home | post | search
Catholic church cover-up - A Blade investigative story says the police, judges, and even prosecutors helped to hide sex abuse crimes in local Catholic churches. "Over the past 50 years, those sworn to enforce the law and protect children repeatedly have aided and abetted the diocese in covering up sexual abuse by priests."
It's a long, fascinating, and disturbing article in Sunday's paper, but it's worth the read.
Some of the lowlights:
"The Blade investigation shows that at least once a decade - and often more - priests suspected of rape and molestation have been allowed by local authorities to escape the law."
"In five cases, police officers refused to arrest or investigate priests suspected of sexually abusing children. One longtime Toledo police chief pressured subordinates not to arrest priests."
"For years, bishops and police treated abusive priests as fallen clerics rather than criminals, preferring to send them to treatment centers instead of jails. The unwritten policy helped perpetuate a cycle that allowed church leaders to continue covering up the crimes of pedophile priests for decades."
"Bishop Leonard Blair insists the diocese is focused "to do everything humanly possible to address past acts of sexual abuse and to protect children and young people from sexual abuse in the future." "
Sorry, but I don't believe Bishop Blair is doing everything he can.
"Diocese leaders won't discuss how they and their predecessors worked with law enforcement authorities for decades to ensure pedophile priests avoided the spotlight."
See, no openness. Come clean, Catholic church. Tell all. And how long has the cover-up been aided by local law officials?
"The practice of concealment has been a part of local enforcement culture since the 1950s."
"When members of St. Stephen's Church in East Toledo went to police in 1960 to complain that the Rev. Alexander Pinter was raping and molesting altar boys at a cottage in western Lucas County, no report was filed nor was an investigation ordered."
"Such a policy - tacitly approved by authorities - led to untold suffering by those victimized, said David Clohessy, the executive director of a national advocacy group for clerical sex-abuse victims, called Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests."
From what I understand, Bishop Blair has been in Toledo since the end of 2003, and he still has not met with local SNAP members. Why is that? What's his problem? He just said he was doing everything humanly possible. Doesn't look that way.
More from the Blade story:
"The priest not only avoided jail time, but a judge agreed to seal the record of his arrest and charge. The culture of concealment has left the subset of pedophile priests nearly untraceable, with questions remaining about the access they might still have to children."
Check out this lame and insulting excuse given by Bishop Blair in a prepared statement about why the diocese today refuses to discuss how law officials helped the Catholic church conceal its sex crimes. Blair's words:
"Many [victims] who have responded have spoken of their anguish at each republication of previously published stories about their experiences and those of other survivors, indicating that such repeated accounts actually impede their healing by reopening old wounds."
Oh, I see. Bishop Blair and the Catholic church all of sudden now cares about the victims. They care so much about those sexually abused by priests that the diocese doesn't want to talk about it. Talking about it opens old wounds. What a cop-out.
Claudia Vercellotti, co-leader of the Toledo chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests said of Blair's deflection strategy:
"Victims have always wanted answers and honest answers, no matter how painful. It's outrageous they would use victims in this juncture as a buffer between exposing the truth and remaining silent."
If Blair was truly doing everything possible, he would meet with SNAP, and he wouldn't make such stupid remarks about victims. And maybe more info should come from the police and the courts about their special relationship with the Catholic church.
posted by jr to religion at 6:26 P.M. EST (27 Comments)
Given my own personal history, this isn't a topic I often get into. However, what happened with the police cover ups and the other behavior that is considered so outrageous being laid at the door of the Catholic church is no different than how the whole issue of sexual abuse of children was handled during that time period for non-priests as well. The majority of time it was a teacher or someone that was supposed to be "respected" it was swept under the carpet.
While I do not believe the diocese has been as honest as they could have been in dealing with this situation, the fact that everyone seems to forget this is not just about priests that there is a greater risk then and now that you as a child or one of your children will be sexually abused by a teacher or a counselor than a priest seems to be forgotten is rather disturbing.
Most of the people that raise the biggest hue and cry about priests never address the whole picture of how prevalent this type of behavior is in areas outside of the Church.
