Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Priest gets 2 years for rape. Mother gets 12 for helping her child

William Lynn: one of theirs
A rare moment is being played out this week in a Philadelphia courthouse as the highest ranking Catholic church official to date is in court charged with protecting pedophile priests under his jurisdiction.

The official, William Lynn (William is a Monsignor) is accused by prosecutors of  “failing to protect children from alleged molestation by priests”, according to the Wall Street Journal. Lynn was secretary of the clergy in the Philadelphia diocese from 1992 to 2004 and one of his responsibilities was to investigate allegations of sexual abuse by priests. He has pleaded not guilty to charges of “endangering the welfare of children.”

Victim’s rights leaders welcome the trial:  “Since there are no consequences for these sex cover ups internally, the consequences have to be external” says David Clohessy, director of Survivors Network, a group that helps victims of sexual abuse by priests.  The abundance of serial rapists in the priesthood has cost the organization hundreds of millions of dollars and much of its credibility.  This has forced officials to be a little more forthcoming about pedophilia among priests and appear to be doing something. But the damage has and is still being done.

Just last year a Philadelphia Grand Jury “blasted the diocese”  for allowing 37 priests to remain active despite having what the WSJ describes as “credible abuse allegations lodged against them.”

According to prosecutors, Lynn knew during his tenure, of allegations of sexual abuse against two priests in particular; that they had “engaged in inappropriate conduct with minors” but did nothing about it.  In fact, by his actions he allowed it to continue as the priests in question continued working with children.  Lynn also failed to notify parents or parishioners, prosecutors claim. “If Lynn was doing his job and thinking about kids first, he would have done something about the allegations”, says one Assistant DA.

Part of Lynn’s defense is to blame his superiors pointing out that recently opened diocesan files suggest that the now deceased archbishop of Philadelphia, Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, “ordered that copies of the lists of names of priests accused of sexual abuse be shredded”.  What an outfit!

One of the two aforementioned priests Edward Avery, was “defrocked” for his transgressions by the ex Nazi youth pope now in office who has also been shown to have participated in a cover up of the sexual abuse in his organization. Avery was sentenced last week to two and a half to twelve years in prison. After pleading guilty to charges of “Involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and conspiracy to endanger the welfare of a child.”  He was accused of oral sex with a ten year-old altar boy.  The other of the two priests that Lynn is accused of protecting was accused of anal rape of a 14 year-old boy and included charges of “rape and sexual assault.”  He goes to trial this week also and his lawyer is questioning the victim’s “credibility and motivation”.

I know we have a short piece on the church and it’s head this morning but I started this last night and got so angry about it.  The Catholic Church, and all religious institutions are actually political institutions.  The Catholic Church is the only religious organization with its own state.  Mussolini didn’t invade the Vatican.  It has its own army, own bank and diplomatic representative in the countries it has presence. It also has representatives at the UN.

The pope is in Cuba preaching about Marxism (he really means Stalinism) and how it doesn’t correspond to reality.  You have to sort of laugh at that one.  The "reality" propagated by the Catholic Church is that a supernatural being impregnated a Jewish woman some thousands of years ago.  It did this so its son was born only of a virgin.  This son was eventually killed but rose from the dead after three days. An organization with that view of the world is on thin ice criticizing any opposing viewpoint as being out of touch with reality.

The most offended here are the millions of people who consider themselves Catholics whether we agree with their faith beliefs or not.  Their trust has been betrayed.  Obviously, not all priests are serial rapists and pedophiles but the disease is severe.  Belief in a supreme being, a creator, is a private matter between an individual and their conscience. Religious images, slogans, sayings etc. have no place in public/political life and institutions.  And while this blog cannot understand why someone would want to belong to such an undemocratic, racist and sexist organization like the Catholic Church (although community security at the local level is often cited), the very least people should do would not find a comfortable local nook free of the corruption of the global institution but fight within to change it.

Tanya McDowell: one of ours
Part of what makes me so angry about this issue is that the state protects the church as it is a crucial tool in holding back the masses from questioning and trying to change the world around us, especially the millions of poor in the former colonial world.  The pope was in Mexico trying to stem the rising tide of Catholics jumping ship and joining the Evangelicals---from the frying pan to the fire as they say.

The intertwining of the state and church is obvious given the number of rapists that have gotten off scot free at the expense of the most vulnerable among us, our children. But the events last February are even more persuasive. Tanya McDowell, a homeless mother was charged with felony larceny in 2011 for “stealing education services”.  Ms McDowell lied about her address, in other words, used an address in a better school district in order to get her child a better education and chance in life.  This is a very common practice here in the US as the public schools that serve workers and the poor in urban areas are under attack by the corporate interests that want to privatize education and are failing us all. Teachers are expected to produce results in an environment that neither student, parent or teacher controls and that is overburdened and underfunded.

Ms McDowell pleaded guilty to the charges and received twelve years in prison. She was also told to pay a $6,200 fine for “stealing what the state has calculated was $15,000 in educational services.” No Sainthood for Ms MCDowell for doing her very best to give her kid a chance in a society that abandons millions to the forces of the market.

Maybe she could have pleaded down to anal rape of a child and got 2 to five.

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