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Unhappy with your press? Give the 'out of context' talisman a try. (UPDATED)

See updates--there are four now--here.

Yesterday social media lit up with news accounts claiming Archbishop Robert Carlson of St. Louis had told victims attorney Jeff Anderson that when he was an auxiliary bishop in St. Paul and Minneapolis, he didn't know that it was illegal for an adult to have sexual contact with a child. Here's how one of those stories began:

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson claimed to be uncertain that he knew sexual abuse of a child by a priest constituted a crime when he was auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, according to a deposition released Monday (June 9).

During the deposition taken last month, attorney Jeff Anderson asked Carlson whether he knew it was a crime for an adult to engage in sex with a child.

“I’m not sure whether I knew it was a crime or not,” Carlson replied. “I understand today it’s a crime.”

Today the Archdiocese of St. Louis defended Carlson with a long press release accusing Anderson, and by extension news accounts that cited him, of "strategically" taking Carlson’s testimony "out of context." According to the archdiocese, "in the full transcript of Archbishop Carlson’s deposition, the actual exchange between Archbishop Carlson and Plaintiff’s counsel is quite different from what is being widely reported in the media." The statement continues: "What Plaintiff’s counsel has failed to point out to the media is that Mr. Goldberg himself noted at this point in the deposition 'you’re talking about mandatory reporting?' When the Archbishop said 'I’m not sure whether I knew it was a crime or not,' he was simply referring to the fact that he did not know the year that clergy became mandatory reporters of suspected child abuse (pgs. 108-109)." In other words, Carlson was talking about mandatory-reporting laws, not laws against adults having sex with minors.

This prompted the alternative magisterium at the National Catholic Reporter to quickly publish a story that essentially repeats the archdiocese's press release. The editors even added an update at the top of the Religion News Service piece they published about this--which also parrots the archdiocese's claims. The St. Louis CBS affiliate published a similar article. So did Deacon Greg Kandra at Patheos. And the Winona Daily News.

So how did so many members of the media get this wrong? How could they so badly misread the testimony of Archbishop Carlson, and in the process besmirch his good name? Probably because they can read. Let's have a look at that "full transcript."

The archdiocese says that the "actual exchange" started with Anderson asking Carlson about mandatory-reporting laws. And that's not false. But what follows could not be clearer. Carlson is asked whether throughout his priesthood he knew that it was illegal for an adult to have sex with children, and he said he wasn't sure--but that he understood that now. Roll tape:

Q. Well, mandatory reporting laws went into effect across the nation in 1973, Archbishop.

MR. GOLDBERG: I'm going to object to the form of that question.

MR. ANDERSON: Let me finish the question.

MR. GOLDBERG: Go ahead. I'm sorry.

Q. (By Mr. Anderson) And you knew at all times, while a priest, having been ordained in 1970, it was a crime for an adult to engage in sex with a kid. You knew that, right?

MR. GOLDBERG: I'm going to object to the form of that question now. You're talking about mandatory reporting.

MR. ANDERSON: Okay. I'll -- if you don't like the question, I'll ask another question.

MR. GOLDBERG: Well, you've asked a conjunctive question. One doesn't --

MR. ANDERSON: Objection heard. I'll ask another question. Okay?

MR. GOLDBERG: Go ahead.

So the archbishop's lawyer objected to Anderson's question, Anderson accepted the objection and explained that he would ask a different question, and Golberg acknowledged that Anderson would reformulate. Here's the revised question:

Q. (By Mr. Anderson) Archbishop, you knew it was a crime for an adult to engage in sex with a kid?

A. I'm not sure whether I knew it was a crime or not. I understand today it's a crime.

Is it possible that Carlson still thought that he was being asked about mandatory reporting? Maybe. But then Anderson asks him this:

Q. When did you first discern that it was a crime for an adult to engage in sex with a kid?

A. I don't remember.

And then he asks him this:

Q. When did you first discern that it was a crime for a priest to engage in sex with a kid who he had under his control?

A. I don't remember that either.

Q. Do you have any doubt in your mind that you knew that in the '70s?

A. I don't remember if I did or didn't.

Anderson repeated "crime for an adult [or priest] to have sex with a kid" four times during that exchange, three after Carlson's lawyer initially objected (defense attorneys aren't too keen on compound questions). Yet the archdiocese argues that "when the Archbishop said 'I'm not sure whether I knew it was a crime or not,' he was simply referring to the fact that he did not know the year that clergy became mandatory reporters of suspected child abuse." The full transcript--posted on the archdiocese's own Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis website--makes it clear that Anderson wanted to know whether and when Carlson knew it was a crime for an adult to have sexual contact with a minor. He said he wasn't sure he knew it years ago, but that he did now. That's clear enough to anyone with eyes to see. So what's wrong with the archdiocese's?

Update: Right on cue, Bill Donohue weighs in with predicable accuracy.

Update 2: Donohue's latest flouncery, in which he erroneously claims Commonweal has "indicted" Carlson, proves once again that reading comprehension isn't his strong suit. Pretty much every word of that press release is false.