I can tell you there are a lot of us who have managed to get on with our lives without the ability to get financial settlements from the Church. That have had to deal with this issue and really get irritated that these larger numbers of victims seem to be forgotten in the Church bashing that totally ignores the real issue. People who we trust our children with that do not deserve our trust. If it were only priests guilty of this, or if priests had a higher number of episodes it would be understandable. However, that is not reality.
posted by psyche777 at 06:42 P.M. EST on Mon Aug 01, 2005 #
Psyche - I applaud you (and others) for being able to pick up the pieces and go forward. Having never been subjected to that type of situation, I would not insult any victim by saying "I know how you feel" but would rather support your progress in SPITE of the situation.
I applaud you and the others. Life is a journey borne of many circumstances - some pleasant, some not. What we do with those is what makes us who we are.
posted by DoknowDocare at 07:04 P.M. EST on Mon Aug 01, 2005 #
Exactly, Do, sounds cliche but you really have little choice over the cards you are dealt, but you can learn to make the best of them.
posted by psyche777 at 07:11 P.M. EST on Mon Aug 01, 2005 #
No one is saying sexual abuse doesn't happen in other areas of society. I happen to believe that priests, preachers, pastors, religious leaders are a unique and special group of people.
But that doesn't mean Catholic priests who engage in sexual abuse should receive more favorable treatment than other sex abusers. And this special treament seems to be more prevelant among the Catholic priests than anywhere else. They are the largest religious org in this area. They are a big org period. The teachers union is strong in the U.S., but they don't have anything like the Vatican.
From that Blade article:
"While the sexual abuse crisis continues to unfold across the country, the deeper issue of police protection is now emerging, particularly in places with deeply rooted Catholic populations and where church members reached some of the most powerful positions in those communities."
Example of special treatment:
"The Rev. Robert Fisher molested a 14-year-old Wood County girl over a series of months in 1987 and was sentenced to 30 days in jail - rare in a time when people convicted of similar crimes were sentenced to a year or two in prison. "What would have happened if it would have been the janitor [who molested the girl]?" said the Rev. Thomas Doyle, a national advocate for victims of clerical sex abuse. "That's what angers the community. That's what angers victims." "
I doubt the police department provides a special contact person for abusers from other walks of life
"Among those officers who worked with the church was Sergeant Connors, a one-time seminary student who spent decades moonlighting as a private investigator for the diocese. "I can tell you that there was always somebody they could go to in the police department," the retired detective recalled. "And I can tell you that, at one time, I was that man." "
"The administrators of the region's largest religious denomination "knew who to call in the police department" to ensure allegations involving diocese employees were investigated quietly. The diocese was allowed to deal with the results - away from the criminal justice system and a public spotlight."
Maybe politicians and high-powered executives could get that kind of special treatment.
But other sex abusers don't hold beer and bingo festivals to raise money for their organization.
For any problem, if a person couldn't get help at home or at school or from friends, I thought the church, any church, was always there to provide. That's why I don't think the sexual abuse by priests can lumbed into the same category as abuse by teachers or coaches or troop leaders. Sexual abuse is bad no matter who does it. Priests are special people, and therefore, they will get more media coverage than an accountant who is abusing someone.
We might go through life distusting most people we meet, but you'd think you could at least trust your priest. You'd like to be able to trust your accountant too, but definitely the priest.
Of all the people in the world you'd think you could trust, don't you think a priest would be near the top of the list? Think about confessions. Who else would you trust confessions with? An accountant?
posted by jr at 07:44 P.M. EST on Mon Aug 01, 2005 #
Now you’ve gone and gotten me started.
Rant mode on…
Oh, how the mighty have fallen...
Not enough nuns for the classrooms in all of the parochial schools;
Not enough priests to man the many churches;
And, Not enough butts in the pews, supporting the churches, to maintain the clergy's regal lifestyle.
And, rounds of parish closings/consolidations ensue.
I wonder, could there be a connection/correlation?
And, it's about time...
It’s about time for a metamorphosis.
What replaces the old Catholic Church (as we knew and remembered it) will necessarily be more GOD oriented and less about the false princes of the church, self proclaimed royalty (and, above man's laws).
The road to hell if paved with fallen priests... May their bones provide the ashes that the new Catholic Church is “born” from.
The old Catholic Church was a very big business. And, as we all know, "It's all about the money. The money, the power, the control, privileges, and about being above the law, only answerable to GOD, not mere men...
Whew! Where did THAT come from?
