By David Clohessy
I have some advice – and a request – for Jack Dunn, the Boston College PR guy who claims he’s unfairly portrayed in Spotlight. Show us the records.
I’m not unsympathetic to him. Like Dunn, I have kids. Like Dunn, I’d like them to know good things I’ve done. And like Dunn, I’m not keen on being misrepresented and misunderstood. So if a film portrayed me in a negative light, I’d certainly be upset.
But surely Dunn knows that Catholic church officials estimate more than 100,000 boys and girls in the US have been sexually violated by priests. Surely he knows that bishops have concealed and are concealing child sex crimes committed by hundreds or thousands of predatory priests, nuns, seminarians, brothers, teachers and fellow bishops.
By David Clohessy
In dioceses where the abuse and cover up crisis has been widely exposed, bishops often do a smart public relations move: they schedule “healing” masses. Bishop James Johnston is holding some of these in Kansas City. It’s worth looking at how one of his staff talks about them.
“There has always been a desire to do more outreach to try and help victims come back to the church, or at least see the church being empathetic and sorrowful,” said Kathleen Chastain, Johnston’s staffer who handles abuse.
Ponder this quote for a second. I’m grateful Ms. Chastain made this comment. Two parts of it leap out at me.
First, notice Chastain is NOT saying “We care.” She’s saying “We want victims to come back to the church.”
Second, she’s saying “We want victims to see the church being empathetic and sorrowful.” See, it’s not about reality. It’s about perception.
We’ve long felt these events are more about them than about us. Ms. Chastain’s comments reinforce our skepticism.
You can’t make this stuff up.
A Pennsylvania company makes and sells statues of Joe Paterno, the now-disgraced, widely-disgraced but still-beloved-by-some-Penn-Staters football coach who (among others) didn’t take sufficient steps to act on abuse suspicions about Jerry Sandusky.
The same company also make and sell statues of Pope Francis. http://articles.philly.com/2015-08-31/news/66037037_1_sandusky-disclosures-jerry-sandusky-penn-staters
And a Duquesne Brewing Co. executive Mark Dudash, which produces something called Joe Paterno beer, believes his unexpectedly high sales are attributable to “a guardian angel up in heaven somewhere.”
When will we stop praising, honoring and rewarding powerful men who ignore, hide or enable heinous crimes against kids?
By David Clohessy
It may feel that way, but you’re NOT powerless
“I can’t prosecute. I can’t sue. I’m powerless.”
We hear some version of this from a survivor nearly every day.
It’s a horrible feeling: powerlessness.
It’s especially horrible if you’ve felt it before, when you were being abused.
By David Clohessy
Hundreds and hundreds of abuse survivors have talked with me over the past quarter century about their tough, tough struggles with addictions. So I took no pleasure when I read that the former second-highest ranking Vatican official was arrested in Hawaii on drunk driving charges.
But news reports identify Cardinal William Levada (an LA native who headed dioceses in Portland Oregon and San Francisco) as “the highest ranking American in the Vatican” at one point.
That’s true of course. But he was also head of the CDF, the church bureaucracy that enforces doctrine.
And before he was promoted to this post, he pulled perhaps the most hypocritical legal maneuver I’ve ever seen (and that’s saying a lot).
Here’s ex-LA Times journalist Bill Lobdell’s report:
By David Clohessy
In a lot of ways, the new Fr. Manuel Gallo Espinoza case is much like the Fr. Joseph Jeyapaul case. But it’s worse.
Fr. Jeyapaul generated international headlines when he was pled guilty this summer – after a long, hard extradition process - to sexually assaulting a Minnesota girl in the Crookston diocese. (Thanks to the courage of another victim, Megan Peterson.)
Two remarks by Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki show just how deceptive and callous he is.
First, he said “Nothing can be enough to restore, basically, what was lost to the victims."
Lost? We didn’t “lose” our childhoods and faith and trust and joy. They were stolen from us by clerics who committed and concealed heinous crimes.
Second, he pledged to “take a look at” removing the bas-relief in the cathedral showing disgraced and resigned Archbishop Rembert Weakland alongside children.
Take a look at? Listecki claims he wants healing. Then why delay removing cathedral showing disgraced Archbishop Rembert Weakland alongside children? We'll never know how many kids were hurt on Weakland's watch because he shrewdly and consistently hid predator priests and his own expensive, hurtful sexual misdeeds.
by David Clohessy
Bankruptcy “is the best way to fairly and equitably compensate victims. . .ensuring that all are treated equitably.”
Milwaukee Catholic Archbishop Jerome Listecki, June 2011
“575 individuals came forward. 240 of them will get nothing. And 92 others will get about $2,000 each.”
National Catholic Reporter, August 2015
Who would have thought that the highest ranking politician in the UK, the third highest ranking politician in the US and “America’s dad” would all be accused of sexual violence?
I’m referring of course to ex-Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath, ex-House Speaker Dennis Hastert and Bill Cosby.
It’s possible that at some point in your life, someone you know will be accused of raping an adult or abusing a child. It’s likely that every bone in your body will cry out “No! He could NEVER do such a thing.”
Then pause before you utter that thought, and ponder the millions who have been shocked over – and wrong about – allegations of sexual crimes against the popular and powerful.
The other day, President Obama said he couldn’t revoke Bill Cosby’s Presidential Medal of Honor. But I’d humbly like to tell the president: “You ain’t powerless.”
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
The Attorneys General of forty states have inquired about the grand jury process in Pennsylvania. Let's get statewide investigations going in fifty states.
Note to Letter Writers
Use your own words and style of writing. Cut and paste from the templates as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you were abused in or state now living in.