Tomorrow in Newark, parents of a child sex abuse victim will
-- announce a settlement of a child sexual abuse and cover up case involving a priest,
-- release a deposition of Newark Archbishop John Myers and
-- release long-hidden church records about a predator priest.
We are very proud of Andrew Ward and his brave and compassionate family. We are especially grateful they had the strength to take legal action, the persistence to overcome the church hierarchy’s seemingly endless delays. And we are glad they insisted that these records be disclosed. In child sex abuse and cover up cases, it’s crucial that the dreadful wrongdoing of both those who commit and those who conceal these heinous crimes are exposed. That’s the best way to prevent future child sex crimes and cover ups.
When clergy sex abuse and cover up cases settle for seven figures, the reason is simple. It’s almost always because Catholic officials ignored, minimized, hid and enabled horrific crimes against children and those officials fear these damaging facts will emerge in court. That’s why bishops are willing to pay large figures – to save themselves and their colleagues from having to answer tough questions, under oath, in open court, where their complicity will be laid bare for all to see.
We are anxious to see these records. We suspect they’ll show Myers acting as selfishly and irresponsibly in Peoria as he is acting in Newark. We also suspect there are other current and former Peoria church employees who played a role in keeping Msgr. Maloney’s crimes secret for years.
The predator, Msgr. Maloney, is deceased, so he can’t be prosecuted. But we hope that those who saw or suspected Maloney’s crimes or Myers’ cover ups and helped hide the truth might be prosecuted.
So we urge anyone with information or suspicions about clergy sex crimes and cover ups – in Peoria or Newark – to find the courage to do what Andrew and his family did – seek justice in the time-tested US court system, rather than quietly calling corrupt Catholic officials and giving them a chance to intimidate victims, threaten whistleblowers, discredit witnesses, fabricate alibis, destroy evidence, or help pedophile priests flee overseas.