By Kay Ebeling
(When different churches face charges of clergy sex crimes, they respond in similar ways, Kelly Clark tells City of Angels. A lawyer for plaintiffs in pedophile lawsuits regarding Mormon and Adventist clergy as well as Roman Catholic priests, Clark took time to sit down and answer several questions on video when we were in Portland Oregon last summer. His answers re similarities between religions' responses is transcribed here, with the video embedded for viewing below the transcript. We will use Clark's answers to other questions from last summer's interview in future blogs.)
Here, Clark says: "We find the same secrecy slash confidentiality emphasized in Mormon and Adventist cases, as we find in Catholic cases. I call it secrecy, the Churches call it Privacy or Confidentiality. They end up being sued not just for child abuse but for coverup as well.
"Another common theme is, Our work is too important to have our name smudged with child abuse claims. Another similarity in Mormon, Adventist, and Catholic Church sex abuse cases is institutional blindness.
"The Catholic Church is safer today, not because bishops got the Holy Spirit, but because they got sued over and over and over again.
"Anyplace where relationships of trust are being built with children, abuse can happen."
HERE IS THE TRANSCRIPT
The video is at our channel on YouTube, also embedded in this blog post at the bottom
Q : You have cases that are Seventh Day Adventist and Mormon and you were talking about similarities with the Catholic Church?
KC : Yes, Seventh Day Adventists, Mormon Church, Boy Scouts, we've done cases involving public and private schools, athletic leagues, any place where kids hang out, any place where relationships of trust are being built with children is where child abuse happens.
And the interesting dynamic, I think the piece the public needs to get here is that there’s a twofold truth here. One, these institutions almost always react to preserve their good name, to protect their self interest.
They almost always have the same instinctive response. Protect the institution.
Q : The institution and not the child?
KC : I don't think that's unique to the Catholic Church, I think that happens in a lot of different institutions. The second thing that I would say, and this is something I’ve thought about a lot, most of these institutions are good institutions, you know. They are institutions that we should want to improve, not want to throw out. I have always had a healthy respect for the Catholic, the best of the Catholic Church.
The Boy Scouts, the Mormon Church, the Adventist Churches, these are all institutions that do a lot of good for society and I think properly understood civil litigation can be a, a change agent. And to the extent that the Catholic Church is a safer place than it was 25 years ago, it’s not because the bishops got the Holy Spirit it’s because they got sued over and over and over again. And they decided to change what they were doing.
We're seeing the same dynamics in some of these other institutions as well, and I don't want to overlook the fact that these are good institutions that do a lot of good for society and need to be made better. We're not suing the child pornography industry here. You know, people who set out to do bad. We're suing people who set out to do good, and that's, that's sometimes an issue, it’s very much an issue in front of juries. Some juries don't want to award money against the Boy Scouts or a church.
Some juries don't want to award money against the Boy Scouts or a church
But if they begin to see that lawsuits may be the only way some of these organizations are going to change, then that level of understanding can lead to, I think, some positive things. That's what I hope this work does. That's what I see in common between all these institutions, because good institutions can be made better.
Q : Can you give an example of something similar in Mormon and a Catholic clergy sex abuse cases?
KC : Sure. The bishop will handle it. Yes, there’s a report that's made of child abuse.
The bishop in the Mormon Church means something very different than the bishop in a Catholic Church
Now the bishop in the Mormon Church means something very different than the bishop in a Catholic Church. The bishop in a Mormon Church is essentially a pastor of a local ward or a parish. So a complaint comes in and the family is told, I'm the bishop, I’ll handle it. And the family says great, they trust that that's going to be handled.
Well the same thing happens of course, we know unfortunately that it happened a lot in the Catholic Church. An allegation comes in about a priest, maybe the bishop meets with the family. I’ll take care of it, [BACKGROUND NOISE, TRAIN] I’ll speak to Father John, it won’t happen again, we'll take care of it. and then nothing happens or Father John gets a slap on the wrist and he’s back in ministry three months later.
The absolute trust of the families.
That the hierarchy of the church is going to do the right thing, that’s a frequent theme, same is true for scout leaders, in institutions across the board.
Q : Almost any religion that you deal with?
KC : Not just any religion, any organization that by definition is trying to do good. The reason I keep saying that is because I think there’s a certain sense in which these organizations think that the ends justify the means. We are such a noble organization, the work we're doing is so important, that we can’t afford to have our good name smudged by a public accusation of child abuse.
And so they think the ends justify the means, and that kind of institutional blindness I think is very-very dangerous. No institution no matter how good it is, is exempt or immune from the cancer of child abuse. Which is the reason they all have to be vigilant, look at their policies, put them in place, practice them, follow them, and when an allegation comes forward, do the right thing.
The right thing and the smart thing is the same thing.
Which is protect the child.
It’s the right thing to do for all the obvious moral reasons, it’s the smart thing to do because if you don't do that, and you get sued, then you're not just sued for child abuse, you're sued for coverup as well. And in these situations, it’s almost never a mistake, it’s almost always a coverup, that comes back to bite you in the rear end. So those are some of the similarities I see between all of these institutions of trust.
Q : What about secrecy in the other institutions?
