How on earth can Archbishop Charles Chaput say that two of his priests are credibly accused child molesters but refuse to disclose their names on his website or in his news release (http://archphila.org/press%20releases/pr002005.htm)?
The two priests are supposedly being permanently kept off the job because the allegations against them have been deemed “credible.” Yet Chaput’s news release doesn’t tell anyone who they are.
Apparently, his public relations staffers are giving the names only to journalists.
The ten year old national church abuse policy mandates that bishops be “open and transparent” in clergy sex abuse and cover up cases. But Chaput continues the reckless, selfish secrecy that bishops seem incapable of reversing.
We’re shocked that Msgr. John Close is being put back on the job. He faces at least two allegations of having molested boys. And he’s been a chaplain at four institutions, a highly unusual work history for an archdiocesan priest (and the kind of assignment often given over the years to proven, admitted or credibly accused child molesting clerics).
What are the odds that there are two mistaken allegations against the same cleric?
Note what the independent research group BishopAccountability.org says about "false allegations."
How many false allegations have been made?
Fewer than 2 percent of sexual abuse allegations against the Catholic church appear to be false.
"Patrick Schiltz, dean of the University of St. Thomas law school in Minnesota, said that over more than a decade he had defended Catholic dioceses against sexual-abuse lawsuits in more than 500 cases, and that he had concluded that 'fewer than 10' of those cases were based on false accusations." See Doubt Is Cast on Accuser of 2 Priests, Judge Says, by Sam Dillon, New York Times, August 31, 2002. Schiltz was named a federal district court judge in 2006.
The Schiltz estimate is corroborated by a 2004 report commissioned by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and written by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. The report analyzed surveys completed by the U.S. dioceses and many religious orders. The collated results of one of the surveys show that 5,681diocesan investigations of abuse allegations in 1950-2002 yielded definitive results:
4,570 allegations were substantiated (80%)
1,028 allegations were unsubstantiated (18%)
83 allegations were deemed false (1.5%)
Note that these definitively investigated allegations represent slightly more than half of the 10,667 allegations reported in the John Jay study. The other allegations were investigated without definitive result or were not investigated at all. Moreover, the church-funded research project did not collect any data on 298 priests who were considered by their bishops to be exonerated when the dioceses completed the surveys in 2003.
Kathleen McChesney, who was the first executive director of the Office for Child and Youth Protection of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has summarized the John Jay findings on false allegations: "False reporting of sexual abuse by children is very rare."
In 1985, Rev. Michael R. Peterson, then president of St. Luke Institute, a church treatment center for priests accused of sexual abuse, sent a package to the bishop of every diocese in the United States. The package contained a letter, an essay on the abuse problem, a copy of the Manual that Peterson wrote with Rev. Thomas P. Doyle O.P. and F. Ray Mouton, and a collection of scientific articles on sexual abuse. In his essay, Peterson states: "In general, the adage that 'where there is smoke there is fire' is almost always true. I am not saying that it is impossible for a false accusation to be made; I am saying that in general the 'tip of the iceberg' is being exposed with a single accusation and that the cleric will generally need some kind of professional and legal help in a very short period of time."
The assessments cited above were made during the period 1985-2006 by experts employed by the U.S. bishops. Note that while false accusations are very rare, they do happen. A Boston man victimized as a very young child misidentified his perpetrator. The priest was reinstated. An extortionist accused a Portland, Oregon, priest with many substantiated allegations against him. The extortionist is now in prison. BishopAccountability.org is assembling data on disputed allegations.
Hopefully, other victims will come forward and sue Fr. Close. He can run but he can’t hide anymore. It’s a matter of time before other victims come forth.
What about holding Chaput accountable in a Tribal court?
*Chaput has spoken. It is Finished!