The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Monday, August 01, 2005

Has the Blade done it again?

First, there was Tiger Force. Then there was Coingate.

Now, it seems, Toledo Blade excavations have hit another rich seam.

The standard story arc of the Catholic Church and its altar-boy-loving priesthood has concerned parents being received by some flunky to the Hierarchy and either being threatened with hell-fire if they ever dare to repeat their allegations; or given buckets full of the old soft soap. The priests are, perhaps, moved on. The Purple Pandjandrums continue to bask in the adulation of their flocks.

It all stays within the seal of not of the confessional but of the mortal dread in which simpler folk hold their incense-scented demi-gods.

The Blade offers us something different:
Church leaders feared a popular priest known for helping wayward youths - the Rev. Dennis Gray - was raping and molesting boys at the cleric's cottage, and Father Thomas, superintendent of diocesan schools, wanted [Sgt John Connors] advice on what to do...

The officer said he told the priest to keep Father Gray away from kids, and that was it.

Case closed.

It seems that
Sergeant Connors was following an unwritten rule passed down from predecessors for decades.

The 5,000 word piece says that
The practice of concealment has been a part of local enforcement culture since the 1950s as the church was cementing its role as a social service powerhouse - an institution that urged young Catholics to seek careers in public service, including law enforcement.

The police chief back then, Anthony Bosch, was - surprise, surprise! -
once state leader of the church's largest fraternal organization, the Knights of Columbus.

Eventually - after two or three decades - a cop would cross the line:
Officer Bill Gray found the Rev. Robert Thomas in a Southwyck mall restroom receiving oral sex from a 16-year-old boy, who told the officer the priest had "made" him do it, police reports stated. Although the priest claimed the teen "motioned me with his eyes," Officer Gray would not be dissuaded from arresting the cleric.

The upshot:
The priest not only avoided jail time, but a judge agreed to seal the record of his arrest and charge. Judges and prosecutors said such a sealing, called an expungement, was rare at the time for those charged and convicted of sex crimes.

Was the judge a Knight of Columbus as well, I wonder?

The titular head of this seraglio of catamites is one Bishop Leonard Blair, whose concern for his flock is truly touching:
Many [victims] who have responded have spoken of their anguish at each republication of previously published stories about their experiences and those of other survivors, indicating that such repeated accounts actually impede their healing by reopening old wounds.

Ironic that, while the Ku Klux Klan has long passed into political irrelevance, the grip of its sworn enemy, the Catholic Church, appears not greatly to have diminished.

Mother of Mercy, whatever happened to RICO? A cursory search that bringing off a a civil RICO suit is as improbable as passing that camel through the eye of a needle - and no lube allowed!

As for criminal RICO, this suggests that
it is hard to find the prosecutor daring enough to charge the higher-ups in a religious organization, like the Roman Catholic Church, with serious crimes.

Even assuming the US Attorney himself isn't a Knight of Columbus. (Is Patrick Fitzgerald?)

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