KC : I see a lot of the same emphasis on secrecy slash confidentiality. I call it secrecy, the institutions tend to call it confidentiality or privacy. Where they want to handle things kind of behind the scenes.
There’s something about a culture of power and a culture of secrecy that go hand in hand. And in my opinion these organizations would do well, they would do the smart thing, and they would do the right thing, if they would get the secrets out.
Look, once the secrets come out, then healing can happen.
Governments understand this. The South African government had Truth and Reconciliation Hearings.
We're going to get the truth out, and once the truth gets out, they're going to get past apartheid and everybody is going to understand what our history has been, what mistakes were made, who was at fault, we're going to have forgiveness, and then we're going to move on. The South African government did that with apartheid.
None of the churches we've been talking about have yet gotten the truth out concerning child abuse.
That's why we had such a hard time getting documents released from the Catholic Church all over the country. The bishops promise they'll do it and then they don’t do it.
(We planned to produce a super video to post here, using this interview with music, wowser edits, and dissolves, and all that. But have not been able to get the video software I have on this computer to open these files…)
So posted above, Kelly Clark in raw video speaking with Kay Ebeling August 22, 2009, in his Portland, Oregon law firm offices.
Hey, I'm 61 years old, my sister doesn't even have email...
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Your Parish Lobbyists At Work
Anyone who was surprised that the Bishops were able to lobby Congress so BLATANTLY on health care this week has not been paying attention to the pedophile priest crisis and lobbying the Church has done in Ohio, Illinois, New York, Connecticutt, and on and on and on...
It's unfortunate but the entity that evokes the least faith and hope during these troubled times is the Catholic Church, revealing its true colors in city after city as it fights to prevent personnel files on pedophile priests from getting into the public's hands.
Any other organization that had produced five thousand pedophile priests and let them prey on families in nearly every city in the country would be under intense federal investigation. Since it is the Catholic Church, we get to see the United Conference of Catholic Bishops spend time in Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's office this week, while she phoned the Vatican, then allowed anti abortion language to enter the House Health Care Reform bill, possibly killing the chance for hundreds of thousands of poor people to get medical treatment.
This colony of felons allowed pedophilia to become institutional, and a population of pedophiles now operates around the country, confusing religious ceremony with rape of children..
IT NEVER STOPS:
Like In Missouri:
Of the six pedophiles, two generations of males in a town east of Kansas City, MO, arrested this week for ritualistic sex crimes against children,
Three were lay priests:
"Three of the men arrested this week were members of the Community of Christ lay priesthood: Burrell Mohler Sr., David Mohler and Jared Mohler. The priesthood licenses of all three were suspended Wednesday morning, said Linda Booth, church communications director."
What is this sick connection between mutated religious ceremonies and sex with children?
Read the article here:
Child sex abuse allegations may turn into a murder case
The Kansas City Star
By DONALD BRADLEYThe Kansas City Star
Catholics think the Times reports too much about clergy sex abuse... This quote from: Sunday New York Times Opinion piece:
James Martin, a priest and an editor of the Jesuit magazine "America" believes reporters at The Times work hard to get stories right, though he sometimes questions the prominence and frequency of articles about the church’s sex scandal....
From Jay Nelson:
The Return of Robert Sanchez
He’s back. They say criminals always return to the scene of the crime; bad pennies always show up again.So perhaps it was inevitable that the person of Robert Fortune Sanchez, the former Archbishop of Santa Fe disgraced by his own admitted abuse of at least five women along with gross negligence in his incompetent handling of the clergy abuse scandals, has once again shown up in his New Mexican homeland.Only now, he’s no longer a prelate, but a simple monk — a Franciscan friar, to be exact.
According to the website of the Franciscan Province of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the former archbishop has been a friar for two years now, and is celebrating his fiftieth anniversary as a Roman Catholic priest with his Franciscan brothers.He has so much to celebrate, after all. What a record. During his nineteen years as archbishop, hundreds of New Mexico children were sexually abused by his priests, while he did virtually nothing to stop them. Nor did the chief shepherd of the community minister at all to victims and their families and parishes hurt by these monsters.... Read More Here
Meanwhile, so much for closure:
Sentencing brings some closure to victims of priest's abuse
Nov 10, 2009
By: Laurel Myers, Sudbury Northern Life
Four grown men, with tears streaming down their faces, stood up in a courtroom and told their stories of lifelong pain, feelings of shame and loneliness. More than a quarter of a century ago, the four men, between 12 and 17 years of age at the time, each served as an altar boy at their local Catholic church, under the guidance of Father Bernard Cloutier.
Catholic priest released on bail one day after sentencing for sexual abuse
From Wednesday's Globe and Mail
Nov. 11, 2009 12:00AM EST
A Catholic priest who moved from parish to parish in Northern Ontario for a decade abusing altar boys was freed on bail yesterday, less than 24 hours after he was sentenced to five years behind bars. Mr. Justice Michael Moldaver of the Ontario Court of Appeal characterized his decision to grant Father Bernard Cloutier bail as "a very close call" - particularly given the judge's misgivings about how the public might react to his prompt release. "The public could lose faith in the administration of justice if they see this as a revolving door - he's in for a day and then he's out," he remarked.
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