop notifies folks, etc.  In reality, bishops and their lawyers fight against most of those steps. (even if their own priest might be mentally sick because it isn't about the priest - it is about the bishop and the institution)

 

I find it really hysterically funny [meaning sad] that our priest abuse/perpetrator deniers on this blog have attributed all this robust power and strategic planning and cunning to SNAP members to manipulate the public debate and reaction to the sexual abuse and exploitation.  

Only if that were the case!  Perhaps things would have changed in the Catholic Church long ago.  The fact is that most survivors have struggled their whole lives to come to grips with their assaults.

Obviously, none of you deniers have ever been to a SNAP meeting or gathering and actually met and talked to survivors.  These people are not ferocious in any sense.  The vast majority of them are at some stage of emotional and psychological recovery in their lives.

Think more Henri Nouwen's The Wounded Healers.

 

Re: Mandated reporting

Bill is totally correct. It is a process, not an accusation. It is based on the concept that we are our brother and sisters keepers. When Hillary Clnton made her comment that it takes a village to raise a child, she was 100% correct. It does take a village and family is an important, formative building block for society and we should be doing everything to support it.

With respect to Barbera's point, I paricipated in many Violence against women committees and worked with directors from women's shelters and am familiar with what is being described. But I have also seen the neglect side. Children sitting on stoops eating ice cream, parents and care givers nowhere to be seen, empty syringes improperly strewn about. Kids wandering streets and hanging out in ATM booths to stay warm because it is safer there than at home. You bet I called the police and not because they were engaged in crime but to help. Again, I am a believer in community policing for this very reason. At the same time, I also know that kids want their mother and mothers want to be "good" mothers so education, care, and support is important messages to send. Child protection services and the police are not the enemy. But generally these issues are more around neglect and abandonment than sexual assault. So, yes real world complexity but I don't see how this is an arguement against mandatory reporting. If anything, it supports it even more. Again, it takes a village to raise a child. This is more than rhetoric, it is a lived reality of our shared community life.

Jim's example is spot on around the real world complexities of "proving" sexual assault allegations. Tons and tons of risk factors, clear knowledge of misconduct, completely compelling evidence to warrant, in the secular world, dismissal from his position; why is the church world so different?.

Jesus was very, very clear about child endangerment. Better  millstone tied around his neck.

PS. Doctors first duty is to their patient within clear, ethically defined and legal limits. Confidentiality is not absolute. Professional standards around duty to report are part of almost every single professional college that I am aware of (eg. nurses, social work, medicing, psych associations). Again, I have not encountered anybody having real difficulty navigating these standards. They have been in existence for quite some time. 

Mandated reporting is the "easy" count.  It's obvious whether a report was made or not.  And it's often obvious whether the reporter had sufficient information to make a report.  Mandatory reporting is what I would call the minimum the law requires.  And obviously, if you are being prosecuted, whether you were a mandatory reporter and whether you had the information you needed to trigger that responsibility are the issues that you would be debating, if you can, to defend yourself.

That single issue is front and center for Finn because it is a law enforcement issue, and because it appears that he did not report in situations where a mandatory reporter should have.  But you can report even if you don't need to.  Many people do.  The law does not prohibit reporting that is not mandated.  So in some sense, those defending Finn are basically saying, "we don't do anything more than what we are required to do."  It's not an appealing position.  Defending your actions on the basis that you were not required to report will keep you out of jail, but it clearly is not calculated to inspire confidence among parents who might be sending their children to Catholic schools or CCD (or whatever they call it these days). 

Mandatory reporting obligation or not, people who report suspected child abuse are immune from prosecution under state law.

If its not our place to forgive, then its not our place to condemn either.  Mercy requires that they be tied together.  

Bruce

Admonishing sinners and instructng the ignornant are corporal works of mercy.

Your AA example is interesting. Let's say, for the sake of argument, that the addiction that caused this problem (e.g. cover-ups by bishops, officials in the Vatican, etc) was an "addiction" to clericalism. Now. let's see what that would like. 

 

 

  • We admitted we were powerless over clericalism—that our lives had become unmanageable.
  •  
  • Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  •  
  • Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  •  
  • Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  •  
  • Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  •  
  • Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  •  
  • Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  •  
  • Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  •  
  • Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  •  
  • Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
  •  
  • Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
  •  
  • Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

The closest I have seen any prelate doing that is Pope John Paul II and the document Memory and Reconciliation in 2000, Cardinal Ratzinger's stations of the cross prayer, and the USCCB in 2002 had a national prayer and penance for atonement. Promising steps, laudable, and needs to continue. Many in our church our sick. There are a great many sick people and this sickness is reinforced, supported, perpetuated, and enabled by Rome.