Rant mode off.
Note that I avoided using the bold tags as much as possible (read as, would have liked to… ;-)
posted by Hooda_Thunkit at 07:57 P.M. EST on Mon Aug 01, 2005 #
I'd also feel that I should be able to trust a counselor or a teacher Jr.
All I can do is relate from personal history, however I can tell you during the late 70's it was not just the rich who got a similar free pass as the priests did. Nor am I alone in that experience.
For the record, the person that helped me most was a priest. Given the actual numbers of priests who abuse compared to other groups? I'll still take my chances with a priest.
The simple fact remains whether priest, doctor, lawyer, teacher or indian chief, there are those who are going to abuse our trust. Do we work to make it easier in the future to prevent this or do we continue to focus on one small part of the past to get headlines and sell stories. I opt for the making the future one where no child is abused by anyone. That is not going to be the end result of focusing merely on priests. Should the story be buried? No of course not, but as long as the focus continues to be on these men and not on the whole issue of sexual abuse of children very little will be accomplished.
Now if the goal is to make sure that many diocese close due to bankruptcy and that the Catholic Church is eliminated? This type of focus on priests and the Church alone would probably be more productive. I fully support anyone who demands those still living be dealt with to help them resolve their past. However that right should extend to us all. Many of the priests in question are dead, so what can be accomplished? How can they realistically even defend themselves? Especially when some of these are from "repressed memories". False claims of abuse especially from repressed memories happens. To me as in the case of women who claim they were raped but were not it hurts those who were truly victims.
I wasn't lucky enough to forget it. So please excuse me if I have a hard time mustering up sympathy for those who's real goal is financial rather than justice. For those that actually seek justice? I hope they find it somehow.
posted by psyche777 at 08:09 P.M. EST on Mon Aug 01, 2005 #
Another reason why the abuse by Catholic priests is perceived as being different than the abuse by people in other professions is the Catholic church's reaction to Senate Bill 17, which forces pastors to report child abuse.
Back in the spring, SNAP opposed the original wording of the bill.
"In an unusual move, a support group for clergy sex abuse victims is opposing a bill that would include clergy as mandated reporters of suspected child abuse. The current bill also extends the statute of limitations so narrowly as that it leaves out virtually all of the group’s members."
"Leaders of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) are expecting to testify before the Ohio legislation [in March] that the proposed measure would “largely amount to symbolism” and “may lead to premature complacency and impede real reform.” Instead, [SNAP is] pushing legislation to reform what they call Ohio’s “arbitrary, archaic and dangerously restrictive” statute of limitations. If the current Bill is amended to include the extension of the statutes of limitation SNAP members will change their position on SB 17."
Again, Senate Bill 17 forces pastors to report child abuse. To me, that sounds like a good thing, but the Catholic church is lobbying against it.
"Victims of sexual abuse have found their toughest lobbying foe -- the Catholic church."
Victims testified in front of the Ohio senate.
"As the tears fell, something amazing happened up on that bench. The senators listened. Ohio law currently bars people over the age of 20 from suing someone who abused them when they were children. Senate Bill 17 raises the age to 38. It also creates a "look-back" period: For one year after the law's passage, anyone victimized after 1970 would be allowed to sue."
"Most of the senators entered the room that March morning either neutral or opposed to the bill. This, after all, is the Ohio Senate, where the Republican majority has done its best to stop injured people from suing."
Senator Marc Dann said:
"It was the most amazing thing I've seen in my legislative experience. Usually these hearings are pretty perfunctory, and the decisions are made beforehand in a back room. But this time, you could tell it was real."
Status of the bill:
"The Civil Justice Committee unanimously passed the bill on March 16. That same day, in a rare feat, the entire Senate approved it. But that was more than a month ago. The bill now languishes in the House, where Speaker Jon Husted has yet to assign it to a committee. "That's a sign that it's not going real well," Dann says."
"The reason: intense lobbying by the Catholic church. If those same priests preach love at Sunday mass, they appear to be saving their greatest devotion for preserving the church's bank accounts."
"The church is using its muscle to keep Senate Bill 17 bottled up. Senators Dann and Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) believe that church pressure has kept Husted from assigning the bill to a House committee. And they worry that he'll eventually give it to the Civil and Commercial Law Committee, where chairman Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati) has announced his opposition."