Update 3: Donohue is back with another press release--titled "Archbishop Carlson Has Been Framed" (for what he doesn't say)--proving once and for all that Carlson did know (in the past) that it's a crime for an adult to have sex with a minor. He lists several places in the transcript that Carlson says he advised (or would have advised) people (well, at least one couple--actually, he has trouble recalling) to go to the police with abuse allegations. Donohue writes: "According to attorney Jeffrey Anderson, as well as Commonweal, and other media outlets, the transcript of the exchange between Anderson and Archbishop Carlson reveals that the archbishop did not know it was a crime for an adult to have sex with a child."

That's not what I wrote. Nor did I claim that he is ignorant of such laws today. Rather, I was responding to the Archdiocese of St. Louis's attempt to reframe the portion of the testimonty in which Carlson was asked repeatedly whether and when he knew that it was illegal for adults to have sex with kids and repeatedly he answers with some varation on "I don't recall." The archdiocese now claims that Carlson was really answering a question about mandatory-reporting laws. But the transcript does not support that theory. That's quite strange. That Carlson says in other places that he advised at least one couple, and maybe some others (he can't remember), to take abuse allegations to the police, and that on one page he acknowledges that, yes, when a priest touches a child's genitals he has committed a crime, makes the testimony I cited all the more bizarre. Why would you say you coudln't recall whether or when you became aware that adults can't legally have sex with kids when you've already testified that it's a crime for a priest to touch a child's genitals? Momentary amnesia?

Obviously the archbishop was struggling to remember many features of his past dealings with this issue. According to Phil Lawler--not exactly known as a liberal critic of the bishops--Carlson "dodged other questions by saying almost 200 times that [he] couldn’t recall the details of various cases" (Donohue must not have seen this, because he has yet to issue a fatwa against Lawler). Indeed, at one point in the deposition Anderson asked Carlson about his inability to remember significant--even dramatic--details surrounding the scandal. Anderson produced part of a 1987 deposition of Bishop Loras Watters of Winona:

(By Mr. Anderson) I direct your attention to Page 55, Archbishop [Carlson], and go to Page 54. And at Line 25, the question [to Bishop Watters] is, "Other than Mr. Blahnik, your attorney, co-counsel, when did you discuss it with Father Adamson?"

Answer [Watters]: "Well, we have been in contact, oh, perhaps every two weeks. The last time was probably ten days ago."

Question [Anderson]: "Okay. I will get back and ask you about that a little later. Have you discussed it with anybody else in preparation for this deposition today, knowing that you were going to be asked questions about it?"

Answer [Watters]: "I guess Bishop Carlson, after I received his deposition. I said, 'Is that as tough as it looks like, you know?'"

Question [Anderson]: "Is it?"

Answer [Watters]: "He said, the best thing you can say is 'I don't remember.'"

Something tells me this exchange isn't one Archbishop Carlson is likely to forget.

Update 4: On Friday, Archbishop Carlson released a statement and a video in which he apologizes for the "concern and frustration" caused by "misconceptions stemming from" the deposition, and tries to "set the record straight." For his entire adult life, he explains, he's known that sexual abuse is a crime. So why did this happen?

Q. When did you first discern that it was a crime for an adult to engage in sex with a kid?

A. I don't remember.

Q. When did you first discern that it was a crime for a priest to engage in sex with a kid who he had under his control?

A. I don't remember that either.

Q. Do you have any doubt in your mind that you knew that in the '70s?

A. I don't remember if I did or didn't.

Q. In 1984, you are a Bishop in the -- a Bishop in the Archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis. You knew it was a crime then, right?

A. I'm not sure if I did or didn't.

Archbishop Carlson explains: "I misunderstood a series of questions that were presented to me."

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Comments

Commenting Guidelines

Grant, Grant - let's not pick on the poor, poor archbishop - he is in ill health and a *victim* here.  To borrow from Mark Twain - "the reports of my death are greatly exaggerated*  - in other words.. *the reports that I was misquoted by the cruel, cruel, unethical media are greatly exaggerated*.  (and I am entitled to my good name especially as I spend millions on legal fees to dodge, delay, attack, and suppress evidence.  Just wait until the Father Joseph Jiang case finally comes out in the open -- http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news2013/07_08/2013_07_18_Levin_SuitPriest.htm or

http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/criminal-charges-dropped-against-st-louis-priest/article_457a2e67-b367-5432-9bf2-dd9295ed7f03.html

 

 

Grant - 

In the deposition, Abp. Carlson *clearly* states that he knew in 1984 that sex with a child was a serious crime.

From pages 98-99 of the deposition, in which Church-suing lawyer Jeff Anderson is *clearly* asking Abp. Carlson about a 1984 memo for which Carlson took notes:

ANDERSON: And you also knew that when first degree criminal sexual conduct is written and recorded, that is the most serious of the sex crimes against a child. You know that?

CARLSON: Correct.

There. Yet the MSM, NCR, and even you make no mention of this exchange at all.

 

I also think it is not unreasonable for a 70-year-old sitting for a four-hour deposition to become confused at some point, which is often a major goal of the questioner.

 

Veteran litigants like Anderson know that during depositions it is easy to hop-and-skip around and between different topics, wear down or confuse the individual being questioned, and then play "gotcha" with the transcript later on. And Anderson knows that the media will jump on it.

 

Yes, some of the exchanges with Carlson are befuddling - to say the least - but I think ascribing the most mean-spirited motives to Carlson when there is certainly some question about the exact subject of the reported exchange is unfair.

 

Thanks.