Bill de Haas, where is the factual error in my remarks about Finn? 

"The Taylor case is sad - but, please note the evidence in this case.....examples:  two brain traumas, etc."

You could make the same sort of argument in extenuation of Ratigan. Someone here said, if Ratigan filmed your daughter, you'd sure as Hades want to see him rot in jail for 50 years. Just that is the mentality I am querying here.

"SNAP was criticized (Blaine wrote a letter to the state of LA medical board that she had to apologize for) but they didn't file a lawsuit to undue the Taylor judgment."

Did Finn file a lawsuit to undo the Ratigan judgment? Or a plea to reduce the disproportionate sentence?

" Blaine, like some bishops, made an error - she got caught and she apologized."

Yet SNAP want to see Finn and several other bishops in jail. And SNAP do not think Blaine did anything really wrong (nor do I). They use the typical language of "mistakes were made!.

"Blaine is not SNAP and she had to explain and apologize to the many SNAP chapters throughout the US.  How many bishops have acted in the same manner as Blaine?"

SNAP probably made her apologize because she allowed a crack to appear in their stalinist conformism. And bishops have been apologizing ad nauseam. Did Blaine meet Taylor's victims?

"SNAP  did seek to find all evidence and arrive at a fair and balanced judgment.  And, yes, that is what they try to do in protecting children.  If a priest suffered from brain traumas or was found to be mentally incapacitated, SNAP only wants to remove that priest from duty, contact with children, make sure that the bishop notifies folks, etc.  In reality, bishops and their lawyers fight against most of those steps. (even if their own priest might be mentally sick because it isn't about the priest - it is about the bishop and the institution)"

A huge number of priests have been removed from the ministry, many of them prematurely, and a further number have been removed from contact with children. SNAP had the greatest difficulty handling correctly one case in their own ranks, yet they are always ready to pounce on bishops who have any trouble with the number cases they have had to deal with. They should show more understanding.

 

Geez, JOL - making assumptions; making up rationalizations; making up motivations.  You paint a SNAP conspiracy around Taylor - sorry, no evidence of this beyond your fertile imagination.  Documentation, please?   In fact, SNAP leaders pushed Blaine to make the apology - to counter your *made up* sentence that is factually incorrect that starts - "And SNAP do not think Blaine did anything really wrong (nor do I). They use the typical language of "mistakes were made!"

Brief comparison between Taylor and Ratigan:

Taylor - documented evidence that he suffered two major brain traumas in his late 60s and internet pornorgraphy was found on his computer at the age of 70.  At no time did Taylor ever take photos of children, his patients, those he worked with. 

Ratigan - psychiatric report (via bishop) that Ratigan suffered from stress (no evidence of brain traumas).  Ratigan's behaviors started in his 30's and his criminal offenses document behaviors in his early 40s.  Ratigan was a priest that adds to the overall picture.  Ratigan lied and denied; broke his probation.  Ratigan not only did what Taylor did but went much further - taking pictures of children and even infants in the homes of his friends and his own family;  manipulating the diapers and clothes of infants and young children so that he could take his photos, etc.

There is no comparison.  You also ignore the reality that there are two issues in the Finn-Ratigan cases.....SNAP is outraged not only with Ratigan but with Finn's cover-up.  There was no cover-up in the Taylor case.  Thus, SNAP may consider Ratigan having a mental illness but would still advocate for his separation and incarceration based upon his illness, Finn's disregard and inability to monitor Ratigan; and the deviousness of the diocese in trying to hide and cover-up.

You state - "A huge number of priests have been removed from the ministry, many of them prematurely, and a further number have been removed from contact with children."   Really, documentation for this *huge number*    Again, only in your imagination and to allege that they were *prematurely removed* is really a stretch....greatest episcopal denial is that they almost never rermove them in a timely manner - only when caught and when the media broadcosts it.  In fact, they didn't remove them prematurely, they moved them so they could abuse again.

Cited actual documented evidence in the vast LA archdiocesan court case covering more than 80 priest abusers and with less than 3% of allegations found to be unsubstantiated (not definitively proven false; just not enough evidence to decide in some cases).  Your response - to make up another conspiracy theory.  http://www.awrsipe.com/Doyle/2008/2008-07-myth_of_false_claims_revised.htm

Key finding: 

"There is documentary evidence available of about 20 cases of false and mistaken claims from the same time period.  There is evidence of three false claims out of 800-850 claims from California."

