Priests sharing victims…not just in my family

Five charged in church sex scandal

February 11, 2011|By David O’Reilly, Inquirer Staff Writer,  Philadelphia Inquirer
According to the grand jury report, Lynn (Msgr. William Lynn, former secretary for clergy) was aware of credible abuse allegations against the three priests, but did not bar them from contact with minors, thus enabling four rapes of the two boys.

The accused include the Rev. Charles F. Engelhardt, 64, an Oblate priest most recently a parochial vicar at the Church of the Resurrection of Our Lord in the city’s Rhawnhurst section. He is charged with orally sodomizing a 10-year-old altar boy in 1998 in St. Jerome’s sacristy.

Despite the boy’s resistance, Engelhardt allegedly told the Rev. Edward Avery, a diocesan priest then assigned to St. Jerome’s, about the assault. Weeks later, Avery, now 68 and defrocked, assaulted the boy in the same way, according to the report.

Bernard G. Shero, the boy’s sixth-grade teacher at St. Jerome’s parish school, allegedly learned from one or both of the priests about the assaults and one day offered the boy a ride home. Instead, the grand jury said, Shero, now 48, orally and anally raped him in his car and then left him to walk home.

One of my struggles has been getting my head around the fact that two priests knowingly conspired in the abuse of members of my family, and confessed and absolved each other.  Even if I can admit the fact that two different priests abused us, the thought that they knew each other, supported each other’s behavior, covered for each other … it was just too grotesque, too evil to be true. But in Philadelphia the grand jury uncovered just such a story of collusion, of victim sharing.  Priests really can be that evil.

To be fair, the third abuser was not a priest, just someone they included in their little circle of pedophiles. How nice of them not to be selfish but instead to share information about an easy mark, a child who would be desperate to get the support of a safe adult.  Child rape … just a game they played with children’s bodies and with children’s lives.

But the rape is never just of the body it is rape of the soul too. The faith in their priests, their Church, their sacraments, their God is ripped apart and bloodied along with their bodies.  And too many of these children will die, perhaps not at 11 or 15, perhaps at 35 or 55, because the violence done to them then continues to be compounded by the violence inflicted on them today through the indifference of bishops and advisory boards, through the adversarial tactics of lawyers, and through their ostracisation by parishes and support structures within their Church.

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I will not hurt myself! I will not hurt myself! F$CK!@*!

In the news today, the LA archdiocese admits that an admitted abuser of a teenage girl…he had sex with her multiple times, not just molestation…has been in full ministry and has served on AN ARCHDIOCESAN SEXUAL ABUSE  ADVISORY BOARD because he would bring the “valuable insights” of personal experience to the table. WHAT THE F$CK?

Los Angeles Archdiocese to Dismiss Priest Over Admission of Molesting Girl

Msgr. Richard Loomis, then the vicar for clergy in Los Angeles, told officials in Rome that he would not remove Father O’Loghlen from the archdiocese but that his service should be limited. Several months later, Monsignor Loomis removed all restrictions on Father O’Loghlen and, in a letter, thanked him for agreeing to serve on the sexual abuse advisory board. He writes that both he and Cardinal Mahony “feel that you will bring valuable insights to the work of the board.”

John C. Manly, a lawyer for victims in dozens of sexual abuse cases, said Father O’Loghlen’s case was egregious because of his time on the sexual review board. “He was personally selected for a board that is meant to protect people from priests like him,” Mr. Manly said.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/12/us/12abuse.html?pagewanted=2

I want to spit, hurl my computer across the room, cry!

Calm down. Think. What logic was being employed here.

The abuse victim was a teenage girl. But because she was 16 when the relationship was initiated she was not considered a minor in Church Canon law.

Can. 1395 §2. A cleric who in another way has committed an offense against the sixth commandment of the Decalogue, if the delict was committed by force or threats or publicly or with a minor below the age of sixteen years, is to be punished with just penalties, not excluding dismissal from the clerical state if the case so warrants.

So, even though the priest admitted to a sexually “inapproprite” relationship with a teenage girl he wasn’t a pedophile. He calls himself a sex-addict. Now, addict should be a flag here. Is it possible an addict had only one “inappropriate relationship”? Possible! But likely? Leaving that aside for now, let’s move on.

Catholic authorities can rightly say this was not a case of pedophilia –which by definition involves pre-pubescent children. OK. I’ll give them that one – in terms of the letter of the canon law. What about criminal law?

“thirty-four states and the District of Columbia set the age of consent at sixteen, six states at seventeen, and eleven states at eighteen”   Note: One of the states defining minor as someone under 18 is California.
http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-5th-circuit/1335861.html

So, according to criminal law in LA, the girl was a minor  and it was a crime of sexual assault. Shouldn’t that give the Church officials pause? They were commending a priest who was actually guilty of a felony in criminal terms.

Here’s the thing. An admitted sex addict who has had sex with a teenage girl and become obsessed with her,  is deemed by Church officials to be capable of behaving completely appropriately around other young people, and is invited to serve on the sex abuse advisory board as … what? An expert in the subject.

If I was on that board and knew of his background I would have been apoplectic. I was the “token victim” on two advisory boards. A role I was happy to have. Ok, willing to have. Would I have felt safe, or felt the board legitimate, with an abuser-priest on board. Hell no! If I had been the mother of a 16 year old who was seduced into sex with a priest, would I have considered the behavior abuse of my daughter? Hell yes! Abuse of the priesthood, moralilty, common decency. Not to mention it was actually criminal activity in California.

WHAT THE F$CK were they thinking? 

There’s only one sane conclusion that priests, bishops, archbishops….they still don’t get it. If only they were parents, trying to protect their own children from the predatory behavior of sex addicts, pedophiles, ephebophiles (adults with a sexual predilection for youngsters in their later teens – girls 14-16, boys 14-19),  rapists and molesters in positions of authority and with access to their children. Then they would get it…maybe.

I want to scream and throw up. Not easy to do at the same time. There is no end to this insanity.