“Man pointing gun has financial transaction at bank. Huh!"

By David Clohessy

Ever seen that headline in your local newspaper? Me neither.

It’s absurd, isn’t it? There’s a word for a guy who uses a pistol or rifle to get what he wants from a bank teller. That word is “robber.”

There’s also a word for an adult who uses sex or power to get what he or she wants from a child. That word is “predator.”

No, complicit bishops have NOT been disciplined

By David Clohessy

“Some bishops were booted out (last year) because of their records on sex abuse.” So claims a writer for Crux.

He’s wrong.

Michael O'Loughlin writes “Advocates for victims of clergy sex abuse often lament that bishops have not been held accountable for their handling of the crisis, but in 2015, a few bishops were removed from office for precisely that reason.”


The predator who worries me the most

By David Clohessy

“Of all these predator priests, which one worries you the most?” That was the question a fellow survivor put to me recently.

My immediate thought was “How on earth could I pick one?” My next thought was “Geez, this is gonna keep me up tonight.” And it certainly did.

The first name that popped to mind was Fr. Ronald H. Paquin, who’s recently been released from prison. He is known to have sexually abused more than 40 boys. Once, with four boys in his car, he crashed while driving drunk. One boy died and another was badly injured. 

Why we don’t trust church investigations

He’s accused of molesting a teen, impregnating an adult parishioner twice, suggested an abortion, fathering a child and ignoring that child.

Catholic officials say they’re investigating all of this alleged wrongdoing by Fr. Henry Willenborg.   

A touching poem from a son about his mom

I’m grateful that so many of us whose souls were violated and whose voices were silenced by clergy sex crimes and cover ups have been able to use the arts to help ourselves heal. I’m also grateful that some who have done this share their creative, cathartic work with us at SNAP.  

Suggestion to Jack Dunn: Put up or shut up

By David Clohessy

I have some advice – and a request – for Jack Dunn, the Boston College PR guy who claims he’s unfairly portrayed in Spotlight. Show us the records.

I’m not unsympathetic to him. Like Dunn, I have kids. Like Dunn, I’d like them to know good things I’ve done. And like Dunn, I’m not keen on being misrepresented and misunderstood. So if a film portrayed me in a negative light, I’d certainly be upset.

But surely Dunn knows that Catholic church officials estimate more than 100,000 boys and girls in the US have been sexually violated by priests. Surely he knows that bishops have concealed and are concealing child sex crimes committed by hundreds or thousands of predatory priests, nuns, seminarians, brothers, teachers and fellow bishops.

The real agenda behind “healing masses”

By David Clohessy

In dioceses where the abuse and cover up crisis has been widely exposed, bishops often do a smart public relations move: they schedule “healing” masses. Bishop James Johnston is holding some of these in Kansas City. It’s worth looking at how one of his staff talks about them.

“There has always been a desire to do more outreach to try and help victims come back to the church, or at least see the church being empathetic and sorrowful,” said Kathleen Chastain, Johnston’s staffer who handles abuse.

Ponder this quote for a second. I’m grateful Ms. Chastain made this comment. Two parts of it leap out at me.

First, notice Chastain is NOT saying “We care.” She’s saying “We want victims to come back to the church.”

Second, she’s saying “We want victims to see the church being empathetic and sorrowful.” See, it’s not about reality. It’s about perception.

We’ve long felt these events are more about them than about us. Ms. Chastain’s comments reinforce our skepticism.

Mishandle child sex crimes & you get a statue

You can’t make this stuff up.

A Pennsylvania company makes and sells statues of Joe Paterno, the now-disgraced, widely-disgraced but still-beloved-by-some-Penn-Staters football coach who (among others) didn’t take sufficient steps to act on abuse suspicions about Jerry Sandusky.

The same company also make and sell statues of Pope Francis.

And a Duquesne Brewing Co. executive Mark Dudash, which produces something called Joe Paterno beer, believes his unexpectedly high sales are attributable to “a guardian angel up in heaven somewhere.”

When will we stop praising, honoring and rewarding powerful men who ignore, hide or enable heinous crimes against kids?

-"You may FEEL powerless, but. . ."

By David Clohessy

It may feel that way, but you’re NOT powerless

“I can’t prosecute. I can’t sue. I’m powerless.”

We hear some version of this from a survivor nearly every day.

It’s a horrible feeling: powerlessness.

It’s especially horrible if you’ve felt it before, when you were being abused.

Levada's arrest & stunning legal maneuver

By David Clohessy

Hundreds and hundreds of abuse survivors have talked with me over the past quarter century about their tough, tough struggles with addictions. So I took no pleasure when I read that the former second-highest ranking Vatican official was arrested in Hawaii on drunk driving charges.

But news reports identify Cardinal William Levada (an LA native who headed dioceses in Portland Oregon and San Francisco) as “the highest ranking American in the Vatican” at one point.

That’s true of course. But he was also head of the CDF, the church bureaucracy that enforces doctrine.

And before he was promoted to this post, he pulled perhaps the most hypocritical legal maneuver I’ve ever seen (and that’s saying a lot).

Here’s ex-LA Times journalist Bill Lobdell’s report:

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