Vatican Clears Monsignor of Abuse Claims Despite Review Board Finding Them Credible
Despite a local review board determining allegations against a now-deceased monsignor to be “credible and substantiated,” Catholic officials in the Vatican overturned that decision. We believe more stock should be put in the decision made by local members of the review board as opposed to that of Church officials from afar and we hope that victims are not discouraged by news of the Vatican’s decision.
Allegations against Monsignor Francis Boyle were discovered during the Archdiocese of New York’s independent reconciliation program and those allegations were then considered by the Archdiocesan review board. To us, this is an issue of common sense. Who is most likely to reach a reasonable conclusion; a local mix of professionals, including both lay Catholics and clerics, or a handful of clerical bureaucrats in Rome? This situation seems akin to when a police officer is subjected to citizen complaints, a local review board advises that disciplinary measures be taken, and those suggestions are overridden by higher-ups in the police department.
Ultimately, this is another example of why it is critical that allegations of abuse are weighed and investigated by independent and secular sources. This is also a demonstration of why giving victims of abuse their chance for a day in court is critical for transparency and accountability. If these allegations had been made in open court, the information would be publicly available and less subject to interpretation by Catholic officials a thousand miles away.
An independent review board is still a Church entity, but it is at least slightly more independent than the process used by decision makers in Rome. We hope that this story will encourage others who have been hurt by clerics to find the courage to come forward and make a report to police and prosecutors before making a report to Catholic officials. That way, there can at least be some level of secular oversight and involvement.
CONTACT: Brian Toale, SNAP Manhattan ([email protected], 646-657-9278), Janet Klinger, SNAP Plainview ([email protected], 516-749-3798), Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director (517-974-9009, [email protected])
(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)