Thanks to the courage of this brave survivor who worked up the strength to come forward, talk to secular authorities, and seek justice and the protection of children, a jury in Miami today sent a powerful message to the predator priest. While no amount of money can restore the innocence shattered due to sexual violence, this verdict is a resounding condemnation of the actions of Fr. Neil Doherty. We are proud of the victim for coming forward and proud of the men and women that made this decision today.
Our hearts ache for this young girl who was disparaged by Deacon Richard Taylor. The sexual violence she suffered was horrific, and yet she still had the bravery to come forward and tell her story to authorities. She is to be commended for her courage.
If Joe Paterno resigns as the head football coach at Penn State, it is a good start. However, it is nowhere near enough. Voluntarily giving up your high-paying, prestigious job under pressure isn’t a sufficient penalty for endangering the physical and mental wellbeing of children and won’t do enough to deter such cover ups in the future.
When asked why I speak in support of victims of clergy sexual abuse and participate in solidarity with members of SNAP, it is because I have heard first-hand the stories of those abused and have witnessed their anguish caused by the abuse. I know, too, the valuable and desperately-needed support and services SNAP offers to the victims.
It takes real courage for anyone to stand on a bishop’s doorstep and criticize him. That’s especially true if you are a Catholic nun. It takes real compassion to openly challenge your ‘superiors’ and publicly side with suffering victims and vulnerable kids. That’s especially true if you are a Catholic nun and you’re in a diocese headed by a particularly callous, reckless and deceitful bishop.
Each and every person at Penn State who knew about or suspected Coach Sandusky's alleged child sex crimes should publicly apologize and step down. This includes:
- NV Predator priest’s written confession is released
- It shows that 16 church officials knew he had molested
- Yet cleric kept getting parish jobs until six months ago
- Predator was working around children in a Las Vegas church
- Four top Catholic prelates (& an Episcopalian one) kept silent
Tomorrow, Cardinal Bernard Law turns 80. Since resigning from his post in Boston almost a decade ago, he has continued to enjoy immense power in the literal and figurative power center of Catholicism, sitting on a number of key church panels (including the small committee that helps select bishops across the globe).
The fact that the man who was supposed to be investigating pedophilia was a pedophile himself is a sad and sordid reminder that the church hierarchy is the last place that those with knowledge of abuse should turn to for help. While the specifics of this particular case may be more egregious than most, the fact remains that all too often church officials care more about protecting the reputations of their priests and bishops than they do about protecting the safety of our children.
We are proud of this courageous young girl who today had the strength to stand up in public and warn others about the dangers posed by youth pastor Jose Velez, the man who abused her. We applaud her family for believing and supporting her, and we are grateful that they were smart and brave enough to go to police instead of church officials. It is a good thing that Velez was held criminally liable for his crimes against Diana Flores, but it is sad that the Brooklyn Pentecostal Assembly still refuses to take responsibility for his actions.