Catholic cardinal stripped of duties as LA diocese child abuse files released, America Has an Incest Problem
February 2, 2013 Comments Off on Catholic cardinal stripped of duties as LA diocese child abuse files released, America Has an Incest Problem
Catholic cardinal stripped of duties as LA diocese child abuse files released
Retired Roger Mahony is said to have shielded priests accused of child abuse in Catholic archdiocese of Los Angeles
Reuters in Los Angeles guardian.co.uk, Friday 1 February 2013
The Catholic archdiocese of Los Angeles has removed a top clergyman linked to efforts to conceal abuse as it released thousands on files of priests accused of molesting children.
Archbishop Jose Gomez said he had stripped his predecessor, the retired cardinal Roger Mahony, of all public and administrative duties. “I find these files to be brutal and painful reading. The behaviour described in these files is terribly sad and evil,” Gomez said in a statement released by the US’s largest Catholic archdiocese.
“There is no excuse, no explaining away what happened to these children. The priests involved had the duty to be their spiritual fathers and they failed,” he said.
Mahony’s former top aide, Thomas Curry, also stepped down as bishop of Santa Barbara.
The 12,000 pages of files were made public more than a week after church records relating to 14 priests were unsealed as part of a separate civil suit, showing that church officials plotted to conceal the abuse from law enforcement agencies as late as 1987.
The documents showed that Mahony, 76, and Curry, 70, both worked to send priests accused of abuse out of the state to shield them from scrutiny….
America Has an Incest Problem
By Mia Fontaine Jan 24 2013
People are rightly horrified by abuse scandals at Penn State and in the Catholic church. But what about children who are molested by their own family members?
Last year offered plenty of moments to have a sustained national conversation about child sexual abuse: the Jerry Sandusky verdict, the BBC’s Jimmy Savile, Horace Mann’s faculty members, and a slew of slightly less publicized incidents. President Obama missed the opportunity to put this issue on his second-term agenda in his inaugural speech.
Child sexual abuse impacts more Americans annually than cancer, AIDS, gun violence, LGBT inequality, and the mortgage crisis combined—subjects that Obama did cover.
Had he mentioned this issue, he would have been the first president to acknowledge the abuse that occurs in the institution that predates all others: the family. Incest was the first form of institutional abuse, and it remains by far the most widespread.
Here are some statistics that should be familiar to us all, but aren’t, either because they’re too mind-boggling to be absorbed easily, or because they’re not publicized enough. One in three-to-four girls, and one in five-to-seven boys are sexually abused before they turn 18, an overwhelming incidence of which happens within the family. These statistics are well known among industry professionals, who are often quick to add, “and this is a notoriously underreported crime.”
Incest is a subject that makes people recoil. The word alone causes many to squirm, and it’s telling that of all of the individual and groups of perpetrators who’ve made national headlines to date, virtually none have been related to their victims. They’ve been trusted or fatherly figures (some in a more literal sense than others) from institutions close to home, but not actual fathers, step-fathers, uncles, grandfathers, brothers, or cousins (or mothers and female relatives, for that matter). While all abuse is traumatizing, people outside of a child’s home and family—the Sanduskys, the teachers and the priests—account for far fewer cases of child sexual abuse.
To answer the questions always following such scandals—why did the victims remain silent for so long, how and why were the offending adults protected, why weren’t the police involved, how could a whole community be in such denial?—one need only realize that these institutions are mirroring the long-established patterns and responses to sexual abuse within the family. Which are: Deal with it internally instead of seeking legal justice and protection; keep kids quiet while adults remain protected and free to abuse again….