"The church defends its decision to lobby against Senate Bill 17. "We're citizens, and we have a right to express our opinions about legislation like anyone else," Luckhaupt says."
"But victims -- and their new friends in the Senate -- think the Catholic church is trying to defend the indefensible. "I think they should walk off the field and allow this bill to be heard," Fedor says. "They're protecting the institution over children, and I can't tell you how sick that is." "
May 7 Blade article:
"The Toledo Catholic Diocese is stepping up its efforts to defeat a bill that would rewrite Ohio's statutes of limitations for victims of child sexual abuse. Bishop Leonard Blair sent a letter to diocesan priests this week stating that Senate Bill 17 "should be of serious concern to all of us," and urged them to contact their state representatives to voice opposition to the legislation."
"The diocese and the victims' advocacy group SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) are in agreement in calling for the statutes to be lengthened to 20 years after reaching adulthood. Such a change in civil cases would match Ohio statutes for criminal law, which were extended in 1999."
posted by jr at 08:21 P.M. EST on Mon Aug 01, 2005 #
SNAP does not represent all victims of sexual abuse, so they don't speak for me. In fact in my brief contact with a few of them I have walked away with a very negative impression of their "compassion" for victims. If it wasn't a priest or someone related to the Catholic religion who abused you they could care less about your feelings or concerns.
From what I understood the reasons the Church was lobbying against it is not quite as it was represented here. It's also important to note it was not just the Catholic Church that had issues with this bill.
The Ohio Council of Churches, which includes the Roman Catholic Church, the United Methodist Church, the United Presbyterian Church, the Episcopalian Church, and several other similar denominations took issue with parts of this bill.
While I agree that two years after turning 18 is not a long enough time period, 35 years for the first year is what the issue was. They supported the 20 year time period from what I understood, but that was not acceptable to SNAP. Realistically 20 years should be more than enough time if you are planning on coming forward with a legitimate abuse charge.
posted by psyche777 at 10:47 P.M. EST on Mon Aug 01, 2005 #
Aug 3 Blade op-ed:
"WEEKS after he was appointed Toledo police chief in June, 1956, Anthony A. Bosch got a respectful gift from fellow members of the local Knights of Columbus council - a specially designed solid-gold badge, emblazoned with his name and a three-quarter carat diamond. Three years later, the state council of the Catholic fraternal organization, of which he was an officer, gave him a new Cadillac."
"These incidents help explain why Chief Bosch, a devout Catholic who headed the police department for 14 years, turned a blind official eye to continued sexual abuse of children by Toledo-area priests."
"What the church's officialdom refused to acknowledge was that sexual abuse must, first and foremost, be recognized as a crime rather than a sin. That denial was compounded by police officials, many of them Catholic, who apparently felt they were protecting the church by ignoring abuse."
"At this juncture, it is difficult to decide who were the worst offenders - the priests who took advantage of religious trust to molest children or those in the police department whose protective indifference let them get away with it. But neither can ever be excused."
I have heard criticism directed at the Blade writers of last Sunday's article. I don't get that. How is this somehow the writers' fault?
Mitch Weiss and Joe Mahr wrote the Sunday article. Both were writers for the Pulitzer Prize-winning Tiger Force series. So it's not like the Blade assigned rookies to this Catholic Church-police investigation.
posted by jr at 10:20 A.M. EST on Thu Aug 04, 2005 #
Aug 2 NPR interview with Joe Mahr.
"Day to Day - Madeleine Brand talks with Joe Mahr, a writer at The Toledo Blade, about his investigative report alleging the Toledo Police Department refused to arrest or investigate abusive priests for the last 50 years."
posted by jr at 10:34 A.M. EST on Thu Aug 04, 2005 #
"The local chapter of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests plans to deliver a letter to church headquarters today, calling on Bishop Leonard Blair and others to explain, in a public forum, how the diocese handled the sexual-abuse crisis."
