At age five, 1954, "the Bishop" (Chicago's Cardinal Stritch) stood over me and said, I had to "stop babbling" about what the priest did to me. It took me 40 years to talk about it again. Today, I babble.

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Friday, September 11, 2009

Pedophile priests live free and unmonitored in neighborhoods all over the country.

By Kay Ebeling

EXTRA: Since they do not have to register on sex offender lists, hundreds of known pedophile priests live unsupervised in neighborhoods all over the USA, thanks to the Catholic Church’s current way of avoiding accountability for decades of sex crimes. First the Church transfered priests from parish to parish. Now they defrock them and forget about them. And since no one "legally" admits guilt in most civil settlements, pedophiles who are now former priests live wherever they want, free of criminal records or public knowledge of their crimes.

SNAP gives a real clear suggestion of what to do with priests who are sexual predators in a statement they put out today from Vermont, but it really applies to the entire country.

“Bishops should centrally house and oversee them in remote, secure, widely publicized and professionally-run centers. This ensures that the predators get treatment and that kids are protected."

Hmm, sounds like Servants of the Paraclete were onto something back in the 1950s when they tried to buy a remote island to house these guys like lepers...

As is so often the case with sex offenders, these pedophile priests will likely continue to act out as sex criminals.

First pedophile priests were transferred from parish to parish, now the Catholic Church turns them loose on society, still evading accountability for decades of sex crimes against children and adolescents. The Bishops seem to think they can turn these pedophile priests loose on society and then wipe their hands and say they've done their job.

The SNAP statement continued:

“While hundreds of the roughly five thousand pedophile priests across the US have died or are locked up, most now quietly live unsupervised, on their own, in neighborhoods where parents are unaware of their crimes. This puts kids at risk of more abuse.

"According to an independent research group called
Bishop Accountability,
13 priests and nuns who worked for the church in Vermont are proven, admitted or credibly accused sex offenders. While some have died, SNAP believes most walk free, live independently, and get little/inadequate church supervision.

“Bishops recruit, educate, ordain, hire, supervise, transfer, shield, and defend priests, some of whom molest kids. So SNAP feels church officials have a moral and civic duty to do more than merely suspend them.”

It feels so good to see powerful words and statements like this come out of SNAP.

God knows how many more children in America are in danger thanks to this defrock 'em and forget about 'em practice, which is the next step in the Church’s bungling of the predator priest problem.

I watched L.A.’s Cardinal Roger Mahony literally wipe his hands and boast he no longer had anything to do with George Neville Rucker when I attended one of Mahony's “apology sessions” with a plaintiff in L.A. Clergy Cases 2007.

Today, when you ask an American bishop, where are the perpetrator priests from your archdiocese now, they shrug as if defrocking these priests shed the Church of anymore responsibility.

Of the five thousand pedophile priests identified so far as predators in the U.S. from the past 70 years, sure, some have died.

But where are the rest of them?

We know Rucker lives at Nazareth House, a retirement home in a tony part of L.A.’s west side and Michael Wempe was last known to live in Leisure World down at the beach. How many other perpetrator priests are living in neighborhoods around the country thanks to the Church’s ongoing neglect of their duty to society from this problem.

The defrocked pedophile priests often live on Social Security, Medicare, and whatever money they can con out of the wealthy individuals they met while they were still priests.

As is so often the case with sex offenders, these pedophile priests will likely continue to act out as sex criminals.

Even Fox News gets it that we have too many sexual predators living in communities where they endanger law abiding people:

"There are 674,000 convicted sex offenders in the United States. An estimated 100,000 of them have failed to register. And their sheer numbers are overwhelming police efforts to keep track of them, according to police and experts in the field. other places where children congregate, they have been forced to settle down in more remote, often rural, areas where restrictions haven’t been imposed or there is enough space to avoid them."

(I would not have seen the Fox News story without the help of Off My Knees blog by Michael Baumann.)

They aren’t counting the five thousand or so Catholic priests who have been defrocked and forgotten by the bishops. After the Church pours millions of dollars into the legal battle to keep the priests from ever being convicted or to keep them from admitting guilt, only a handful of the identified pedophile priests have landed on sex offender lists.

We still plan to post two more stories about Jay Nelson's book Sons of Perdition in the next few days... that's life in the world of blogging.

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Anonymous said...

I can certainly appreciate your concern. But legally, most of these priests do not have to register since they were never convicted of a crime. So when Fox News says 100,000 predators are unregistered, that's why.

I'm not sure I understand what you want the bishops to do. If they have these guys defrocked, the men are free to do what they want. They are no longer bound by holy orders. If they remain priests, critics cry that their bishops are not being tough enough on them.

There's nothing keeping these men from just packing up and leaving. Priests leave the priesthood all the time for all kinds of reasons, and being monitored is one of them. Is this an ideal situation? Of course not, but there's really no way to completely fix the situation.

city of angels lady said...

So what? You just shrug and say oh well? This is a precedent setting situation, we have to find creative answers, not just look the other way.

city of angels lady said...

This came to my email re this story: That headline should be "all over the world" not just country. My perp lives free to do as he pleases in Ireland. All the home boys run to their native countries to avoid jail.

JohnB said...

Another great post Kay. The GCAC (Global clergy Abuse Crisis/Coverup) certainly needs to be exposed for what it is - a pox and a blight upon humanity as the world is beginning at last to acknowledge for to leave your head in the sand on this one simply exposes yourself and others to wanton and wholesale rape at the hands of catholic and other clergy.


Michael said...

The Catholic Church has shirked its "legal" responsibilities for decades (centuries may be more accurate). Keeping credibly accused priests, nuns and other religious away from unsuspecting families is a moral imperative.

My perp was moved to "avoid scandal". He was housed in a facility in Dittmer, Missouri (conveniently away from the jurisdiction that could have prosecuted him) for almost a decade before being moved to a long term care facility.

Since pedophile protection and relocation was a de facto practice of the Catholic hierarchy, they have a moral and ethical obligation to protect children by keeping these monsters segregated from the innocent public.

Unfortunately, many actions and practices of the Catholic church are neither moral nor ethical.

Anonymous said...

Great stuff, as always, Kay.

I'd like to respond to the Anonymous comment asking what the bishops are expected to do.

For starters, they can stop spending millions of parishioners' dollars fighting necessary Statute of Limitations reforms.

They can stop their coordinated campaigns of threats, intimidation and personal attacks against state legislators who author and sponsor Statute of Limitation bills.

They can stop attacking victims and survivers which thereby creates an environment too hostile for others to come forward and report crimes.

They can stop firing teachers and principals who report abuse and stop promoting everyone else who keeps the secret.

They can stop following the "protect the church at all costs" Crimen Sollicitationis secret policy and start acting in a way that at least resembles the openness and transparency they promised in the charter.

Please don't believe for a second that the bishops have good hearts and are doing their level best for children and survivors.

They are complicit - to this day - in corrupt, criminal and immoral activity. Please don't be a fool and fall for their lame excuses.

Anonymous said...

I was a victim of Father Sean Cronin in the LA Archdiocese. He was ordained in Dublin, Ireland and then sent to Los Angeles. I did ask the LA Archdiocese recently what his status was and they told me the Vatican was reviewing his case. I also contacted the One in Four organization in Ireland to give them a heads up in case he decides to go back to Ireland and live in quiet, comfortable retirement courtesy of the LA Archdiocese, prowling the streets for teenage boys.