Capuchins Fail Survivors, Again

Fr. John Celichowski of the Capuchins religious order said Tuesday "through much of our history as a province, we have failed victims and survivors.”

He's wrong.

The Capuchins didn't "fail." Failure implies a good faith effort that somehow went awry. That's not what Catholic officials, dozens of them in this order and thousands of them across the world, have done. For the most part, they deliberately shunned victims, stonewalled prosecutors, deceived parishioners, moved predators and enforced secrecy and endangered kids. These are smart men with smart lawyers who made carefully-crafted and self-serving decisions.

These were not mistakes or failures or inadequacies. It's a disservice to children, victims, parishioners and the public to add insult to injury by deceiving people now about these intentional, hurtful and sometimes illegal actions.

In fact, the Capuchins succeeded. For decades - until victims gave up and wrongdoers died and statutes of limitations expired - they succeeded in keeping a tight lid on their dirty secrets.

And as the report notes, they escaped any consequences for violating the law by refusing to call police about known and suspected child sex crimes. 

So despite breaking the law, they've gotten off scot free.

The question is now: what will they do to make amends?

Here's an easy start: They should put on their website the name of the church defense lawyer who, as the AP says, "Threatened to reveal the sexual orientation of a victim if he testified in a criminal trial." And they should post an apology for having hired him and a pledge to never do so again.

Here's another easy start: They should start actively lobbying for better child safety laws. Having successfully exploited the predator-friendly statutes of limitations, they should now help abolish predator-friendly statues of limitations.

Contact: Barb Dorris, Outreach Director, 314-862-7688 [email protected]

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