 

Dave Pierre

 

I didn't ascribe motive of any kind. Nor did I suggest that Carlson does not know it's illegal for an adult to have sex with a minor. 

DPierre - agree with some of your descriptions about Anderson, legal tactics, etc. but disagree when you try to apply this to Carlson's testimony.

Fact - in numerous places in the depostion, Carlson makes statements that clearly indicate that he knows that sexual abuse is criminal. (not just the one you cite)

Fact - mandated reporting - you can be criminally charged if you fail to do this - which Carlson has admitted to. 

Fact - whether the deposition was four or one hour, a simple, direct question about sexual abuse as criminal is cut and dried - you would answer that question or any form of that question the same way - in fact, his lawyer objected and forced Anderson to reword the question.  So, whether that question is asked in the first or the fourth hour - the answer should be simple and straightforrward.

Fact - he had weeks, if not months, to prepare for this deposition.  You make it sound as if he is helpless in the face of hard ball Anderson questioning?  He also has counsel present to support him....you appear to be playing the *victim* card.

Grant has highlighted one series of exchanges - and to be honest, whether it refers to ignoring  mandated reporting or to sexual abuse as criminal, both are criminal behaviors.  Carlson used terms such as *I don't remember* 193 times.  If nothing else, this appears to refute your argument.  Was he so confused for four hours that he had to resort to *I don't remember* 193 times?

One reason I made the statement above was that I expected someone to *use the health or age card* to defend the poor, helpless, in poor health 70 year old archbishop.

Facts - Carlson has sat through any number of depositions (with more on the way).  His pattern in every deposition is the same - *I don't remember*.  Some other damaging items:

- 80 year old convicted clerical abuser in Winona just stated that Carlson and company never asked him if he had other vicitms when he was caught.  (THEY NEVER ASKED)

- some indications that Carlson, in a conversation with Watters of Winona, advised him to just use the phrase - *I don't remember*

- the phrase *I don't remember* is a typical tactic used by bishops and their legal teams.  Tom Doyle has written about this under the title - *mental reservation*

http://www.awrsipe.com/Doyle/2006/2006-11-19-Doyle-Mental_reservation.pdf

 

Concerned Catholics: Here's how you can help, in very specific ways:

Catholics, you may feel powerless but you aren't. You can donate to groups that prevent abuse, not institutions that hide it. You can write letters to lawmakers urging better child safety laws. You can invite child sex abuse victims and their advocates to speak in your churches or to your organizations. You can speak out in public and online because secrecy only helps the bad guys.

You can look at the list of 51 proven, admitted and credibly accused child molesting St. Louis Catholic clerics at BishopAccountability.org. You can ask every current and former Catholic you know about these predators your friends, your family, your neighbors. You can get specific, and ask Did any of these priests, nuns, seminarians or brothers hurt you? If they say yes, you can beg them to call police, prosecutors, therapists or our support group. You can assure them that healing is possible, and sometimes justice and prevention are possible too. You can encourage them to explore any legal options they may have criminal or civil.

You can beg your colleagues fellow parishioners to report what they know or suspect about clergy sex crimes to law enforcement. You can remind them that nothing is too small, old or seemingly minor to report. You can tell them it's their duty to share what they've heard or seen, and it's law enforcements' duty to decide what's worth investigation or prosecuting.

You can plead with your parish staff current and former to tell independent sources about everything they've heard, seen or suspected about possible clergy sexual misdeeds, whether it's clear or unclear.

You cannot, however, give up, not if you want a safer church for kids. For 25 years, we in SNAP haven't given up. And we never will.

You can't just pray or walk away or ignore this crisis or assume others will fix it not if you want a safer church for kids.

And we submit that you cannot contact Catholic officials if you want real reform. Calling and writing to secular authorities, not church figures that's the most effective way to protect kids, expose wrongdoers and deter cover ups. Contacting church officials is, at best, a waste of time. At worst, information shared with them can enable them to better hide abuse and impugn you or your motives.

Whatever you do, please know that silence and inaction are the best friends of those who commit and conceal heinous child sex crimes. Consider the words of therapist Judith Herman:

It is very tempting to take the side of the perpetrator. All the perpetrator asks is that the bystander do nothing. He appeals to the universal desire to see, hear, and speak no evil. The victim, on the contrary, asks the bystander to share the burden of pain. The victim demands action, engagement, and remembering.

Earlier today, Carlson, through his public relations team, issued a statement saying he's a leader in the church on abuse. He's half right. He's a leader in four ways, each of them disturbing.

--He's a leader in recklessness.

We know of no other sitting archbishop who is, right now, letting a twice-arrested predator priest live unsupervised just six minutes away from the parish where he allegedly assaulted a boy and a girl. We're talking about Fr. Joseph Jiang, who is living at Grand and Lafayette with Dominicans.

--He's a leader in alleged evidence tampering.

We know of no other sitting archbishop who reportedly asked a victim's family to give him evidence in a criminal case. We're talking about Fr. Jiang again, who, according to police, prosecutors, civil attorneys and a victims' parents, left a $20,000 check with those parents after they confronted him with his crimes and he admitted them. According to the parents, the police and the prosecutors, Carlson reportedly called the mom and asked for the check, instead of telling her to give it to law enforcement.

--He's a leader in importing predator priests.

