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Catholic Church settles for 85 million over pedophilia charges
September 10, 2003 6:10 AM   Subscribe

The Catholic Church settles for 85 million over pedophilia accusations. Yet, most priests and all of the Church leaders who admittedly moved pedophiles from parish to parish to protect them will be NOT be facing criminal charges. Is this justice? What if NAMBLA was caught doing the same thing? I would think there would be criminal charges all around.
posted by skallas (18 comments total)

 
What if NAMBLA was caught doing the same thing?

I would think the North American Marlon Brando Look-Alikes were above this sort of thing.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 6:14 AM on September 10, 2003


Money to come from lawsuits against their insurers, mortgaging property, and get this: the knights of columbus. Oh I hope I never get to see them on the street asking me for pedophile money.
posted by skallas at 6:32 AM on September 10, 2003


Money to come from lawsuits against their insurers, mortgaging property, and get this: the knights of columbus.

Thus, ultimately, from the parishoners themselves, since they paid for those properties in the first place.
posted by moonbiter at 6:56 AM on September 10, 2003


I would think the North American Marlon Brando Look-Alikes were above this sort of thing.

You'd be surprised how much overlap there is between those two groups.

Overlap! Get it?
posted by soyjoy at 7:07 AM on September 10, 2003


Money money money money money....MONEY!
.
.
.
Money money money money money....MONEY!


Money makes the world go 'round.

Got money?
posted by eas98 at 7:11 AM on September 10, 2003


This is an outrage. What kind of message does this send to our children? (Aside from the "it's okay to play Father Murphy's special version of hide and seek" one.) Kids will grow up believing that as long as you dress up in funny costumes and talk to your invisible friends, you can get away with pretty much anything. As long as you watch out for nasty Mister White Power, that is.

Seriously, though, how does being a member of a church, even a high-ranking member, exempt you from prosecution for one of the most heinous crimes available to your average non-genocidal-dictator types? Maybe those crazy people who talk about the Catholic Church being more or less the mob with more festive outfits aren't all that far off...

Oh, the money. Right.
posted by majcher at 7:14 AM on September 10, 2003


I can't even read "NAMBLA" without getting a chill up my spine.
posted by archimago at 7:41 AM on September 10, 2003


So I'm no fan of religion, particularly the catholic church, but I don't get the rant here about criminal prosecution. This is a financial arrangement in a civil case; it has nothing to do with criminal charges, though the FPP seems to imply (or is it just me) that there was some agreement to drop criminal charges in exchange for the money.

The lack of criminal prosecution has more to do with the laws in place at the time the abuse occurred and, I believe, time statutes. The scandal has at least led to some changes to the sexual abuse reporting laws. Unfortunately, such laws still apply only to certain groups and not to everyone; I have long thought that it should be a crime for anyone not to report knowledge of child sexual abuse.

In any case, the Boston church seems to be trying to do the types of things the previous leadership should have done all along, including counseling for victims. They have taken steps far beyond the efforts of the vatican, so I think it's possible that the new Boston leadership is less greedy and perhaps more 'christian' than the prior leadership or those still in power in the church worldwide. Even the victims' attorneys said that this settlement amount was about all the Boston church could afford. So basically, I'd say go after the national/world church as a crime family, but maybe we shouldn't criticize the new Boston leadership quite yet, considering they might actually be decent people.
posted by troybob at 7:51 AM on September 10, 2003


most priests and all of the Church leaders who admittedly moved pedophiles from parish to parish to protect them will be NOT be facing criminal charges. Is this justice?

Well, its not really just, but it is the law. The issue, as I remember it from a few months ago when this was discussed in the news, is that it isn't illegal in MA not to report child abuse. So criminal charges aren't really appropriate for the church leaders who covered things up. They are, of course, very much appropriate for the priests who actually committed the abuse.
posted by HiddenInput at 8:03 AM on September 10, 2003


>The lack of criminal prosecution has more to do with the laws in place at the time the abuse occurred and, I believe, time statutes

Can you prove that? There is abuse going on probably as a write this and don't be fooled by the mostly middle-aged men who are in these suits there are also pedophilia abuses from this year, last year, etc. Some of the class-action participants are parents of abused minors. Unless the statute of limitations is 10 minutes, then there's a case for mass arrests here.

As far as the statute of limitations go, how are we supposed to know anything without a huge investigation into this archdiocese? You can assume all you want, I want a investigation that isn't just lip service. I was listening to many of the abused on NPR earlier and they echo the same sentiment. Not to mention, the church is admitting to these coverups and sexual abuses in this settlement thus it makes for easier prosecution.

No, I'm not suggesting that the money is payoff, I'm saying that justice is only coming through civil suits and the criminal prosecution seems to be on the back burner.
posted by skallas at 8:05 AM on September 10, 2003


>is that it isn't illegal in MA not to report child abuse

I don't see it as a lack of 'reporting' a crime as much as it is conspiracy, harboring criminals, aiding and abetting and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

I'm not a lawyer, but there is plenty of criminal mischief here.
posted by skallas at 8:10 AM on September 10, 2003


Can you prove that?

