Sunday, August 7, 2016

Boston Globe’s Spotlight on Crimes Against Children

   In 1981, Donald Roemer pleaded guilty to child molestation in Los Angeles.  In 1985, Gilbert Gauthe, was convicted of similar offences against 11 boys.  Those two were priests, but the abuse was seen as isolated incidents. There was no consistent pattern of a cover up.  The priests were simply moved to a different location without informing the authorities. (www.theguardian.com)

   In 1994, Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act was enacted as a part of the Omnibus Crime Bill as guidelines for states to track sex offenders.  Did priests got on this sex offenders registry? (ojp.gov/smart/legislation.htm)

The story behind the 'Spotlight' movie
   In January 2002, Boston Globe came out with the first of the 800 articles on the scandal involving 150 priests, in Boston alone, accused of sexual abuse on more than 500 victims that filed abuse claims.  The church-goers’ donations slumped by 50%.  That means the other 50% either agreed or didn’t care about the sexual abuse of children. 
(www.theguardian.com)

   As a result of the Boston Globe articles, on Monday, 8 July, 2002, six months later, the Catholic Church apologized for sex abuse committed in the Philippines.  

   “According to the president of the Catholic Bishops Conference, Archbishop Orlando Quevedo, about 200 of the country's 7,000 priests may have committed “sexual misconduct” - including child abuse, homosexuality and affairs - over the past two decades.” (BBC News)  That means going all the way back to 1982.  How many were the victims of the 200 priests?  Surely there wasn’t just one each, assuming the twenty years is accurate.

   The Vatican heard of the sex abuse allegations concerning about 3,000 priests dating back up to 50 years, according to Monsignor Charles J Scicluna, the Vatican's Promoter of Justice that investigates the complaints. 

   “The founder of a religious order that treats Roman Catholic priests who molest children concluded in the 1950s that offenders were unlikely to change and should not be returned to ministry, according to his letters, which were obtained by plaintiffs' lawyers… In a 1957 letter to Bishop Matthew Brady of Manchester, N.H., Fitzgerald wrote that abusive priests only pretended to repent and change “to be again in a position where they can continue their wonted activity”… The New Mexico treatment center closed in the 1990s in the face of lawsuits over priests who molested children while staying or after being treated there.  That means the priests still got access to children during and after the so called treatment.

   After the Boston Globe's investigative journalism that earned the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service, the can still has not given out all its worms.

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