It’s Time For A RICO Prosecution of the Catholic Church: Governor Keating’s Forced Resignation Shows the Church Will Not Reform Itself
It’s Time For A RICO Prosecution of the Catholic Church:
Governor Keating’s Forced Resignation Shows the Church Will Not Reform Itself
By Marci Hamilton
From the Link: http://writ.news.findlaw.com/hamilton/20030619.html
hursday, Jun. 19, 2003
Recently, Governor Frank Keating, a former federal prosecutor, compared the Catholic Church’s instinct for secrecy to that of La Cosa Nostra. He plainly hit a nerve:
Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles called for his resignation.
Keating has been the one pure voice for truth in the Church since the scandal began. Mahony is the Cardinal who has refused to cooperate with Los Angeles prosecutors, or even to fill out the anonymous questionnaire intended to help the Church itself assess the scandal.
Tragically, Keating lost the fight; and Mahony won. The members of Keating’s own oversight committee for the Church, the lay National Review Board, joined Mahony in calling for his resignation.
Worse, rather than mounting a defense of Keating, the Church allowed him to be forced out. And it did so knowing full well the public was watching particularly closely, for the Bishops were getting ready for their annual meeting. The message could not have been clearer: True internal Church reform is not going to happen. Clear-eyed critics like Keating will be shown the door.
Keating now no longer heads the Board. In his gutsy resignation letter, he stuck to his guns: “My remarks, which some bishops found offensive, were deadly accurate. I make no apology. . . . To resist grand jury subpoenas, to suppress the names of offending clerics, to deny, to obfuscate, to explain away; that is the model of a criminal organization, not my church.”
Why did Keating’s remarks so deeply anger the Church? The answer is that this reference touched on the Church’s own worst, and likely unacknowledged, nightmare: that it is in fact corrupt and that the federal RICO (Racketeering-Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) statute might be used against it
That prospect is not as unlikely as the statute’s title may indicate. RICO has not only been used against the mafia; it has also been used to target apparently legitimate organizations, such as corrupt labor unions, as well. It is now time to use it against the Catholic Church.
Why the Analogy to La Cosa Nostra Was Apt
Imagine a large, wealthy, and hierarchical organization that persists in believing it is above the law. Over many decades, the organization has employed a tradition of blood brother secrecy to keep its illegal actions from being analyzed or criticized in the press, or prosecuted and punished by legal authorities. It employs powerful, adept, and highly-paid lawyers, and resists judicial process whenever it can.
Meanwhile, the organization’s leaders are united in a secret bond that requires them to do whatever it takes to protect the organization from scandal. For them, the cover-up of serious crimes is a way of life, a feature of their everyday business.
Those who believe Keating’s analogy was overstated, or unfair, should consider that this description fits both the Mafia, and the Catholic Church’s approach to child abuse by its own clergy.
Of course, one might object that there are differences between the two institutions. Most obviously, the Mafia is in the primary business of murder and other crime; the Church’s primary business has nothing to do with sexual abuse, though it was an accessory to it numerous times over the years.
But that difference doesn’t matter, under RICO: Labor unions aren’t in the primary business of crime, and they still face RICO prosecutions. Indeed, one major target of RICO is the takeover of a legitimate organization by criminal elements.
One might also object that the harms the Mafia wreaks are greater than those the Church has wrought. But that is a dangerous, and in some way, useless comparison to make: Both institutions have done grievous damage.
Evidence by now has shown that numerous priests in the United States have used their position of trust and power in order to sexually victimize children repeatedly. Those children, many of whom are now adults, have suffered lifelong tortures.
Some have therefore said, correctly so, that the Church has been engaged in the knowing murder of young souls. Years after the physical abuse ends, those souls continue to search for faith and for God within a dark cloud of crushed beliefs and shame.
Their suffering must finally be taken seriously. To disparage it by saying that it isn’t “like murder,” and thus that the Church is unlike the Mafia, profits no one.
And in any event, the Church need not be the twin of La Cosa Nostra to properly face prosecution under the RICO statute. All it needs to be is what it is: An organization that has repeatedly been used to perpetrate and cover-up serious crimes, including obstruction of justice.
