How to research and report on the RC priest underage gay sex scandal

Here are some ideas from a journalist for public use in researching and reporting on the Catholic Scandals.  Use them yourselves, or forward them to other writers, attorneys, police, survivor advocates, activist organizations, etc.  I would love to see what a team of victims' attorneys could do with some of the maps and charts suggested below.  [I had sent a earlier version of these ideas to a list of survivor advocates in May 2002.  With the imminent release of the statistical report on the Scandal, I thought it timely to re-send and update the ideas.]

 

1.  Compare the treatment (pensions, housing, logistical support, payment of legal bills, job references, etc.) given to priests who left in order to marry, to that given by Church authorities to suspected abuser-priests (at least until zero-tolerance policies appeared, within the last few months).

 

2.  List the dioceses and religious orders who have sent their suspect priests to serve in:

     (a) marriage tribunals ... and give a special mention to any diocese

          whose tribunal has a majority of suspects on its staff

     (b) prisons

     (c) hospitals

     (d) overseas missions

     (e) retreat centers

     (f)  old age homes

     (g) schools and colleges

     (h) liturgical planning commissions

 

3.   Publish a map showing which bishops have engaged in cover-ups over the last 50 years.  Color the "clean" dioceses blue, where there has been no cover-up or transfers of pedo-priests.  Color the offending dioceses various shades of pink.  Shade the pink according to the proportion of years in the last 50 that the bishop in charge has been doing a cover-up.  The range could be from pale pink for less than 10 years of misrule, to shocking bright pink for 50 years of misrule.  And color the diocese RED if its bishop is (or was) both a molester and a cover-up artist.  What color will the majority of the dioceses in the US be?

 

4. Prepare a map of each diocese, and show each Catholic institution that has existed in the last 50 years on the map (parish, school, college/university, religious house, etc.).  (This would include some facilities that have since closed - but they are still part of the Church's history in dealing with this problem.)  Give each facility a color code.  Color the dots blue, if no suspect priest ever served at the site for the last 50 years; light pink, if there was one suspect present there; and so forth,  How many of the dots will be blue, and how many dots will be varying shades of pink?

 

5.  To the above map, add arrows and names, to track the movement of suspects around the diocese during the last 50 years.  Add arrows from outside the diocese for suspects entering the diocese from elsewhere, and arrows leaving the diocese, for suspects who find a haven in other dioceses or overseas.

 

6.  Prepare an organization chart for each diocese, seminary, religious order, etc., showing the leaders and positions as of 2003-2004, using the most recent official Church directories.  Color the boxes: blue, not a suspect.  Pink, credibly suspected or proven molestation.  Lavender: cover-up artist.  Bright red -- molester AND cover-up artist.  How many of the boxes will be blue?

 

7.  Do the same org chart as above, but for the national and regional Church bureaucracies.  How pink are they now?  How pink have they been?

 

8. Tally the victims over the last 50 years nationally, by age at the time that their molestation began (12 and under, 13-17, and adult) and by sex. 

 

9.  For each proven (or credibly suspect) priest/religious, note when and where they were trained, and when they were ordained.  How many were in seminary during these 3 periods: before the Council (earlier than 1962), from the Council until the Gauthe scandal and the Doyle report (1962-1985), and  more recently (1986 to date)?  How many of the perps were ordained in these 3 periods?  The statistics will tell the extent to which the problem pre-existed the Council, and the extent (if at all) to which it became less after the mid-1980s.  Do the abusers cluster in specific seminaries, or in certain time periods?

 

10. For each cover-up bishop, analyze when they were in seminary, ordained to the priesthood, and raised to the episcopacy.  Do the same analysis for them as for the perps.  When were the bad bishops trained, ordained, and consecrated?  Any relationship to the Council, or to papal policies?

 

I will bet that these pictures would be VERY INTERESTING to attorneys, to journalists, to prosecutors, and to juries.  I will bet that FAR MORE than 2-4% of the dots/boxes/etc. mentioned above will be pink, lavender, or red.  "A little leaven leavens the whole loaf."  (When I refer above to a "suspect," I mean anyone who has been proven guilty of molestation or cover-up, or against whom credible charges exist - including those for whom the church paid settlements, so the case stayed out of court.)

 

I use 50 years as what seems like a reasonable time window ... but anyone who would actually prepare these pictures could make their own decision on how many years back the pictures should cover.

 

Pursue the truth wherever it leads.

 

Lee Penn



HOME