The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #134382   Message #3059844
Posted By: Joe Offer
23-Dec-10 - 03:52 AM
Thread Name: BS: And yet more abusing priests (Ireland)
Subject: RE: BS: And yet more abusing priests (Ireland)
Oh, I'm quite aware that many victims don't report crimes against children. But if it was reported to the church, why not to the police? And if the victim was an adult or accompanied by an adult at the time of the report, I would think it even more likely that they would report to the police. All of the known cases in my diocese of Sacramento were reported to the police and most resulted in convictions, but I don't know whether it was the victims or the diocese who reported the problem.

I suspect that the offenses may not have been reported to the church officials in a way that was credible. It takes a trained and perceptive interviewer to get the facts of a child molestation offense. Still, with abusers with multiple victims, it seems that the problem should have come to the attention of the police more often. Perhaps the Irish police does not have officers that specialize in crimes against children. Not having such officers would be unthinkable in urban police departments in the U.S.

When I came across allegations of child abuse or molestation in security clearance investigations, I relied chiefly on police and court records, and on the testimony of adult sources. There was a time or two when a supervisor suggested that I should interview a victim who was still a minor, and I refused. I saw no value in putting a child through that for a pre-employment or security investigation, although it would most probably be necessary in a criminal investigation. In cases that I investigated, the evidence for the criminal cases was gathered by law enforcement officers with extensive training in crimes against children.

I realize that many of you have your minds made up about all this, but I'm not so sure. It's easy to assume that the church officials were merely callous and evil and protective of their power structure, but was that really the case? My experience is most people (even priests) really would like to the right thing; but that failures like this are more likely to have been caused by people not knowing how to handle the situation - that's why police departments have specialists handle this sort of crime. It's too easy for an untrained interviewer to scare the victim away. We had one investigator who thought he was the best there was, but we constantly got complaints whenever he had to investigate problems of a sexual nature. He just didn't know how to do it in a way that didn't scare witnesses. He didn't intend to scare the witnesses - he just did. I'm sure a celibate, childless priest would not be the best kind of person to elicit sensitive and embarrassing information from a child.

In his message above, Ed T posted a number of Pope Benedict quotes from an address I had linked to. Ed, I think the Pope "gets it" now, and he's sincere in his comments. He really has no reason to dissemble any more. There's nothing more to hide. It's in his best interest to get it all out in the open and get it over and done with.