Monday, June 11, 2012

At least the Bourbons forgot nothing

Our Archdiocese can't manage to remember its own party line on handling allegations of sexual abuse of minors by clergy, judging by today's newspaper account of its Vicar General's explanation to a local parish of why its pastor was placed on administrative leave.

Our Archdiocese's Clergy Sexual Abuse Policy includes,
"Each and every instance of sexual violation of those who are the most vulnerable among us is a matter of the gravest concern and calls for an organized archdiocesan response so that healing may occur and the safety of the community can be assured." [bold in original]
"If the civil authorities cannot proceed with criminal action for any reason and the case is returned to the archdiocese, there will be a thorough investigation of allegations using an established process which includes the Diocesan Review Board and an independent investigator. In accordance with the provisions of canon 1722, the cleric will be removed from any current ministry assignment or exercise of ministry and prohibited from any public exercise of ministry while the investigation is underway."
According to the Vicar General, the process is actually meant to avoid bad press and legal liability.
"'People will say, Why now? Why not wait? he commented, after reading the [prepared] statement. 'In our society, there are policies. If an accusation comes against a policeman, a coach, a teacher, anybody, they're immediately placed on administrative leave. We have to follow the policies of our society. If we don't, we will pay for it. We will pay in the court of public opinion.'

"'You know that the victims have lawyers, and you know they're watching us. You watch television. You see the kinds of things they say about the church on the courthouse steps. You don't want that kind of antic to take place against you. So right now, we'll just have to delay Father's retirement, just put it on hold, until we can conclude this very difficult process.'"
You might recall that a clergy sexual abuse victim who raised the issue of the amount of the settlement received quoted our Archdiocese's Chancellor as replying "'It's people like you that put the archdiocese in that situation." If anytime Chancery staff is without a script there's a risk they'll blame the victims, that's indicates a problem that's only emphasized by their attempts at media spin.

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