Two clergy sex abuse stories yesterday by television stations – one in Texas, the other in Indiana – made me want to crawl back into bed and stay there.
First, KHOU TV, the CBS affiliate in Houston, reported that a girl, “when she was 13. . . .began a sexual relationship” with her 37-year-old youth pastor, Derek Hutter. The station reported that she “had sex with Hutter over a dozen times” and “had been involved with the youth minister since she was 13-years-old.”
Some 400 adults in the US report having been sexually violated as youngsters by at least 88 Catholic nuns.
That’s the estimate from BishopAccountability.org, a respected, neutral archive that tracks the church’s on-going clergy sex abuse and cover up crisis.
He made one of the most stunning and memorable courtroom blunders in US history. But thanks to the generosity of Kansas City Catholics, and the viciousness of Kansas City's bishop, a therapist is getting paid $800 an hour (a total of $55,000) to try to undermine the credibility of a man who says he was sexually abused by two priests.
Of all the mental health professionals in the land, Bishop Robert Finn and his lawyers picked this therapist as an "expert witness" in a clergy sex abuse and cover up trial that's happening now in Independence, Missouri.
(In memory of James Chevedden, the victim of a suspicious death - which the Jesuits rushed to label a suicide - a few years after an alleged sexual assault by a Jesuit. This happened during the tenure of Fr. Thomas Smolich as head of the California Province.)
"How do you do it? How do you read about and respond to all that pain and corruption and betrayal, day after day?"
When I tell people what I do for a living, I often get some version of this question.
When reading UNICEF’s recently released report on violence against children I was struck by the very first line; “Violence against children is universal – so prevalent and deeply ingrained in societies it is often unseen and accepted as the norm.”
I'm sad to share the news that a dear friend and colleague, Kay Goodnow of Kansas City, has passed away at the age of 77.
There's tons of truth in the axiom "Past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior."
Yet when a pope is picked, many predict - based solely on hope and ignoring considerable evidence - that he'll "be better" on abuse than his predecessor.
Often headlines are a little misleading. The headline you just read is not. It's true.
On the very day that Pope Francis met with abuse victims, the Toledo Blade reported that a convicted murderer - who choked and stabbed a nun to death - would be buried with full priestly honors
Over a span of 18 years, that's how often the one-time head of the US bishops child sex abuse panel called police about admitted, proven or credibly accused predator priests.
Dear Fr. Solma
We look forward to the arrival of Fr. Charles H. Miller back in the US.