"The Rev. Stephen Stanbery, a past critic of the diocese's handling of the sex-abuse crisis, singled out Auxiliary Bishop Robert Donnelly and the Rev. Michael Billian, the Episcopal Vicar for Administration, for their handling of the case of former priest Dennis Gray, accused by a dozen boys of raping and abusing them in the 1980s. "If they're not prepared to submit to questions, they should resign," said Father Stanbery, who called previously for the pair's resignation after revelations of what the diocese knew about the Gray case."
posted by jr at 10:45 A.M. EST on Thu Aug 04, 2005 #
Aug 14 Russ Lemmon column:
"It's an Oscar-nominated documentary set in Toledo, yet no local theater will show it. People in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Minneapolis, Tucson, and Portland, Ore., have had the opportunity to see it. And before the end of the month, so will those in Seattle, St. Louis, and Indianapolis. Amazingly, Twist of Faith can't get a public screening in northwest Ohio. Could we be any more small-minded?"
From the website:
"Riveting and heartbreaking... filled with important truths about humanity in all its denominations" - Los Angeles Times
"Unforgettable...personalizes the priest abuse scandal so vividly that you can't forget just how profoundly it lays siege to its victims' lives." - Boston Globe
"Poignant...a level of intimacy so unsettling and deep one wonders how it could have possibly been achieved" - NY Newsday
WINNER - Audience Award
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2005
And not shown in Toledo.
posted by jr at 10:41 P.M. EST on Mon Aug 15, 2005 #
RE: church bashing, SB17 and SNAP.
I don't think victims who call out the Bishop, the Vicar or anyone else who covers for child molesters are "church bashing." And while I agree with Psyche7777 that child molestation is a larger issue than just the Catholic church, it's important to remember that no other organization has garnered the promise, favor or priviledge like the Roman Catholic church in covering up these henious sexual crimes.
RE: SB17. SNAP's orginal opposition of the bill was supported by VOTF as well. The original SB17 proposed bill that the Ohio Catholic Conference worked hard to pass, made failure to report by clergy -- a misdemeanor -- and SNAP & VOTF's positions are well taken: if the oath to God didn't compel a church leader to keep their @#$#@ hands off a child, would a misdemeanor pay out ticket fare any better? The original SB17 bill only gave the 'appearance' of doing something, while actually doing nothing. And, let's face it, how would the prosecutor ever know anyone failed to report, unless you have victims coming forward? To that end, seldom is anyone ever prosecuted for failure to report. The original SB17 shouldn't have been supported and no real advocacy group for victims could support that in clear conscience.
And re: the Council of Churches that opposed the bill, that's called 'hand holding' with the Bishops. I think it's important to ask, why? If these church leaders have absolutely nothing to hide, if they've truly vetted the problem, then why fight the one year look back? What are they afraid of --- more investigative pieces like the one exposing the Bishop and the police?
Inasfar as how long is long enough -- there is no statute of limitations on murder and there, the victim can't assist the prosecution. Child molestation is essentially murder of the soul. I can't blame anyone for wanting to stay the statute of limitations.
RE: SNAP - I used to be critical of all of those groups: SNAP, VOTF, The Link-UP, BishopAccountability.org etc... and then, after some research I learned that these people are VOLUNTEERS doing the best they can, with what they have. In Toledo, Barbara Blaine who started the entire SNAP movement waited over 20 years for the Bishop to acknowledge her molester as a molester. And the first chapter in Ohio, (which is also Toledo) is run by a woman whose molester is a LAY person, not a priest. And, after I watched "Twist of Faith" I really had a lot of respect for what this group has tried to accomplish.
Clergy sexual abuse and all sexual abuse of children will come to an end, when and only when lay people (secular and religious) say, "no more" and mean it. I think the reason there's not more of an effort to erridicate child sexual abuse within our community is simple, kids can't vote.
I am glad Psyche7777 is really healed. I challenge however, the notion of moved on, because if he/she were, then they wouldn't take pot shots at how anyone else copes.
posted by anotherblogger at 11:17 P.M. EST on Mon Aug 15, 2005 #
Sep 8 Blade story about last week's big fire in South Toledo.
"The fire started in the rear of 2425 Broadway, which was rented by Claudia Vercellotti, a local coordinator of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. She said research and documentation she has collected for nearly four years, including victim letters, were destroyed."
"The cause of a fire that did at least $1 million damage, destroyed six South Toledo residences, and damaged seven others, is undetermined and may never be known."
"Fire officials said they don't plan to dig through the rubble because they don't expect to find anything that could help them determine how the blaze began."
Fire Chief Mike Bell said:
"We can't rule out anything, but we're not continuing the investigation unless we get more information."
