Child sex abuse by bad priests really came to the forefront in late 1970s and during the 1980s, however, as more and more cases came to light, it became apparent that the abuse was going on for much, much longer.
While the bulk of the attention has been focused on The Vatican, the sad truth is that priests worldwide have sexually abused children and continue to sexually abuse children.
It’s been estimated that $2.2 billion dollars has been spent on settling American cases of sexual abuse due to these bad priests.
When you have people in leadership positions within the religious sector that, through their actions or words, condone sexual abuse, is it really surprising that there are so many bad priests within the ranks?
Friar Benedict Groeschel, of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, who at one time was held in high regard by many, alienated supporters when he said that he felt sorry for Jerry Sandusky.
In an interview with the National Catholic Register, which has, of course, since been removed from their site, he said,
People have this picture in their minds of a person planning to – a psychopath. But that’s not the case. Suppose you have a man having a nervous breakdown, and a youngster comes after him. A lot of the cases, the youngster – 14, 16, 18 – is the seducer. … It’s not so hard to see – a kid looking for a father and didn’t have his own – and they won’t be planning to get into heavy-duty sex, but almost romantic, embracing, kissing, perhaps sleeping but not having intercourse or anything like that.
The Friar is blaming the kids. He tried to apologize but how can any apology be taken seriously after his statement?
Minnesota seems to be the hot spot lately for bad priests and for church officials who cover up sexual abuse by priests.
Father Joseph Palanivel Jeyapaul was told not to come back to a church in Minnesota after abuse allegations came to light so he stayed in India and was protected by the Bishop in India even after the Bishop in Minnesota contacted the Vatican and Indian Bishop.
Curtis Wehmeyer, known as Father Curt, had a history of inappropriate behavior for a priest. The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis knew that he cruised around known gay areas to engage in random sex and approached boys for sex and but they kept it quiet and simply moved him around because they believed his “sex addiction” was not related to “the workplace”.
Here is an excerpt from a letter that was sent in May 2011 by The Rev. Kevin McDonough regarding Father Curt.
(Note: McDonough, who was acting as the archdiocese’s “delegate for safe environment”, served as vicar general, essentially the archbishop’s second in command from 1991 to 2008.)
Disclosure in the church–rectory-office setting is aimed at preventing a priest from misusing
his position as a priest to obtain impermissible favors (sex, money, information) from those to
whom he ministers. With Father Wehmeyer, that has never been a question. His troublesome
behavior has been to drive his car to “cruise” places that are known settings for anonymous
same~sex sexual encounters. On one occasion, he also engaged a man in a suggestive
conversation in a Borders bookstore. His priesthood came up in the conversation when he tried
to use the fact that he is a priest as a way to deny that his ambiguous comments were meant to
start something sexual. In fact, I think that you share with me the opinion that he really was
not all that interested in an actual sexual encounter, but rather was obtaining some stimulation
by “playing with fire”. This sort of behavior would not show up in the workplace. I agree
with Father Curtis that disclosure there would only serve to out his sexual identity questions
(Which, by the way, would be unlikely to surprise any observant person in the parish!).
(full document can be found on MPRNEWS)
Is it really surprising to find out that Father Curt also abused boys at the church and is now incarcerated?
What’s interesting is that when Father Curt was promoted, despite the contents of his file, he was promoted by none other than Archbishop John Nienstedt.
The very same Archbishop who stepped down on Dec. 17 because of allegations that he inappropriately touched someone. Of course he denies it.
Weeks before he stepped down, he posted a list of 34 priests who have been accused of sexual abuse.
He only released the list because he was ordered to do so.
Father Curt was on the list, but, retired priest and known pedophile, Harry Walsh wasn’t.
Nienstedt knew of Walsh’s pedophile past and knew of the settlement paid to one of Walsh’s victims yet he did nothing about it. Except promote him.
A former Archbishop Harry Flynn, knew about it too and he covered it up as well. Flynn retired in October after he found out he was being investigated.
Walsh was allowed to retire instead of being prosecuted and now has a well-paying job working with at-risk youths providing “medically accurate sexuality education, pregnancy prevention and STI prevention to high risk youth or adults”.
Nienstedt, after releasing the court-ordered list of pedophile priests, now claims he made an error when releasing the court ordered list and says that four of the names should not be on the list.
The Roman Catholic Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia seemed to take a strong stance on bad priests when he banned five priests,
However the case in Philadelphia is much more involved than just five bad priests. After an investigation in 2011, a total of 26 priests were suspended, and some of the alleged bad priests have been returned to duty.
It’s important for people, especially parents, to understand that there are bad priests out there and that many of these bad priests are shuffled around from parish to parish when their misdeeds come to light without informing parishioners.
Parents need to understand the very real dangers their children face from people within the clergy and not place their children in position where they can be sexually abused.