We know of no other archdiocese where more proven, admitted and credibly accused child molesting clerics are accepted from other places. We're talking about Catholic facilities here called RECON, the Vianney Renewal Center, St. Joseph's infirmary, and other church centers in Shrewsbury and Webster Groves.

--He's a leader in hardball tactics.

We know of no other sitting archbishop who has successfully gotten a clergy sex abuse case tossed out by claiming his archdiocese isn't responsible for a predator priests' crimes because those crimes were on private property, not church property. We're talking about the Fr. Thomas Cooper case, in which a judge found that:

--a victim has evidence that the archdiocese knew a priest had a history of sexual abuse,

--that church officials knew that leaving (the priest) alone with kids was certain. . .to result in harm to (others),

--that they disregarded that known risk, and, as a result,

--(at least one boy) was sexually abused by (the priest.)

We challenge Archbishop Carlson to dispute these facts, any or all of them.

Still, Archbishop Carlson is a lucky man. He's got people talking about what he says. People should focus instead on what he does. That's even worse. He's playing legal hardball, exploiting legal loopholes, and denying victims their legal right to confront wrongdoers in court.

He's talking like a compassionate shepherd in public while behaving like a cold-hearted CEO in court.

He continues to protect child predators and endanger innocent kids.

This whole avoidable situation fills us with deep sadness.

It's sad that Carlson is again blaming the media instead of admitting his wrongdoing.

It's sad that Carlson claims he can't recall what he's said and done in clergy sex cases. If you tell the truth and do what's right, it's easier to remember.

It's sad that, just like with Congressman Todd Akin, once again St. Louis is in the national spotlight because of hurtful comments by a powerful official about sexual crimes.

It's sad that Carlson claims to worry about re-opening the wounds of clergy sex abuse victims, instead of taking real steps and responsible action to prevent those wounds in the first place and heal them properly, through taking responsibility and exposing cover ups.

But we can't be paralyzed by our sadness. Kids depend on us. Kids need us. So please, please don't give up! Keep fighting against a centuries-old, still-powerful culture and practice of secrecy around clergy sex crimes and cover ups. Keep helping us reach out to those who are suffering in shame, silence and self-blame because of child molesting clerics and employees and their complicit church colleagues and supervisors.

Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, SNAPclohessy@aol.com)
 

Judy Jones: Does SNAP counsel victims not to alert church authorities if they've been abused by a priest? That strikes me as grossly irresponsible advice. 

Does SNAP counsel victims not to alert church authorities if they've been abused by a priest?

It just did.

That strikes me as grossly irresponsible advice. 

Absolutely.

 

 

You wrote, "Fact - in numerous places in the depostion, Carlson makes statements that clearly indicate that he knows that sexual abuse is criminal. (not just the one you cite)"

YES. But the media, NCR, and Grant have not reported this, and that is the point I'm making.

And your point about alleged "mental reservation" goes back to what I said about ascribing the most mean-spirited motives to the man. Have you considered the possibility that Carlson *truly* does not remember exact facts and thinking from *30 years ago*? 

It's easy to sit on a computer and attack a guy, but unless you've actually been in similar shoes to him, I believe claiming the guy is being dishonest is simply unwarranted and unfair.

And Tom Doyle? No, thanks. Personally, I wouldn't trust the guy to give me directions to a gas station:

http://www.themediareport.com/hot-topics/rev-thomas-p-doyle-o-p/

Thanks.

Um, why?

(The above dirceted toward Grant and Jim)

 Here is exactly what Ms. Jones stated:

And we submit that you cannot contact Catholic officials if you want real reform. Calling and writing to secular authorities, not church figures that's the most effective way to protect kids, expose wrongdoers and deter cover ups. Contacting church officials is, at best, a waste of time. At worst, information shared with them can enable them to better hide abuse and impugn you or your motives.

She did not state - do not alert church authorities if abused by a priest.  She did state that is next to worthless, at times.  Would suggest we have a both/and vs. either/or.

You might want to spend time investigating the current cases (now civil) against Jiang with Carlson in the picture.  What is especially of note is the hard ball tactics used by Carlson's legal team; he called and pressured the girl's family to change course and move to the civil courts; etc.  Wonder what they would say about their experience in terms of *notifying the local church"?

"And we submit that you cannot contact Catholic officials if you want real reform. Calling and writing to secular authorities, not church figures that's the most effective way to protect kids, expose wrongdoers and deter cover ups. Contacting church officials is, at best, a waste of time. At worst, information shared with them can enable them to better hide abuse and impugn you or your motives."

Is that so hard to believe?  If I find out there is reason to believe a child may have been harmed by a priest, I'm going straight to the police, not the bishop's office.  Let the police inform the diocese of the allegations. Only if the cops refuse to investigate would I even consider calling the bishop's office.  Prior notice only gives the diocese more time to start covering up tracks and spinning a story. 

That would be my advice to any friend or loved one wondering what to do, too. 

The bishops have made it clear many a time that they consider these priests their "sons."  If a guy down the street molests a kid, are you going to go to the cops first, or the guy's father? 

Abe: I didn't say only. Obviously you call the cops. But not to inform the people who have immediate authority over the accused at all?

Why should victims have to do that, especially given the Church's track record? Victims could hardly be blamed for not taking it for granted that church authorities will be on their side. Look, it's not a question of church authorities not finding out: if law enforcement investigate/charge one of their employees, church authorities are going to be made aware of the situation, and probably in such a way as to be less capable of sweeping things under the rug.