Deputy Fire Chief Bob Metzger said:
"You can come up with all sorts of conspiracies. We're in the business of trying to determine fact. Nothing on that scene will identify what started that fire."
Especially when you don't plan to look into it.
"Ms. Vercellotti found a few partially charred news clippings in the debris and found her piano by locating its strings in the rubble."
posted by jr at 05:33 P.M. EST on Mon Sep 12, 2005 #
You know, you've got a point there jr. How did Ms. Vercellotti find those items? Answer: by looking that's how!
posted by corky at 08:13 P.M. EST on Mon Sep 12, 2005 #
Maybe it's simply standard operating procedure to not investigate the cause of a fire. I don't know. Aren't there insurance claim issues? Doesn't someone own those buildings? Six residences are destroyed and seven others damaged at a total cost of $1 million. I would think someone out there would want to know what caused the fire.
This was a fire so hot that it melted traffic lights. It melted the lights on the fire trucks. It melted the siding on nearby buildings. Yet, somehow newspaper clippings found in the rubble were only partially charred. And the fire experts claim there's nothing to be found that would indicate the cause of the fire.
posted by jr at 10:09 P.M. EST on Mon Sep 12, 2005 #
When you don't want to find something, generally you don't go looking. I'm sure that Bell obtained his marching orders from Higher Authority (and no, I'm not talking about divinity).
All too many of Catholics and Christians are the most evil people I have ever seen (among those that don't simply shoot people on a daily basis, but are heartily for paying police, soldiers and security services to commit such murders for them by proxy). They turn my stomach and I want nothing to do with such demons made flesh.
posted by GuestZero at 12:06 A.M. EST on Tue Sep 13, 2005 #
TFP story about Vercellotti and the fire:
"The worst blow to Vercellotti isn’t the loss of property: it’s the exhaustive records she compiled working with SNAP. “I had thousands of documents that help us fight clerical sexual abuse,” she said. “I had taped conversations, articles, letters from victims and insider documents. It’s all gone. In a way, I feel like I’ve let down all the victims who’ve trusted me with their secrets.”"
A lesson here we could all learn, although I'm not sure if it would have helped here, since according to Toledo Fire Chief Michael Bell, "As far as heat, it would be in the top 10 worst fires I’ve seen in my 25 years." Keep important records in a small fireproof safe.
More from the TFP story:
"The possibility of arson is not something Vercellotti wants to think about. “I can’t wrap my head around the idea that someone would do that,” she said, but added her public role with SNAP has brought her threats."
"Tony Comes, a Toledo firefighter, was off-duty but went to the scene to support Vercellotti. When considering the possibility of arson, Comes said he wouldn’t be surprised. “They had conditions for a perfect fire. Like Chief Bell says, the cause will probably remain undetermined, but it wouldn’t surprise me if someone targeted Claudia,” he said."
"Comes said Vercellotti has been at the forefront of the movement and this might have radicalized her adversaries. This sentiment’s echoed by Barbara Blaine, a the Toledo native who founded and leads SNAP from Chicago. “It’s fair to say there’s no local SNAP volunteer who works harder than Claudia,” she said. “When a wounded victim calls at four in the morning, she’s there.” "
"Blaine said Vercellotti has been a catalyst behind a number of landmarks for victims in Toledo. That list includes being the source for The Blade’s exhaustive December 2002 expose of clerical sexual abuse; there’s also “Twist of Faith” and her behind-the-scenes advocacy that resulted in the murder indictment of Rev. Gerald Robinson. Blaine also credits Vercellotti with being the prime mover behind Ohio Senate Bill 17, pending legislation that seeks to expand the statute of limitations for alleged sexual abuse victims in civil cases. Documentation Vercellotti compiled to push SB 17 was also burned."
How convenient. Yeah, this fire was simply a coincidence. An accident. Looks like prayers by a few in the Catholic church were answered.
More from the TFP story:
"The fire came just a week after Vercellotti’s relatives in Biloxi, Mississippi, were ravaged by Hurricane Katrina."
posted by jr at 10:08 A.M. EST on Wed Sep 14, 2005 #
After 60 days, a topic no longer allows comments, but I re-enabled commenting for this topic to post the following from the SNAP news section of http://www.snapnetwork.org :
"Claudia Vercellotti's Toledo, OH home was reduced to literal ashes by a fire on September 6, 2005. Another SNAP Leader, Barbara Garcia Boehland of San Antonio, Texas, lost everything when her home burned to the ground a week later. The cause of both fires is under investigation."
