Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Los Angeles Archdiocese Releases Limited Records

The Los Angeles Archdiocese has acknowledged the depth of their historical problem with child molesting priests--but why has it taken so long for them to release this information?
LOS ANGELES — Newly released records of sex abuse claims against 126 priests that are at the core of hundreds of lawsuits against the Archdiocese of Los Angeles show that church officials for decades moved accused priests between counseling and new assignments.

Attorneys for 500 alleged victims and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles (search) had previously agreed to release the information, but lawyers for accused clergy succeeded in blocking publication, arguing it would violate priests' privacy rights. An appellate court last month ordered the documents to be released after nearly three years of legal wrangling.
Privacy rights? There's a privacy right when you are accused (apparently with good reason) of child molestation? I'm glad to see the appellate court gave that argument a Bronx cheer--but it shows how much the ACLU's molestation of the Constitution has perverted its meaning that the lawyers for the priests could make that argument without embarrassment.
The documents offer details in numerous cases, though much of the information has already been published. In many of the files, there was little mention of child molestation. Instead, euphemisms such as "boundary violations" were used to describe the conduct.

One priest, who served as a teacher and administrator at numerous Southern California schools, was convicted of molesting two boys and given probation. The conviction was later expunged from his record. A subsequent report was made in 1994 of "boundary violations," in which he allegedly patted the buttocks of a teenager. He entered alcohol treatment days later and was eventually placed on leave.

Another priest's file shows the archdiocese received repeated complaints that he engaged in "inappropriate sexual conduct with children" beginning in 1959, but that it did not appear to take significant action against him until 1994 when he was relieved of his duties, according to the documents.
I am trying to imagine how screwed up the Catholic Church must have been that a priest could have an accusation like that in 1959 (a year that predates the Sexual Revolution) and it took 35 years to relieve him of his duties.
Many bishops have said they were misled by therapists to believe that a sexual attraction to young people could be cured.
I'm not sure exactly when the psychiatric community figured out that fixated pedophiles (the category who tend to go into teaching, clergy, Scoutmaster as a way to get access to little boys) are not usually repairable. I guess that I can understand why the Catholic Church might have been prepared to give the benefit of the doubt to someone that a therapist pronounced "cured." But a lot of these pedophile priests were repeatedly "cured" and then went out and did it again. How long does it take to start to see a pattern?

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