As they have for decades, Belleville Catholic officials are trying to exploit a technicality to evade responsibility for the alleged crimes of a credibly accused child molesting priest. Shame on them.
Just once, we'd love to see a Catholic official say "Instead of fighting this abuse victim with legal loopholes, we're choosing to fight on the merits." But in 30 years, we've never seem that happen.
Nearly every time abuse and cover up reports surface, bishops work long and hard to convince us that they've changed. Yet in this most crucial way, none of them have: they continue to hide behind and exploit every technicality their shrewd lawyers can find to make sure their wrongdoing stays concealed and won't be exposed in court.
We hope Bishop Edward Braxton's latest legal maneuver fails. We hope this brave victim gets his day in court. And we hope others who saw, suspected or suffered crimes or misdeeds by Msgr. Joseph Schwagel will come forward and get help.
CONTACT: David Clohessy, SNAP Missouri (firstname.lastname@example.org, 314-566-9790), Zach Hiner, Executive Director (email@example.com, 517-974-9009)
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)