I didn't think the the Toledo fire was being investigated. Anyway, two SNAP leaders lose homes to fire. Probably just freak luck.
posted by jr at 11:44 P.M. EST on Fri Oct 14, 2005 #
As an Adult Survivor of Childhood sexual abuse, committed against me by a non Blood Uncle. It does at times, frustrate me, to know that the current bills are being faught by the Catholic Church. Bills that will enable me to get justice and to protect my children and other innocent children, from this terrible person who molested me.
It is terrible that a priest would do these things to innocent children, but it is no more terrible then a father, uncle, aunt, teacher, coach, grandmother,etc.. doing it to innocent children also. Because of someones profession being one of importance??? does not make the crime any more terrible. The crime is sexual abuse and the issue is STOPPING the Sexual Abuse and getting justice for ALL those that have been sexually abused as children by those they trusted and respected. I feel any crime committed against a child by an adult, that the child trusted and respected, should have NO Statue of Limitation.
Victims get LIFE without JUSTICE! IT is time to change this!
posted by painfulsmiles at 09:57 A.M. EST on Fri Nov 11, 2005 #
It would be ... a MIRACLE! ... if any of you spineless churchie dweebs actually stood up during one of your preprogrammed singalongs and demanded that the topic of molestation be properly addressed instead of being quietly dismissed. From the outside, you all look like hypocrites by not only ignoring the problem, but by continuing to subject your children to priests.
posted by GuestZero at 10:44 P.M. EST on Fri Nov 11, 2005 #
I am not Catholic, but I am still a Victim seeking justice!I have to agree, it is devastating that a priest would sexually abuse innocent children, but it is no more devastating to a victim if a father, uncle, aunt, teacher, coach, grandmother,etc..has sexually abuse an innocent child. Sexual abuse is just not in the Catholic Church…Sexual Abuse is in the homes of innocent children, it is in the schools, and in the youth programs. The passing of the SB17 Bill can not be determined by the Catholic Church. All victims were not abused in the Catholic Church.
The crime is sexual abuse! The victims are innocent children that may be so young, that they do not even know that a crime is being committed against them. The SB17 Bill is about protecting innocent children from those that have already sexually abused others. Many molesters have gotten away with the abuse because a child, was not believed when they reported it to an adult. The child was in hopes that the adult was a responsible adult and would report it properly and get the child the help she needed to overcome such a traumatic event. Instead, the child got beaten down with words of discuss, leading to additional mental abuse from others she trusted and respected, just as she trusted and respected the molester, because her molester was her uncle.
This child I am speaking of is myself, Patty Rase Hopson, sexually molested repeatedly starting around age 7-9, by a non blood uncle. I was told by my father, “If that really happened, then you did something to provoke it”. Told by my mother “You should not say those things…He has been too good to you” and recently because I am so desperate to get this bill passed, so that I can protect my children and the other children of this dysfunctional family, I speak out loudly about my abuse. I received a letter from Attorney Mark McCown in Ironton, Oh, dated Nov 4th 2004, that my Brother’s and their wives, have hired him, to send me a letter stating, “Your increasingly accusatory actions have done nothing but alienated them and sever your relationships with them. It is not that your family is in “denial” of an event as you claim, rather, they simply do not believe you.” “You are hereby advised that P.D. Rase, Beth Rase, Dean Rase, and Jennifer Rase do not wish you to contact them or their children now or in the future, and will view any attempt of contact as harassment.” I not only live the tormented life of a victim of abuse, I live with rejection from my entire family. I am treated like I am the monster. The real monster, my Uncle, is FREE to live his life with no worries of being punished for his crimes of taking my life and my innocence away from me.
I am now a 41 year old mother of three daughters and one son. Now, my children live day to day, watching the pain their mother endures, the numbness, the lack of ability to hug, to smile, and show any emotions. See, sexual abuse just doesn’t affect the abuse victim; it affects everyone, in the victim’s adult life too. My loving husband, who can not touch me at times, even to give me a hug, lives without the intimacy he should be entitled to.