Did I say "have to"? Did I say they should be bursting with ecclesial trust? Let's have a who-gets-the-scandal-better contest, shall we?

I think that you actually would like to have that contest; otherwise, I can't explain why you're being so defensive. 

And actually, you pretty much did say that they had to, without actually nutting up enough to say it directly. You asked a rhetorical question: "But not to inform the people who have immediate authority over the accused at all?" My guess is that you think the take-away from that question is that it is wrong not to inform those people, otherwise you wouln't have clutched your pearls over what Judy said, and you wouldn't have posed the question. Well, I and a few others have given reasons as to why someone might not inform the church. 

Besides,  if the suspect is arrested, I'm pretty sure it's the justice system that has immediate authority over him.

And if he isn't? Do you know how many priests haven't been detained because the cops didn't think they had enough evidence to convict? Lots. It's not obvious that victims never should tell church authorities. For years Jeff Anderson would send victims to the Archdiocese of Chicago because they would pay for therapy--no questions asked. I know you're not very good at debating without dropping a colorful metaphor here and there. And they're entertaining as all get out. But they don't mask ignorance. It's more complicated than Jones or you suggest. 

Abe, there are instances - there have been many - where secular authorities are not able to prosecute clerical sex offenders.  One common reason is because criminal statutes of limitations prevent authorities from pursuing old criminal cases. (Under the Dallas Charter and associated Norms, there is no statute of limitations, so the church's internal legal process is not bound by them).   There also have been instances where civil authorities have investigated accusations and determined that the evidence doesn't meet their threshold for prosecution.

In addition, criminal investigations can be lengthy, and unless civil authorities arrest the accused cleric, those authorities can't prevent him from continuing in whatever ministerial activities bring him into contact with minors, whereas the church authorities can remove the victim immediately from ministry and pull him from the parish (or wherever he is assigned).

There is also the risk that the secular authorities won't get things right.  For example, they may fail to contact the church authorities.  I don't think it's prudent to rely wholly on them.

My view is that SNAP, in recommending that victims not alert church authorities, is not acting in the best interest of victims and survivors.  I don't really see a downside to victims and survivors informing church authorities, and for themselves and for other victims/survivors, the upside can be substantial, if the church follows its own rules.

 

Sorry, I should have made this more clear in my previous comment: my view is that victims/survivors should always contact both the secular authorities and the church authorities to report any and all instances of abuse.

 

Thanks, JP - which is my basic approach also.  But, to be honest, don't expect much in return from church authorities.

Nor do I paint SNAP with one color - Judy Jones, just like Carlson, are only one part of either the church or SNAP.  But, it is always enjoyable to watch Abe and Grant go at it.

You're right, Grant. The full transcript confirms the original  story, which The AP also carried. The transcript shows that Anderson asked the same question several different ways. 

It looks to me as if the archbishop was tired and confused at that point in the deposition, since he had already spent hours answering questions about events long in the past.

The archbishop had opportunities to correct the record. Lawyers don't normally do re-direct examination when their clients are being questioned in a deposition, but as I understand it (I'm not a lawyer), they can. If the archbishop really didn't  mean what he clearly had said, his lawyer could have cleared up the record with a few questions on re-direct.

Or the archbishop could have explained himself better to the news media when reporters started calling about the transcript. The statement that was issued only seems to have confirmed that the archbishop did not know sexual abuse was  a crime in the past: "while not being able to recall his knowledge of the law exactly as it was many decades ago, the Archbishop did make it clear that he knows child sex abuse is a crime today." That is a non-denial denial. Maybe his spokesman could have actually talked to the reporters.

 

We urge anyone who may have knowledge or may have been harmed by anyone within the Archdiocese to contact the police. Sex abuse is a crime, and the church officials are not the proper officials to be investigating child sex crimes.

Of course it is up to the victim if he or she wishes to report to the church officials also.. but many, many  times victims are treated badly by church officials. This is not something just in the past, the sex abuse and cover up within the church hierarchy is still going on today throughout the world.

That is why we work so hard to help expose the truth so that kids are protected today. Nothing has really changed because there is no punishment for the bishops who do not follow their own made up rules.

tks, Judy Jones

 

I should flesh out what is at the basis of my approach, which is that I am extremely wary of placing the onus for dealing with an abuser on the victim. I am willing to agree that a victim, for the sake of potential victims, should report abusers to the police. And, because I know that it is true that law enforcement may drop the ball or be limited in its abilities, I have not said that victims should never report abusers to Church authorities. It's just that there has to be a real failure in the system if it should be necessary for the victim to take on that burden--but, yes, such failures are hardly an impossibility. Jim says he doesn't see a downside to victims reporting abusers to the Church. Well, I would suggest to Jim that he consider the additional emotional distress that may be accrued when such reporting is met by resistance ot worse: new betrayals are only added to old ones. It could be that the downside is further injury to victims, which should be considered when thinking about why or why wouldn't a victim contact the Church.

If someone goes to the police with sex abuse allegations against a priest, the police will certainly then contact that priest and his superiors ... mission accomplished as far as letting the church know.  And I still remember the case of Ireland's Cardinal Beady, who was part of a church effort that made  a victim  swear not to tell his parents or the police he was abused.  I don't think that was a unique situation ... "The child's father was not allowed in the room, and the child was immediately sworn to secrecy"

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-northern-ireland-17894419

Pierre, Bill Donohue has to die some day and you should be ready to fill his shoes.

