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More abuse in Chicago?

The Chicago Sun-Times published a very strange story about a twenty-six-year-old's charge that he was sexually abused by one priest in the presence of his pastor.

[John] Doe said the priests invited him for beers on Saturday night, Aug. 5.

"They kept telling me, 'Here, have another beer. Have some tequila,' " Doe told the Sun-Times in his native Spanish.

Doe refused thetequila, but drank the beer and some shrimp soup and passed out. Hesaid he awoke after midnight to his wife calling on his cell phone andsaw his shorts pulled down. He pulled up his shorts and underwear andfled the rectory as the priests implored him to stay, he said.

The next day, inflashbacks, he remembered waking and seeing Sanchez-Espinoza sitting inhis lap, performing a sex act. He recalled the priest performing oralsex on him, he said. He also remembered one priest saying, "Always stayfive feet away from them."

Doe said he thencalled Marin and asked exactly what happened. The pastor reportedlytold Doe he was out of the room and that Sanchez-Espinoza admittedperforming oral sex on Doe. But Marin felt bad about it, according toDoe, and wanted Doe to come to the rectory to pray with him.

Shrimp soup? Flashbacks? "Always stay five feet away from them"? Them--as in, more than one?

Yesterday, the archdiocese released the following statement about the matter:

Fr. Moises Marin, Pastor of San Juan DiegoParish, has been asked to voluntarily absent himself from the parishand Fr. Juan Sanchez-Espinoza, who has been residing at the parishsince June, has been has been placed on administrative leave by theArchdiocese of Chicago.

These actions by the Archdiocese are in response to an accusation madeto the police of adult sexual assault that was alleged to have takenplace at San Juan Diego Parish rectory in early August. The Archdioceseof Chicago has cooperated with the civil authorities who have advisedthe Archdiocese that the accusation was thoroughly investigated and nocriminal charges have been filed.

Nevertheless, the Archdiocese will conduct its own investigation of thealleged incident to determine what further action or actions may bewarranted.

The removal of the accused priest and the one who was allegedly present is, of course, not enough for SNAP: "It's hard to say whether there's been an improvement or this is a P-Rmaneuver...than a turn of position in the archdiocese," according to the group's president, BarbaraBlaine.

No charges have been filed. More in the Tribune story.

About the Author

Grant Gallicho is an associate editor of Commonweal. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter.



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SNAP might be forgiven its incredulity since the Archdiocese acted very differently in a recent case of abuse. Apparently, the diocese has learned its lesson.

I wish it was as simple as Bill suggests. By limiting the issue to "abuse of children" instead of the abuse of innocent people, the US Bishops somewhat contained the problem. Where I live, in the last year, a code of conduct for priests has been published by the bishop. Should priests after all their traing and presumed ideals need a Code of Conduct?The problem again resides in the power relationship clergy can have and misuse with people of all ages. their maturity is then a critical question. How Bishops react after an offense is only one edge of the problem

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