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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Monday, December 07, 2009

Placa accuser says, if Canon Trial can clear priest of molestation charges, clearly New York needs new laws

By Kay Ebeling

Richard Tollner was driving home from a meeting with a client Friday night when he found out from a reporter that the priest he accused of pedophile sex crimes had been “cleared” by a canonical trial.

“A Newsday reporter called me Friday night and asked what do you think of the results of the trial,” Tollner told City of Angels this morning. “I said what do you mean trial. She says, the canonical trial. I said, I wouldn't know. I’ve been calling the archdiocese the last two years, all they say is ‘We have nothing to report,” Tollner said.

“It’s occurrences like this, Placa being cleared, that create the need for a Child Victims’ Act in New York,” Tollner added. The current statute of limitations for Placa's charged crimes ran out in 1982. “The Church made it look like there’s only one person who’s come forward about Placa and that's not the case, there’s three known victims.”

Richard Tollner testified at that canonical trial that “cleared” Alan Placa and, before last week, had been waiting over two years to hear the results. “I used to call every month asking what are you going to do about Placa.”

At those Canonical hearings in the Albany archdiocese business offices, Tollner had to use Church provided legal counsel for the hearings: “The church provided me with a what they call a Promoter of Justice. Then he was always on vacation when I called him with questions,” Tollner said.

“We were basically supposed to just use the church people, I could use an attorney for counsel but not in the hearing.”

That “canonical penal trial” ordered by Vatican ended up clearing the charges and Alan Placa is now going to be reinstated as a priest.

"They had testimony, they just didn't listen."

“The hearings were right here in Albany, in the church offices, just in a conference room. It was a very simple thing, it was basically three judges, they were priests from upstate New York and a guy from Philadelphia

“We hit them right between the eyes with exactly what they needed, and they never heard us," Tollner said. "I'm surprised," with the results.

“We had five witnesses who were fellow seminarians, family members, and other victims

“Other victims



Sometimes they just submitted written testimony but they still submitted witness testimony to the trial.

“I was there five or six times, spent about two hundred hours on research and preparation, because this was super hard testimony," Tollner said.

News reports from last week state: "Placa was placed under investigation by the Church after he was identified as 'Priest F' in a grand jury investigation in New York's Suffolk County. The grand jury heard testimony from three alleged victims, two students and an altar boy, who said that a "Priest F" had molested them in the 1970s,” the paragraphs that are picked up and repeated in most the news articles about Placa’s cleared charges state:

City of Angels knows of at least two other victims of Placa who could be witnesses but refuse to come forward and testify.

When the Newsday reporter called Tollner, “Boy was she surprised because I was like, you've gotta be kidding me,” Tollner said. “Because I thought they’d do something. I was expecting them to do something, I didn't know if they would laicize him, but that's what they wanted them to do.

Tollner says he testified before at least five times in the canonical hearings two years ago along with several other witnesses.

Still, “A lot of people I talked to are not surprised that Placa was cleared,” Tollner said, “because Placa was also an attorney for the church, he was handling their sex abuse cases.

“If people find out that the attorney who handled their cases and talking people out of going to the police, which Placa did, he talked victims out of filing charges. When they find out he was sexually abusing kids himself, you’d think that would go to his character, as an attorney.”

I asked Tollner, What are you going to do, if the Child Victims Act passes, and he said, “I’ll be very happy for the other victims.”


How Mainstream News Covers the Story:

New York Daily News
Msgr. Alan Placa, longtime friend of Rudy Giuliani, not guilty of molesting ...
New York Daily News - Rachel Monahan - ‎Dec 6, 2009‎
Msgr. Alan Placa, a close friend of Rudy Giuliani, is cleared of allegations that he molested a teenager in 1975. ...

Bishop confronted over clearing priest of abuse charge Newsday (subscription)

Church clears Giuliani friend in abuse case The Associated Press

all 195 news articles »

ABC News

Sex Abuse Victims' Groups Outraged By Vatican Decision to Clear Accused Priest
ABC News - Avni Patel - ‎1 hour ago‎
The Diocese of Rockville Centre announced on Friday that the Catholic Church had found Monsignor Alan Placa not guilty of molesting teenage boys, ...

Former vice-chancellor of LI diocese cleared of sex abuse claim
Commonweal - Paul Moses - ‎14 hours ago‎
... ago against a former vice-chancellor of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, Monsignor Alan Placa, over an incident that allegedly occurred 34 years ago. ...

Placa's diocesan career
Newsday (subscription) - ‎Dec 4, 2009‎
Monsignor Alan PlacaAge: 65Education: BA degree from Manhattan College; Ph.D. in Theology from Fordham University; JD from Hofstra University School of Law. ...


Alan Placa may be cleared by a Canonical Trial but here's his record in Bishop Accountability:

Newsday 4.17.02;
NY Times 4.19.02;
Newsday 5.14.02;
Newsday 6.03.02;
Newsday 6.07.02;
Newsday 6.14.02;
Suffolk Co. Grand Jury Report 1.17.03;
NY Times 2.01.03;
Telegram & Gazette 2.17.03;
Newsday 2.11.03;
NY Times 2.20.03;
Compasso et al v. Volmer et al, 4.14.03;
Newsday 4.15.03;
NY Times 12.04.03;
Worcester Telegram & Gazette 7.22.07

ABC News 10.23.07 (add'l article);
EDGE Boston 10.24.07 (add'l article);
Albany Times Union 11.07.07 (add'l article);
Inside Catholic 11.26.07 (add'l article);
Statement by Diocese of Rockville Centre 12.4.09 (add'l article); Assignment Record and Other Info


City of Angels interviewed Richard Tollner for a 2007 story:

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Giuliani hired the pedophile priest who crafted Church defense of pedophile priests, while a New York pedophile priest predator himself
By Kay Ebeling
How did a predator pedophile priest end up as legal counsel at a center for pedophile priests, crafting Catholic legal strategies for pedophile priests at the same time as he was committing sex crimes against minors himself? Today that same Monsignor Alan Placa is close advisor to Rudy Giuliani who is running for President of the United States.


Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Giuliani as president would mean advisors like Alan Placa, the pedophile priest/attorney who created Church policy for pedophile priests
By Kay Ebeling
A New York grand jury ends its report on Alan Placa, pedophile priest, with these words: “Ironically, Priest F would later become instrumental in development of Diocesan policy in response to allegations of sexual abuse of children by priests.” Irony? More like criminal conspiracy. Below are more quotes from Suffolk County about Placa, who today whispers in Rudy Giuliani’s ear, plus an interview with Richard Tollner, one of Placa’s more vocal accusers. ...

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