The lack of transparency that was promised in the Dallas Charter was on clearly on display by Carlson in his pathetic deposition.

The only thing that is worse is the response of his archdiocese and people like you who assure the destruction of the tiny amount of credibility left in the church.

Archbishop Carlson and his performance in this deposition have no resembance to the teachings of Christ, PERIOD.

Pierre, you are embarrassing yourself and are losing the tiny amount of credibility that you have remaining.

The church is about truth, love, protection of children, and taking care of the ones that were harmed.  Not about the protection of the privilege and power of an archbishop.

 

IISTM that there are a lot of questions that might need to be asked before making that first phone call.  Here are some that occur to me.  

Are there any children in immediate danger? If so, I think I should perhaps contact the parents immediately.  

Next:  what does the law require given what I know or just suspect?  If I am I just suspicious and no child is in immediate danger (i.e., today or tomorrow), is anybody else likely to have additional knowledge who could confirm or disconfirm my suspicion?

Given the circumstances, what does the law require?  And how fast does it require me to inform them of what I know or suspect?     

If I just have suspicions and the law doesn't require me to inform the police of, and if I know that my current bishop has been known to cover up cases of abuse in the past, I think I should obviously go straight to the police.  If I know that my bishop made a mistake in the '90s but cooperated with the diocesan review board in handling cases since then, then I might go to the bishop. It all depends.  But depending on how strong my evidence is, I might also go to the police with my suspicions.

But what If I don't know anything about my new bishop?  I say that given the statistics, the shameful odds are that he will cover-up something if I tell him my suspicions or clear evidence, so I should probably go immediately  to the police, and also ask the police whether I should inform the bishop as well.

Sometimes we aren't sure what to do, and prudence gets complicated.  I say if it's necessary to risk making an error, then err on the side of protecting the children.  

 

 

Abe, yes, I agree that it must be emotionally distressing to have to talk with anyone about being abused.  This is why minors who have been abused frequently don't confide in their parents, teachers, cops or other adults who could take action to stop the abuse and report the abuser.  I understand it's also why rape victims frequently don't report rapes to the police.

This is why I find it flabbergasting that SNAP, which puts itself forward as a friend in need for victims and survivors of abuse, seems cavalier, or worse, about being a friend in need in this regard.  A friend of an abuse victim should provide the help, encouragement and emotional support for a victim to do the right thing.  And that certainly includes taking concrete steps to get the abuser away from the victim.  

*Anyone* with knowledge of abuse by a cleric, church employee or volunteer, or who suspects abuse, should report their knowledge or suspicion to both the civil authorities and the church authorities, for the reasons I outlined in my earlier comment.  Some of us have legal mandated-reporter requirements (both civil law and church law) in this regard, but even folks who aren't required by law to report suspicions should do it anyway.

 

I don't want to be too critical of SNAP.  But I don't think it's likely that a victim who contacts a diocesan victim protection office is going to be treated badly.  I would be very surprised if the person on the other end of the phone is mean, rude or dismissive.  If I'm wrong about this, then those instances should be brought to light, particularly if there is a pattern of this type of treatment in a particular diocese.  And I don't know why someone from SNAP, or any friend of a victim, couldn't be on the phone when the victim makes the call to support the victim and make sure the report is taken seriously.

Abe: I basically agree with you. I don't think SNAP has any business telling victims whom they should not talk to. What if a victim is in a diocese that actually has a good response team? There are downsides to every situation. In the McCormack case in Chicago, for example, the police declined to prosecute the first complaint (McCormack's brother happens to be a Chicago cop)--that was the reason Cardinal George declined to follow his review board's advice to remove McCormack from ministry. Now, that's a case everyone involved--from layperson to bishop--managed to botch. But it illustrates why a single approach won't do.

Grant - you might want to update your UPDATE:   http://www.catholicleague.org/commonweal-indicts-archbishop-carlson/

 

And can't wait for his last sentence -

"I will have more to say on this matter. We have the evidence that will settle the issue."

Yep, Big Bill will *settle* the issue; once and for all!

 

...but even folks who aren't required by law to report suspicions should do it anyway.

Suspicion is a slippery word. It can mean anything from fairly good evidence warranting further investigation to "I suspect my neighbor is a witch, because she has a black cat." If you set the bar too low, you will sweep up allegations that are simply crazy or spiteful, and waste investigators' time; too high, and you will miss real cases of abuse. When and how does suspicion cross the line into reportable evidence? Are there clear guidelines, or is it a matter of hunches?

David, 

Between you and Tom Boyle, I'll take Tom anyday. You  quote your own biased report. How tacky!

Suspicion is a slippery word.

Yep.  I wouldn't know where to begin to build the decision tree, "Do I make the call or not?"

Sometimes, though, it's not that hard to decide.  A school principal wrote this letter to the Kansas City diocese about Shawn Ratigan, detailing a series of suspicions.

