A convicted pedophile priest walks free now in Argentina thanks in part to Pope Francis’ intervention, according to today’s Washington Post.
We call on the new pontiff to:
--immediately put this child molesting cleric at a remote, secure, independent treatment and housing facility so kids will be safer and
--explain why he’s helping a proven predator avoid jail and live across the street from the charity where he assaulted at least three kids.
Today’s Post reports that “church officials, led by Bergolio, commissioned a lengthy private report arguing that Fr. Julio Cesar Grassi was innocent”(after he had been convicted in a criminal trial). And “prosecutors say the document has helped Grassi avoid jail time so far.” He continues to live “across the street from the classroom and dormitories of Happy Children,” the charity where he molested.
“Bergoglio was widely viewed as close to the young priest,” the Post report says.
The new pope has, through his actions, recklessly and callously helped a dangerous man avoid jail and remain around children. If he believes Fr. Grassi is innocent and the prosecutor, judge and Washington Post all have this wrong, Pope Francis owes his flock – in Argentina and worldwide – a serious explanation.
For now, Pope Benedict should, at a bare minimum, put Fr. Grassi in a remote, secure, independent treatment and housing center so he will be kept away from vulnerable children.
History, psychology and common sense suggest that Fr. Grassi is guilty, that Pope Francis is wrong, and that kids are at risk in Buenos Aires. It feels very much to us like this is yet another of the thousands of cases in which powerful Catholic officials use their vast influence to help a proven predator, rather than suffering victims and vulnerable kids.
This case, and the Pope’s recent meeting with Cardinal Bernard Law, do not bode well for how he will deal with the church’s on-going clergy sex abuse and cover up crisis as the high-ranking Catholic official.
Pope Francis never had any children of his own, so he may lack the normal care that a good Dad would have for protecting the innocence of children.
These celibate priests protect their fellow priests unfortunately, and the victims are left to suffer in silence.
I had higher expectations for this Pope.
I hope and pray that the crimes of clergy sexual abuse will be seen as crimes and that all predators will be made accountable to civil and international law.
I also pray that Pope Francis will have a change of heart and become accountable to the victim/survivors of clergy sexual abuse.
Sincerely, Dr Rosemary Eileen McHugh, Chicago, Illinois, USA