 

You repeat your meme about SNAP having a hard time on the Taylor case - documentation shows that your statement is false (oh - you say *probably* - guessing again?) .  You then use that ONE case to somehow inflate the reality and say that the hundreds of bishops around the world have the same predicament but SNAP pounces on them.  ("they should show more understanding")  Your passionate but both wrong and misguided statements are unbelievable.  Even if SNAP had trouble with ONE CASE, there is no comparison to hundreds of bishops and dioceses that allowed continued sexual abuse across thousands of cases for years.  (sorry, you appear to become unhinged on this subject and your statements make little sense beyond some type of ill-informed and historically inaccurate rantings).  Oh, and SNAP apologized but, you say, bishops have apologized ad naseum......and your point?  Bishops apologize and it is meaningless based upon facts, documentation, lack of reforms, repeating the same mistakes, continued cover-ups, etc.  Again, trying to equate the two situations is a bridge too far.

Let's see your other *wild* statements:  *did Finn file a lawsuit to undue the Ratigan judgment*  Depends upon when you start your timeline....Finn and diocesan lawyers tried every trick in the books to undue the court case against Ratigan.  Did they finally contest the judgment - yes, in some ways; no, in other ways but you are ignoring that two county district attorneys made deals with Finn after negotiations; Finn's probation and public statement; and mandated monthly meetings with the district attorney (guessing that Finn had his own problems to deal with so, like some bishops, Ratigan was on his own....sound familiar). 

What's wrong with SNAP wanting some bishops in jail - until that happens, would suggest that the hierarchy, Rome, and the church will not make the reforms and changes that are necessary nor take this issue seriously.  Fact - many folks found guilty of some of the same crimes as Finn spend time in jail - why is Finn different?  Because he is in jail - you have a funny sense of justice?

JOL - you have copied/pasted some of my earlier comments and added your own what?  Conspiracy theories; rants based upon nothing but imagined facts?  You really make no sense and you skip over some of the key facts that I included and cited in my earlier comments to correct your factual errors and continued meme.

You stated:  I see Bp Finn's defense team argued that he was not a mandated reporter. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l8DNae3EFdw

Would suggest that you appear to support this contention - I linked to the actual document in which Finn stated plainly and clearly that he is a mandated reporter under Missouri law.

So, you going to try to weasel out of that?

All this blustering and hectoring leaves it still unclear of what actual factual inaccuracy you are trying to accuse me.

Now you are playing the game of differentiating degrees of gravity and culpability in child abuse, which  SNAP advocates, including Doyle and DIsco, pounced on me in the most bullying manner for attempting to do. Indeed you are close to the Association of Irish Priests who tried to differentiate between child rapists and people who committed a fleeting mistake, perhaps under the influence of alcohol, depression or some other mitigating factor. If you are going to be so understanding of SNAP's difficulties with the one case they have been forced to handle, why not extend some sympathy as well to harried bishops who have to handled numerous cases? (BTW, did SNAP take the initiative in denouncing Taylor to the cops?)

On the Ratigan case, I would ask how the victims of his intrustive photographs and touchings will be helped by knowing throughout their lives that a man is rotting in jail for having photographed or touched them as kids. SNAP expects them to experience quiet satisfaction, but they might find that the thought is a pall over their lives. Ratigan should have received a one-year sentence (as Purgatrix Ineptiae argues on NCRonline). The extreme ferocity of his sentencing retrospectively wins sympathy for Finn's reluctance to throw him to the wolves.

JOL - you are moving the *goalposts* again - now you are on or back to the 50 year sentence. 

Why don't you try to reply to actual points - btw, have never said a word about the 50 year sentence.

What you appear to not understand is:

- bishops/church have no understanding or ways to monitor folks such as Ratigan

- thus, they are shunted off to the criminal jail system

- what you appear to discount is actual experience of abusers such as Ratigan....you assume that he just limits his abuse to pornorgraphy....but, evidence, psychological studies and experience, tells us that folks such as Ratigan will not be able to control their impulses and that their behaviors will morph and change.....it is very possible that his next victims will be more than just photo opportunities.

Finally, your dismissal of victimis (you say:   "how the victims of his intrustive photographs and touchings will be helped by knowing throughout their lives that a man is rotting in jail for having photographed or touched them as kids.")