My life as it should have been was taken away from me. Yes there is still a feeble body in movement, but no emotions are felt, no love for oneself, no thoughts of goodness, and for most no life worth living, because of the sexual abuse and mental abuse I have encountered, from those I trusted and respected.
To function half way normally, I am on medications, medications that cost sometimes more then my pocketbook will dispense. It is sometimes a question of feeding my family or functioning with out any mental out burst. Of course, when not taking the medications properly, this leads to more mental problems. I truly believe without the abuse, I would be living a normal life. My symptoms of the mental problems did not develop until my children became the age I was when my abuse first started. As I am told by my psychologist, this is very normal for adult victims of sexual abuse. You start reliving the abuse, as you compare your childhood to the childhood your children are living. You sometimes feel guilty as I did, that you could not guarantee protection from such a monster, because when you felt strong enough to expose the predator, your statue of limitations had run out.
As your current laws in Ohio are written: Victims get life with NO Justice and Molesters get life FREE to molest more children.
Please do not allow the Catholic Church to determine whether my children and I are worthy of justice and to be protected.
Please do not allow me to be discriminated against because I was only abused by a family member and not a Priest.
Please do not allow me to be discriminated against because I was abused 30 some years ago and not 20 years ago.
My abuser is still alive and FREE to abuse more innocent children due to Ohio’s current Statue of Limitations. Don't you think Ohio citizens deserve to know if my uncle is there neighbor?
Sexual abuse is an epidemic and the Catholic Church is not the only one that is affected by this epidemic.
Patty Rase Hopson
Adult Survivor of Childhood Sexual Abuse
Abused in Ironton, Ohio where my abuser is FREE to molest more children
posted by painfulsmiles at 10:33 A.M. EST on Thu Dec 15, 2005 #
Every single person associated with the Catholic Church that abused a child, or contributed to the abuse of a child, must identified and dealt with.
This scandal is analogous to a vile cancer which must be cut out of one's body. Those responsible for the scandal are indeed a minority of the Catholic body, just as cancer tissue constitutes a minority percentage of a person body. As with a person, it is important to remove the cancer without killing the patient.
Remember that we do not abandon the person upon the discovery of cancer. Rather, the nature of that person's affliction brings out our compassion.
We pray for the health of that person.
posted by AirTrainer at 02:23 P.M. EST on Thu Dec 15, 2005 #
Please sign the Petition in Support of the SB17 Bill. This bill will protect children NOW, in the future and will allow those victims of sexual abuse to get justice they deserve.
Currently my molester lives across the street from an elementary school in Ohio. I think it is important to get the laws changed so that I can expose him and others can expose their molesters who may even be inside the schools.
Please sign and pass it on to everyone you know. http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction
posted by painfulsmiles at 11:55 A.M. EST on Tue Mar 14, 2006 #
Correction to the Petition site, Please sign and pass on this important petition to support the SB17 bill
posted by painfulsmiles at 12:00 P.M. EST on Tue Mar 14, 2006 #
I am a victim of sexual abuse. My abuse started when I was 8 by my stepgrandfather and my stepbrother. Then I ran away from there to live with my dad and he started abusing me as well. I left there when I was 17 and haven't seen him since. I am 36 now, I found out that my dad has two of his young kids living with him, a daughter 13, and a son 10. I knew that it was time for me to finally stand up and press charges against him. I want to save my stepsister and stepbrother from this child rapist, because no one would help me, they were to afraid of him. I am fortunate that my abuse happened in Kentucky, where there is no criminal statute of limitations on a felony.
I have signed this petition and so have a lot of people that don't even live in Ohio. We need to change the laws now, and start protecting our children. This needs to be addressed in every state.
Here is another link that has additional information on Ohio SB17. It tells you exactly what the bill will do once passed, who opposses it, etc..
Thank you for signing this petition and please pass it around to your co-workers, family and friends. The more signatures we have the bigger impact it will be.
posted by tinatot35 at 03:00 P.M. EST on Tue Mar 14, 2006 #
Here is the link for more information on Ohio SB17, not sure why it didn't come through with my last post.
posted by tinatot35 at 03:03 P.M. EST on Tue Mar 14, 2006 #
'Guest' commenting is not available.
Login or create an account to post topics and comments.