Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Assumptions About Sex Crimes By Catholic Priests

In many recent discussions on news outlets about criticism of the Catholic church's handling of sex crimes by priests there seems to be an assumption that these crimes stopped happening decades ago because the civil lawsuits against the Catholic church relate to allegations of criminal behavior decades ago.

This assumption is false and it is dangerous as demonstrated by an active case in Minnesota.
NEW DELHI - A Roman Catholic priest charged with sexually assaulting a teenage parishioner in Minnesota said Tuesday he would willingly leave his native India and try to clear his name in the courts if the United States tried to extradite him.

Meanwhile, the bishop who oversees the Rev. Joseph Palanivel Jeyapaul said he had overruled a Vatican recommendation that the accused priest be removed from the priesthood and applied his own lesser punishment.

"Unless guilt is proved, we cannot take any strong action," said the Most Rev. A. Almaraj of the Diocese of Ootacamund in southern India.
This statement is wrong. They need to take strong action to protect parishioners unless the person accused has been exonerated. This response assumes the allegation to be a false one which is what happened in many of the historic cases which have cost the Catholic church dioceses millions of dollars.

The mistrust of the Catholic church leadership is warranted until they prove that they have learned from the negligence of the past and have applied what they learned in a way which disenables sexual crimes.

From a Minneapolis Star Tribune story from 2 days ago:
For the second time in five days, evidence surfaced Monday that officials in the Roman Catholic Church ignored warnings from an Upper Midwest bishop about a priest sexually abusing children.

Bishop Victor Balke of the Diocese of Crookston tried three times to alert superiors about a visiting priest accused of raping a 15-year-old girl in 2005. The Rev. Joseph Jeyapaul, a native of India who served in the diocese in 2004 and 2005, returned to India before criminal charges were filed. Roseau County authorities are seeking to have him returned to Minnesota to face rape charges.
The good part of this story is that there are people within the Catholic church hierarchy who are trying to stop abusive priests, but the bad part is that these people are too often being ignored.


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posted by Marcella Chester @ 8:59 AM   0 comments links to this post


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