Don't know where to begin on this frankly insulting statement other than it reveals someone who has never, ever spent time with a victim.  You than add insult to injury by again saying that *SNAP expects them to experience quiet satisfaction*....really?   You do not understand the process of healing for victims; you downplay the impact of Ratigan's violation; you dismiss or ignore that not only were the actual photographed children victims but so were their parents and family (including some of Ratigan's own family members).  You characterize SNAP but you don't know what you are talking about (it is merely another attempt to judge, put down, and minimize).

One year sentence - really?    Why don't you peruse your favorite - Wikipedia - and compare Ratigan's sentence to the hundreds of other sentences given to just us regular folks.  Sounds like your *clericalism* is back or is this a form of projection on your part - are you afraid of something in the future?

And, the cheap, *rot in jail* - in fact, Ratigan will be able to make choices in jail - whether he rots or not depends upon his decisions.  Geez, he might actually have the time to re-dedicate his life to meaning and experience conversion.

"bishops/church have no understanding or ways to monitor folks such as Ratigan

- thus, they are shunted off to the criminal jail system"

??? They comitted a crime so it should be handled by the criminal justice system. Isn't the complaint against his bishop that he tried to protect him from that system?

"- what you appear to discount is actual experience of abusers such as Ratigan....you assume that he just limits his abuse to pornorgraphy...."

 

His abuse was rather molestation of little girls by taking lewd pics of them and in one of two cases touching them indecently. The court called him a producer of pornography, which helped get the high sentence, but I am not aware that he distributed the pics.

"but, evidence, psychological studies and experience, tells us that folks such as Ratigan will not be able to control their impulses and that their behaviors will morph and change.....it is very possible that his next victims will be more than just photo opportunities."

As I frequently argued, the law should punish actual, not potential crimes. In any case, since the reached an advanced age without the morphing occur, the likelihood, much less the inevitability, of its occurring is unsubstantiated. It is well known that pedophiles usually stop at touching and very rarely "graduate" to penetrative sex.

 

"Finally, your dismissal of victimis (you say:   "how the victims of his intrustive photographs and touchings will be helped by knowing throughout their lives that a man is rotting in jail for having photographed or touched them as kids.")"

Au contraire, I put myself in those victims' place and imagine how they process the information that "honey, there was a creep who photographed you as a little girl and we got him locked away for 50 years, aren't you pleased?"

"Don't know where to begin on this frankly insulting statement other than it reveals someone who has never, ever spent time with a victim.  You than add insult to injury by again saying that *SNAP expects them to experience quiet satisfaction*....really?   You do not understand the process of healing for victims"

Please explain how the healing of the little girl is helped by knowing that her aggressor is jailed for 50 years? 

"; you downplay the impact of Ratigan's violation; you dismiss or ignore that not only were the actual photographed children victims but so were their parents and family (including some of Ratigan's own family members)."

Not at all, though I did not know about his family members. I would also ask what healing the parents receive from knowing the man is locked away for 50 years.

"You characterize SNAP but you don't know what you are talking about (it is merely another attempt to judge, put down, and minimize).

"One year sentence - really?    Why don't you peruse your favorite - Wikipedia - and compare Ratigan's sentence to the hundreds of other sentences given to just us regular folks.  Sounds like your *clericalism* is back or is this a form of projection on your part - are you afraid of something in the future?"

Why not do some research yourself into how murder sentences, for example, compare with Ratigan's?

"And, the cheap, *rot in jail* - in fact, Ratigan will be able to make choices in jail - whether he rots or not depends upon his decisions."

And on whether or not he is murdered in jail like Fr Geoghan.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Geoghan

Where to begin:  (first - work with both victims and abusers in the MH field - you appear to only do this via Wiki or vicarioulsy - how reassuring)

http://meganslaw.ca.gov/facts.htm

JOL Myths:

- Child sexual abusers are only attracted to children and are not capable of appropriate sexual relationships.

False. While there is a small subset of child sexual abusers who are exclusively attracted to children, the majority of the individuals who sexually abuse children are (or have previously been) attracted to adults.

- Victims of sexual assault are harmed only when offenders use force.

False. More than any physical injuries the victim sustains, the violation of trust that accompanies most sexual assaults has been shown to dramatically increase the level of trauma the victim suffers. Emotional and psychological injuries cause harm that can last much longer than physical wounds.

- If someone sexually assaults an adult, he will not target children as victims, and if someone sexually assaults a child, he will not target adults.