 

 

Bill - it gets worse.  The Media Report merely copied/pasted from Fr. Z's blog (without attribution):

http://wdtprs.com/blog/2012/03/anti-catholic-bias-and-attacks-on-holy-church-from-without-and-from-within/

Almost all of the allegations and links are to second or third hand opinion writers - there are no documented facts...it is, in fact, a smear campaign orchestrated by Fr. Z.

Here's the real story on Fr. Z (not exactly an unbiased or reliable source of information):

http://www.catholica.com.au/gc4/dt/001_dt_030614.php

Both Pierre and Z use innuendo, smears, and personal attacks to make their biased opinions known.

http://www.snapnetwork.org/news/otherstates/doyle_loses_job.htm

 

 

Despite the terrible things that have happened, the reforms have made the dioceses safer for children. The rules are mostly excellent now. What I like about it that it even prevents certain teachers or social workers who have emotional needs to use children (not sexual) in a manipulative way. Alas it does prevent some good relationships. But children should mix with children. The Guidelines are great. I am more familiar with New York. We have to continue to be vigilant that supervisors might intervene against the victims.

Grant - thanks for the update to the update.  Now, from Big Bill, here is the proof to settle this:

http://www.catholicleague.org/archbishop-carlson-framed/

Geez, Grant, you *framed* the poor, poor archbishop.

Where does one start? 

So, Big Bill indicates numerous places in the depostion where Carlson acknowledged that sexual abuse is criminal behavior. 

But, then he goes back to the highlighted part of the deposition and claims Anderson (or Grant's version or NCR, etc.) is twisting his answers....that he was really refering to mandated reporting.  (even tho, ignoring that is also criminal behavior if you are a mandated reporter and he was but in the case of Adamson, prior to the state law requiring this)

http://www.ksdk.com/story/news/local/2014/06/11/catholic-church-sex-abuse-documents/10352013/

And, of course, Big Bill continues his meme that Adamson is a *homosexual* priest and, of course, this is the real core problem.

@BillMazella: Calling someone "tacky" is just namecalling. It is the sign of a loser when it comes to facts.

 

@BilldeHaas: Good grief. I simply copied and pasted the Q&A ***directly from the deposition itself***!! I copied *nothing* from Fr. Z. In fact, I did not even see Fr. Z's post until this morning (the 12th). If you truly call yourself a Catholic, you would apologize for spreading such a gross and deliberate falsehood about me.

 

@Grant: I'm a little surprised at you. When you say the "transcript doesn't support [the] theory" that Abp. Carlson was talking about mandated reporting, you either didn't read the entre transcript or we get back to one of my original points: that you maliciously ascribe the the most sinister motives to Abp. Carlson.

There are numerous points during the transcript where Carlson clearly acknowledges that he knew in the 1980s that child abuse was a crime.

In fact, Anderson had already deposed Carlson **four times** back in the 1980s! 

In the relevant portions of the deposition, Carlson's attorney and Anderson quarrel over the questioning and the topic of mandated reporting. I certainly think it's fair to give Abp. Carlson the benefit of the doubt that, considering the *numerous times* that he had already answered questions about the *crime* of child abuse, Anderson was asking him about mandated reporting.

-

Dave P.: Stop. I didn't impute motives. You're terrible at this. 

DPierre - here is what you posted above:  http://www.themediareport.com/hot-topics/rev-thomas-p-doyle-o-p/ (June 12, 2014)

Compare that to the link from Fr. Z - yes, he does say he gets this from Media Report but he posts in March, 2012. (you have to look for his attribution to Media Report and your link above dated April, 2014 compared to Fr. Z's March, 2012 did throw me)

And yet - your long list is still second or third hand opinions with no documentation; merrely innuendo and smears.

Given the documentation I provided to counter your false allegations, will you, as you say,  " If you truly call yourself a Catholic, you would apologize for spreading such a gross and deliberate falsehood about me." also apologize to Fr. Doyle?

 

@Bill deHaas: You originally wrote, "The Media Report merely copied/pasted from Fr. Z's blog (without attribution)."

That claim is 100% false. You won't apologize. Instead, you say that Fr. Z. cited me in 2012. Uhhhhh ... so what? What does that have to do with anything?

You also claim that my "long list" about Fr. Tom Doyle has "no documentation." That is also 100% false. Everything is documented, such as his ban from acting as a canon lawyer in the Archdiocese of St. Louis because he committed canonical crimes.

See? http://archstl.org/files/archstl/images/stories/pdfs/04-09-08-decree_doyle.pdf

And another thing: If there is anything false on my site about Doyle, I will *certainly* take it down. Tom Doyle is *very* aware of my site, yet he has never once contacted me about anything being false. Period.

 

@Grant: When you post a headline, "Unhappy with your press? Give the 'out of context' talisman a try," *of course* you are ascribing/imputing a motive to the archbishop/archdiocese!

C'mon, man! Has the Blackhawks loss affected you that much? 

DPierre --

Can you tell us the whole story of why Cardinal Burke condemned Fr. Doyle as a criminal?  According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in 2007 Cardinal Burke *prohibited* Krause and Rozanski from hiring Fr. Doyle as their canon lawyer, and the Cardinal assigned them a different canon lawyer instead.  So how come one year later he is condemning Fr Doyle for NOT representing Krause and Rozanski?  What's the other side of this story???

David Pierre is a special type of apologist.  

Ann, you gave him an opportunity to tell you the other side of the story.  One would think he would have already put that out there  because he is the man behind the "media report", as this might imply some type of journalism.

