- Sex abuse often not reported
- Secret church files detail anguish – Unprecedented look at struggle to manage a child sexual abuse crisis
- Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell – A local teacher who molested his charges was allowed to take a new job in West Virginia, where a student died in his care
Sex abuse often not reported 2/18/12
Officials and victim advocates say a silver lining in the high-profile child sex abuse scandal involving a former Penn State football coach is that more people are now coming forward about the historically underreported crime.
Cases often aren’t investigated because victims are hesitant to report the offenses and adults who suspect a child is being abused don’t know what to do, experts say.
“I think it is underreported, and I think it always will be,” said Capt. Kathi Rhodes, director of the Montgomery County police’s family crimes division. She said children are often pressured not to tell, or are too embarrassed.
Boys often believe they should have been able to fight off their abuser, said Curtis St. John, past president of Male Survivor.
Another difficulty is that cases require children to make reports about someone close to them. In Alexandria, 95 percent of alleged perpetrators “know the child, and know the child very well,” said Giselle Pelaez, executive director of the Center for Alexandria’s Children.
Secret church files detail anguish – Unprecedented look at struggle to manage a child sexual abuse crisis Feb. 19, 2012
It was March 4, 2009, and the bishop’s right-hand man, Monsignor J. Thomas Cini, was sitting in a conference room in Bart Dalton’s Wilmington law office.
Cini, vicar general of the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington and pastor of St. Ann’s Catholic Church, was surrounded by lawyers, answering questions under oath about a priest who had sexually abused children while working as a teacher in two Catholic schools.
The priest in this case, Paul Daleo, was a Capuchin friar, not a diocesan priest. But he was under contract to teach in the diocese, and no priest can minister here without the bishop’s permission. So attorney John Manly was pressing Cini to learn what the diocese knew about Daleo before granting that permission.
Manly zeroed in on a controversy that arose in 1979, when Daleo was teaching sex-education courses at St. Edmond’s Academy and St. John the Beloved. “What in Father Paul’s résumé stands out at you as making him qualified to teach kids about sex?” Manly asked Cini.
“Well, he did a lot of it,” Cini replied.
“Well, you may think that’s funny,” Manly shot back. “I don’t, and I’m sure Mr. Conaty doesn’t.”
Matthias Conaty, sitting nearby, was in fourth grade at St. Edmond’s when Daleo first took an interest in him. For almost four years, Daleo raped and sexually assaulted him. Now a grown man with children of his own, Conaty was suing Daleo, the diocese, the school and the religious order.
He could file suit because he fought to change Delaware’s statute of limitations. A 2007 law opened a two-year window for suits that would otherwise have been barred. As scores of lawsuits were filed, the Diocese of Wilmington filed for bankruptcy protection….
Last week, as those files reached the public for the first time, Conaty was among those calling for the resignation of Cini and two other top diocesan officials — monsignors Joseph Rebman and Clement Lemon — for their failure to report predatory priests to the authorities, to warn parents of their presence in the community, and their failure to place the safety of children above their concern about public scandal….
But, Krebs said, Cini did talk to him about that remark in the Daleo deposition and said he believes the attorney took his comment out of context. Cini told Krebs he wasn’t saying Daleo had engaged in a lot of sexual activity, but that he had taught a lot of sex-education courses….
The files also reveal church authorities’ ongoing struggle to contain the abuse, control information and rumors, negotiate payments and confidentiality agreements (no longer permitted) with those who said they were abused, remove priests from parishes where they had abused children and respond strategically whenever problems became public.
Among the church documents included in the files is a 1962 publication explaining how church officials must handle allegations of a sexual nature. Complete secrecy is demanded, under threat of excommunication — which, in church terms, means eternal damnation.
Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell
A local teacher who molested his charges was allowed to take a new job in West Virginia, where a student died in his care. By Aina Hunter Sep. 22, 2004
Former elementary school principal Edgar Friedrichs Jr. was convicted on four felony counts of child sexual abuse in January 2002. Last year he was indicted for the 1997 murder of a 12-year-old West Virginia boy. He began his career more than 30 years ago in Prospect Park, Pa….
From the stories extracted from the children–particularly those who served as crossing guards–Friedrichs had not only molested a number of boys, but had engaged in statutory rape.
The police were never involved. The parents, most of them now in their 60s, say principal Robert Castle and his superintendent believed it better if things were handled quietly. (Castle could not be reached for comment. His former secretary told PW that he’d moved to an undisclosed address in Florida.) Mr. Friedrichs and his wife simply disappeared….
Charol Shakeshaft, co-author of the Shakeshaft-Cohan study, the most recent scholarly work on sexual abuse in the classroom, says it’s not surprising that the Interboro superintendent in Prospect Park didn’t try to have Friedrichs’ teaching license revoked. In her 1995 study of 225 school districts across the country that had dealt with allegations of abuse by teachers, only 1 percent of the superintendents moved to have teachers’ licenses revoked.
Further, in the Shakeshaft-Cohan study, none of the surveyed superintendents involved police. “There is no excuse or rationale for that,” she says. “These are crimes, abuse and exploitation.”