No, but are we to believe that the MA attorney general is intentionally not going after cases they could prosecute under the law? Perhaps there is a reason to believe this is the case; if so, let me know. The abuse was horrible; those responsible should be punished. The laws to this point have been inadequate to deal with such cases; however, it's not as if we can enact retroactive law to go after cases that can't be prosecuted otherwise. Even if those priests/leaders involved in these cases came forward with confessions and requests for prosecution, they couldn't be prosecuted under law that does not exist or does not apply.

If there is a way to call for more investigation of the Boston church, then that would be great. (And, believe me, I wouldn't doubt that criminal investigation of the catholic church as a whole would uncover a plethora of offenses, abuse and otherwise.) I'm just saying that the new leadership is doing things (including, as you mention, actually admitting abuse and cover-up) that their own leaders at the national/world level haven't done to try to deal with this, and that it perhaps is more destructive in the long run to demonize those who are coming in at this point and might be trying to do the right thing for the right reasons.
posted by troybob at 8:47 AM on September 10, 2003


troybob: though the FPP seems to imply (or is it just me) that there was some agreement to drop criminal charges in exchange for the money

are we to believe that the MA attorney general is intentionally not going after cases they could prosecute under the law?


Read the bottom of the linked article. They have prosecuted or are now prosecuting everyone they can prosecute. Some of the accused are long dead, and it sounds like there were statutes of limitations that might be interfering in other cases, but it specifically says that superiors in the organization are/were not liable under the laws in place at the time. Sorry, but just because it's morally wrong and skallas blows a gasket about it on MetaFilter doesn't make it a prosecutable offense. Considering the heinous things the Catholic Church has done over the centuries in the name of "religion," I fail to see how in this case a group of 500 people sharing in a public acknowledgment of wrong-doing, loss of employment for the perps and US$85 million in cold hard cash would be something less than "justice served," but then, I'm not getting any of the dough, so who am I to say...
posted by JollyWanker at 9:13 AM on September 10, 2003


Some of the accused are long dead...

Yea, like that priest who was killed in prison. Except that he is now innocent, since he died while appealing his conviction.

Uh huh...
posted by eas98 at 9:50 AM on September 10, 2003


Anyone who somodizes children, regardless of who he is, should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Anything else is adding insult to injury to the people hurt by the pedophile's actions.

Either that or the bastards should be publicly outed and chased out of town. And out of the next town. And the next until they fall over and die from exhaustion.

Part of the reason the molestations continue is because of the incredibly soft stance in the Church against it. Its the Let's-cover-it-up mentality that's causing as much harm as the buggering by these utter and complete scumbags.
posted by fenriq at 9:50 AM on September 10, 2003


On this topic Skallas and I agree totally. How incredibly evil to be covering up this sort of vile behavior-and how incredibly damaging to the victims. I'm glad the money is going to victims but I would be happier if there were appropriate consequences to those responsible for shuffling these rapists and pedophiles from parish to parish.
Every one of those perpetrators should have been tossed out of the church straight into the courtroom and from there to prison. The fact that this did not happen is disgusting beyond belief.

I know for a fact every one of these culpable individuals will have to answer to the highest Court of All. The Bible says that if any one causes a little one to stumble, that it would be better if a millstone were tied around his neck and tossed into the sea. If these guys don't qualify for this I don't know who does.
posted by konolia at 2:10 PM on September 10, 2003


>Sorry, but just because it's morally wrong and skallas blows a gasket about it on MetaFilter doesn't make it a prosecutable offense.

Consider that the DA is only looking at child protection laws and not the crimes I mentioned above which have a much longer shelf-life regarding limitations. I'm not a conspiracy theorist, but I am well aware of the power, influence, and corruption that has been part of this whole affair and I'm not at all surprised that the church leaders are suddenly immune from prosecution. Lets not play dumb here, these are high crimes and Cardinal Law will never see the inside of a jail cell or a court room for that matter. Wink wink, nod nod, its just ordinary everyday corruption.

A simple search on google news for "catholic criminal" brings up many states that are arresting priest pedophiles for crimes committed 30 years ago. Whats the big holdup in Catholic-dominated Boston?

Here's a nice bit of American theocracy for the disbelievers. Police defering to the church when it comes to sexual misconduct. And that's just the ones we know about. Can you say Church and State collusion? I thought you could.
posted by skallas at 5:18 PM on September 10, 2003


And lets not forget the Vatican's hand in all this. Talk about abuse? You'll get excommunicated.
The policy was written in 1962 by Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani.

The document, once "stored in the secret archives" of the Vatican, focuses on crimes initiated as part of the confessional relationship and what it calls the "worst crime": sexual assault committed by a priest" or "attempted by him with youths of either sex or with brute animals."

Bishops are instructed to pursue these cases "in the most secretive way...restrained by a perpetual silence...and everyone {including the alleged victim) ...is to observe the strictest secret, which is commonly regarded as a secret of the Holy Office...under the penalty of excommunication."
source
One guy on NPR demanded an apology from the Pope. I think he deserves one.
posted by skallas at 5:26 PM on September 10, 2003


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