Sorry Ann, he is a one side of the story man, very similiar to an archdiocese spokesperson. 

He has the chutzpah to question the integrity of Tom Doyle.

Tom Doyle has more integrity in his pinky toenail than Pierre has in his entire body. Tom has the courage to tell the truth to church leaders who just care about their reputation. If they would have listened to him in the 70's the church would have truly protected it's reputation as well as protecting children, there would be significantly less victims. 

Tom has lost many opportunities because he has lived his integrity.

Dave Pierre is not only an apologist but an opportunist as well.  He hawks his fiction books to make a buck from other willfully blind folks who have so much invested in their faith that they cannot afford the truth to devalue their rigid beliefs. These people follow the institution instead of Jesus. They trust in the words of Bill Donahue while people who follow Christ seem to trust the words of Tom Doyle.

Dave, I am sure that you can justify the Trenton bishop's despicable legal argument stating that a priest is off duty when he is molesting a child. I know that Jesus taught us so very much about accountability avoidance.

I just want to hear your twisted justification. It is worth a laugh and I can email your remarks to other victims who also find your actions hurtful yet sometimes in a dark way, comical.  I am sure it will be a real  "dandy".

DPierre - you link to a form from Burke; so what?  Again, that is Burke's opinion in which he is judge and jury.  There is no documentation that either supports or proves what Burke says.  It is merely a *pronouncement* from a now discredited member of the curia.  (Burke is on the way out and down - he is the opposite of Francis)

You post two other links about Doyle's career:

- when he left the apostolic delegate's position........you allege that this is based upon some type of *evil* Doyle did.  In fact, it was an internal political move that had nothing to do with who, what, or how Doyle did his job  (if anything, it shows the cowardly actions of the internal church institution)

- when he was ordered to leave the military position....you allege that this is based upon some type of liturgical *evils* and disregard of what his archbishop ordered.  Documented investigations reveal that the archbishop interpreted and ordered certain liturgical practices that actually did not follow canon law.  Doyle (one can argue, unwisely) cited canon law and the archbishop, of course, basically dismissed him (more on his own imagined belief that Doyle was insolent)

So, it might be more accurate to describe your Media Report as an advocacy piece that paints one side of a complex story.  Unfortunately, any time one only posts one side of a story, the truth, the good name of others, etc. suffers.  Thus, my conclusion that your advocacy website is filled with innuendo, biased allegations, smears, and you still owe Fr. Doyle an apology.

Bill, You hit the nail on the head, powerful comment.

Jim Pauwels, That is the big problem... YES, they are treated badly... then victims get worn out and give up..they get broken down again...!   We need the statute of limitations to be removed.. esp in Ohio, Penn,.. bad news there..

When victims report to church officials .. child advocate, or victim protection office.... the final decision on what to do rests solely with the Bishop, who most often ignores it... unless a victim has some kind of power or threat of going public.... only then will bishop make these predators known to public and parents..

The bishops are NOT following their own child protect polices...they don't have to, because there is no punishment for those who don't...

We urge them to file a police report.. at least get it on record because what happened to them is and was a crime.... many time, because of the statute of limitations, the police can't do anything.. but at least get it on record.... the laws are changing, as we have seen in MN>.

tks, Judy

Judy - -

It seems that there are many fewer reports of abuse since the Boston situation became public and the bad  behavior of so many bishops has been made public.  In other words, it seems that many bishops *are* taking the Dallas agreement seriously.  I don't doubt that there are still many bishops operating under their old policies, and they certainly need to be exposed.  

However, making general (if not explicitly universal) statements about "the bishops" not following the new policies is, I think, actually counter-productive.  Some of them seem to be trying.  Statements about "the bishops", as if it were still all of them, makes it look as though you have lost objectivity, and, worse, it makes it seem as though your hard work has made no difference even after all these years.  But your persistence has helped a great deal.  I say it's time to show that, while there's a lot more to be done, the problems aren't hopeless, that action still makes a difference.  In other words, blast the bad bishops -- by name if necessary, but don't associate those who are trying to change with the bad ones.

Thank you for all your help for the little ones.

i'm amazed at the level of ignorance about the needs of survivors for safety from further exploitation at the hands of the perpetrator(s) when they come forward with their stories of abuse.  For whatever maybe your reasons [Grant Gallicho] for suggesting that survivors notify church officials of the abuse, they are insufficient and specious. Experience over the last four decades tells us that the Catholic hierarchy is hopelessly corrupt and incapable of even elemental justice.  Just as Gallicho reports in the Carlson deposition, hierarchs have no sense of the truth of their lives or actions.  Every day they must look into the mirror and see the lies of their lives written on their faces.  How sad and tragic ...  

i'm amazed at the level of ignorance about the needs of survivors for safety from further exploitation at the hands of the perpetrator(s) when they come forward with their stories of abuse.  For whatever maybe your reasons [Grant Gallicho] for suggesting that survivors notify church officials of the abuse, they are insufficient and specious. Experience over the last four decades tells us that the Catholic hierarchy is hopelessly corrupt and incapable of even elemental justice.  Just as Gallicho reports in the Carlson deposition, hierarchs have no sense of the truth of their lives or actions.  Every day they must look into the mirror and see the lies of their lives written on their faces.  How sad and tragic ...  

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