The New York Times reports this afternoon that two high ranking US Catholic Cardinals - Timothy Dolan of New York and Roger Mahony of Los Angeles – must answer questions this week under oath about clergy sex crimes and cover ups. We are grateful and encouraged by this. This happens all too rarely.
Dolan has been particularly adept at evading responsibility for his wrongdoing in clergy sex cases, having moved twice since the scandal started gaining international attention more than a decade ago, and having worked, three times, in states with especially archaic child abuse laws that favor defendants.
Civil justice can expose predators and their enablers, but only criminal justice can imprison and deter them. So while these depositions represent progress, it's crucial to remember that the best way to prevent and discourage future crimes and cover ups is for secular authorities to investigate, charge and convict Catholic officials who hide and enable heinous crimes against kids.
Just this week, a United Nations committee criticized US authorities for not doing enough to pursue criminal charges against Catholic officials. We share that criticism.
Every single abuse victim who takes any kind of legal action to prevent crimes, protect kids, and expose wrongdoing deserves praise. The courage of thousands of victims should inspire police and prosecutors to do more to look into, respond to and deter future clergy sex crimes and cover ups by using their full powers to seek justice.