Imagine this: A bank robber shoots and kills two people – first a custodian and a then a teller - as they run away seeking safety.
The criminal is held responsible for the custodian’s death but not for the teller’s death. Why?
Because when the bullet hit the custodian, he was on bank property but when the bullet hit the teller, she was actually standing on a public sidewalk.
Pretty crazy scenario, right? Why should the actual physical site of a crime enable wrongdoers who commit or conceal that crime to get off the hook?
But that’s exactly what’s happening in Missouri with clergy sex crimes and cover ups.
In 2011, St. Louis Archbishop Robert Carlson and his colleagues got off the hook because Fr. Cooper molested a boy at a riverside cabin that was owned by the priest (but NOT owned by the church).
And this week, Kansas City Bishop Robert Finn and his colleagues caught the same break because Fr. Michael Tierney molested a boy on property NOT owned by the church.
There’s only two ever-so-slight ‘silver linings’ here.
The first is that the Missouri Supreme Court will hopefully overturn these rulings, and the awful decision on which they are partially based – the 1997 Gibson v. Brewer case that puts our state among three in the US in which victims have to prove ill intent (not just negligence) by employers in child sex cases.
The second ‘silver lining’ is that these two brave victims – Paul Alvino in St. Louis and John Doe D. T. in Kansas City - have shown just how committed Carlson and Finn are to their cover ups of clergy sex crimes. These disgraceful prelates are so determined to keep hiding the truth that they’ll use any legal maneuver or loophole – no matter how unprecedented or immoral – to deny already wounded and still suffering child sex abuse victims their day in court.