False. Research and anecdotal evidence indicate that while some sex offenders choose only one type of victim (e.g., prepubescent girls, post-pubescent boys, adult women, etc.), others prey on different types of victims. Therefore, no assumptions should be made about an offender's victim preference and precautions should be taken regardless of his crime of conviction.

- Offenders could stop their sexually violent behavior on their own if they wanted to.

False. Wanting to change is usually not enough to be able to change the patterns that lead to sexual offenses. To create the motivation to change, some offenders need a variety of treatment and corrective interventions, and for others learning how to make the change in their own behavioral cycle of abuse is more effective.

A couple of important points:

....you compare Ratigan's sentence to those of murders.....hopefully, responsible legal, state, and police are looking at each perpetrator based upon their crimes, experiences and knowledge of both the crimes and perps who commit these.  For example, your choice limps badly for the very rreason that our civil society has learned and developed enough understanding about murderers to actually encode various criminal categories - first, second, third;  manslaughter, etc.  These are based upon motivations, intent, psych results, etc.   Sexual abuse in the civil courts is still being developed - but, what experience has taught us is that an abuser (with the type of personality and pattern as Ratigan) will need to be monitored for a signifcant part of his life (sorry, your appeal to old aga doesn't hold up....facts, please, JOL)

My comment about *bishops can't monitor* is that folks such as Ratigan can only be handled by the criminal justice system - which is unfortunate.  If the church/bishops had viable alternatives, the we see the courts adjust sentences (for example, St. John's Abbey in Collegeville - sentenced abusive monks have often served shorter sentences and then been confined to the abbey based upon their ability to monitor successfully)

You suggest that courts should only consider the actual crime....sorry, that is not how society interprets nor expects judges/courts to act.  The reason for the sentence is both to address the actual crime but also to provide for public safety........your approach is either naive or you don't understand the legal system.  Agree that Ratigan probably received a harsh sentence (but as I stated earlier) you have to link that to Finn - Finn is now a felon himself and Ratigan is linked to Finn (whether fairly or not, that is the reality - since you are big on actual reality)

Also, the whole category of pornorgraphy, criminal court system, sentences, etc. is still being developed and even understood. 

Your link to Geoghan - yep, happened years ago and you clearly don't realize that subsequent to that, the criminal jail system has learned how and what to do for clerical abusers in jails.  (trying to grasp at straws again based upon your incomplete Wiki search)

JOL - you say: 

"Please explain how the healing of the little girl is helped by knowing that her aggressor is jailed for 50 years?" and " I would also ask what healing the parents receive from knowing the man is locked away for 50 years."

First - you mention that you did not that some of Ratigan's victims were his own nieces (if that is true, then you really don't know what you are talking about; you are just shooting off your mouth when you haven't even studied the actual Ratigan case - and you just revealed the weakness and ridiculousness of most of your comments.  It is very difficult to take any one seriously when they don't even take the time to study and know about the actual abuser?

Second - what will jailing them for 50 years do?  Here you go - actual facts:

http://www.awrsipe.com/Philly_Grand_Jury/grand_jury_report.pdf

Unlike most abuse cases, the victims and their families (in most cases) know what Ratigan has done by now.  This is rarely the case - it usually takes 20+ years for a victim to come forward - meanwhile, the abuser my be re-abusing all that time.

Ratigan's case doesn't fit this pattern on the front end - it does on the back end.  Given the current pattern of bishops, their lawyers, and the church, clerical abusers are treated differently from the public; are often released quickly and repeat abusive patterns; are excused over and over.  Given this background and history, yes, 50 years will give the families healing and security - if you have never been a victim, then you will not understand this.  (you will carp again that Ratigan should be treated in isolation - separate from this history; etc, etc.  Fact - very few criminals get that luxury)

Finally, to answer your questions - you might want to study up on *religious duress*

http://www.awrsipe.com/Doyle/2008/2008-11-27-Religious_Duress5.pdf

 

Bill de Haas prints five statements in bold print -- none of which I agree with. He nonetheless calls them "JOL myths".  They are statements which he must suppose to be tacitly implied in something I wrote. If so, they simply prove what is obvious all along, that he is so blinded by hectoring indignation as to be incapable of reading with care.

The only point on which he expresses concrete disagreement with anything I actually claimed is in regard to Fr Ratigan. De Haas shared the American belief that massive use of imprisonment as a panacea is what society needs. Fortunately wiser and more enlightened attitudes are also represented among Americans, as in this editorial: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/25/opinion/sunday/end-mass-incarceration-...

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