Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Church has more million dollar payoffs

A reader suggests that I cover Catholic priest child molesters. Okay, no one committing crimes against kids gets a free pass.

In the lastest story, the LA Times reports:
The Los Angeles Archdiocese has settled what officials said is the last of its pending priest molestation lawsuits, bringing to a close a decade of wrenching abuse litigation that cost the Catholic Church more than $740 million.

The church reached the $13-million agreement with 17 victims last week, on the eve of a trial scheduled to begin Feb. 14 over the alleged acts of Father Nicolas Aguilar-Rivera, a visiting cleric from Mexico who police believe molested more than two dozen boys over nine months in 1987.
Aguilar-Rivera has not been prosecuted, so I don't know whether he molested kids or not. If so, then I would have expected a criminal complaint, arrest warrant, and extradition demand back in 1987.

We are not likely to get the facts 27 years later.

It is hard to understand why the LA Catholics should pay $740M.

So why is the Church culpable?
Aguilar-Rivera was 46 in 1987 when he came asking to serve Los Angeles, saying he needed to be away from his home diocese of Tehuacan, Mexico, for family and health reasons. When two families came forward with allegations of the priest's abuses in early 1988, Curry met with the priest and informed him of the charges.

"I told him that it was likely the accusations would be reported to the police and that he was in a good deal of danger," he wrote in a memo at the time.

The priest, Curry wrote, said he would leave for Mexico. By the time police were notified by a school principal at one of the parishes two days later, Aguilar-Rivera had left the country.
What else do you expect a Church official to do? If you want to make a police complaint, then talk to the police. If you want to complain to a supervisor in the organization, then you can expect the supervisor to tell the accused of the complaint.
The settlement reached last week also cover alleged abuses by former priests George Miller and Michael Nocita dating from the late 1970s and early 1980s; John Malburg, a former teacher at Daniel Murphy High School, from 1999 to 2006; and Rene Velmonte, who allegedly posed as a priest at a local church, in 1997.

Malburg pleaded guilty to criminal molestation charges in 2009 and received an eight-year sentence. The others could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Okay, one guy was actually convicted of a crime. He was a teacher, not a priest.

Public school teachers get caught molesting kids all the time. I do not want my tax money paying million dollar settlements every time it happens. Those teachers are just criminals. I do not think the Catholics should be paying off accusers either.


Anonymous said...

That's some spin you put on it. You don't want settlements for these kids ?

Anonymous said...

your tax money will go to million dollar settlements if the school's administration showed poor judgement or failed to investigate prior allegations etc.

George said...

I think that the settlements make the kids worse off, in most cases. And the ones getting the settlements are usually adults, not kids.

Anonymous said...

How many priests were either convicted or related to settlements involving 740,000,000 ? You make it sound as if it were just one.

George said...

Very few convictions. Go ahead and post others, if you know of any.

Anonymous said...

Was the 740,000,000 used to avoid convictions ?

George said...

A problem with settlements is that they do not leave a court record on who is guilty of what. Money could have been used to bribe victims to keep quiet.

Anonymous said...

you are confusing molesting with statutory rape.

public school teachers commit statutory rape that you read about in the news. 14yo student with a teacher isnt pedophilia or child molestation. its still a felony, its still against the law, its rape because the 14yo cannot consent but its not pedophilia.

Anonymous said...

as for very few convictions, that is true.

id suggest you study what happened in boston for a clear picture of what happened. it was a combination of
1. bad medical advice, that you could treat a pedophile and relocate him and he wouldnt molest again
2. cover up - nothing new or shocking about that police and corporations and govt do that all the time
3. statutes of limitiation - in MA you cant investigate a crime that cant be prosecuted. So you cant investigate a pedophile who an accuser said raped him 10 years ago to see if he is doing it now. (i think this law has been modified).
4. Boston was a devout catholic city, priests were held as people above the law, and their words were taken literally as gospel.

a good book to get you started but its horrifying reading ... http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0316075582/bostoncom-20

or watch this frontline piece, again horrifying in the way people looked the other way. Truly an example of all that evil needs to flourish is the good to do nothing. this isnt about false accusations, this is about decades of harboring pedophiles and letting them work in communities with children.


Ill close by saying i was a devout catholic in boston area, my whole family is and we kept our eyes shut too long. I would point to the fact that there had been no prosecutions, would label the accusers as money hungry perverts. Im ashamed I did that now. But i couldnt bring myself to believe a man of God would cause such harm let alone dozens of them.

<3 your blog!!!!

George said...

I wonder if there is any record of people making complaints to the Boston police, and the police refusing to do anything.

Anonymous said...

no, but you have to view history through a historical lens.

you can be a skeptic if you want, i was. i get the whole innocent until proven guilty thing.

But in 2014 we have 911 tapes & all sorts of reports and logs that police reluctantly have adopted.

and to be fair, its not about criminal guilt, its about civil guilt. civil guilt doesnt require anymore more than a preponderance of the evidence to find for the accuser.

What i will say is there are files the Boston archdioceses have released that contain reports of abuse by priests and show they were simply relocated. police never contacted etc.

Ill also say the Church is no longer categorically denying these crimes. in the 90s, half of my church thought the allegations were nonsense. by 2005, nobody did. mostly because of the reports in the Boston Globe.


George said...

The Church relocated bad priests. I accept that. Some of those priests should have been prosecuted as criminals. I also accept that. But I still wonder why the victims or parents did not make police reports. And I question the justice in big payouts decades later.