It’s High Time For a RICO Prosecution of the Church
RICO is needed, because local prosecutions are not going to suffice. Some brave local and county prosecutors are going after the Church’s crimes in the interests of the children who have been hurt so terribly. But others foolishly continue to trust the Church to set things right itself – something it has had the opportunity to do for decades, and never really tried, let alone succeeded in.
Instead, for years, the Church told the newspapers not to report the stories and the prosecutors not to charge the perpetrators and the parents not to report the crimes, because they would take care of it. But they did not take care of it. They simply let the suffering, and the scandal, and the evil fester. So why does anyone believe it can be trusted, now, to effect meaningful internal reforms?
Scattershot local prosecutions cannot by themselves bring the Church to full confrontation with its institutional problem. As in the game of whack-a-mole, the Church has adopted a strategy of using whatever legal means are at its disposal to try to force its problems back underground. Apparently, it hopes that, at some point, it will be able to put down the mallet and wander off to the merry-go-round.
A federal RICO prosecution would force the Church to confront its problems more directly by forcing it to face a federal prosecutorial juggernaut, as opposed to isolated local actions. While worthwhile, commendable, and necessary, these local prosecutions are not enough to prompt the thorough going national, institutional reforms needed.
After all, this is a scandal of national proportions. It affects children in many cities and states. The Church is a national – indeed, an international – and not a local institution. Yet, neither the Department of Justice, nor the local United States Attorneys’ Offices, have, to my knowledge, so much as held a news conference.
When the Bush Administration recently – after the Elizabeth Smart kidnapping – pushed legislation to institute a national Amber alert system, the Administration recognized that child abuse is not an isolated problem; it affects all fifty states. Meanwhile, the Administration is pushing for educational reform in the public schools via federal legislation and the private schools via vouchers – seeing, once again, a federal interest implicated in an issue that affects children across the nation.
But now, when it comes to the Church, the Administration hypocritically pretends that the nation’s children’s interests are no longer of federal concern. In so doing, it has left a nation’s worth of children behind – when it had vowed not to leave behind even one.
That may be a serious miscalculation. The votes of Catholics are powerful, but they will not always align with the views of the Church hierarchy. Many Catholics support Church reform precisely because they are devout, and they love the Church, and not those who have betrayed its mission.
The Administration may well have severely underestimated the hunger of the American people–Catholic and otherwise–for justice in this instance. Citizens believe deeply in the rule of law, justice, and fairness. And there are few kinds of conduct more despicable, to the vast majority of Americans, than allowing predatory pedophiles to victimize trusting children, again and again.
Thus, if the Administration ever does the right thing, and uses the RICO statute to go after the Church, it may find that it has done the politically advantageous thing as well. Conversely, if it fails to employ RICO, and the Church continues its intransigence, the Administration may feel the heat from citizens, parents, and others come election time.
Marci Hamilton is the Paul R. Verkuil Chair in Public Law at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. An archive of her columns on the Catholic Church’s clergy abuse scandal, among other issues, can be found on this website. Her email address is email@example.com
We arrest, we try, we convict and we imprison and execute, people whom rape children and murder children. This is the supposed norm of what we do to those whom prey on children. Yet we allow one religious organization, to rape children, to murder children, to destroy children with impunity, without going after them, without arresting them, without prosecuting them, without imprisioning them or executing them in the most horrible and gruesome fashion we can think of, because when you rape or murder a child, this is exactly what you deserve….but hey…the
UNHOLY, ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH OF PEDOPHILE PIMP LEADERS, PEDOPHILE PRIESTS, PSYCHO ABUSIVE NUNS, AND FREAK PARISHIONERS WHOM LOVE THESE PEOPLE WHOM RAPE AND MURDER THEIR OWN CHILDREN ARE ABOVE THE FUCKING LAW.
We have overwhelming, concrete, irrefutable proof, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that if this evidence was heard by a jury, these scumbags would be convicted of their crimes….that the leaders of the Unholy Roman Catholic Church of Pedophiles…have moved rapist priests from parish to parish, state to state, country to country and are STILL DOING THIS TO THIS VERY DAY.
We have overwhelming, concrete, irrefutable proof, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that if this evidence was heard by a jury, these scumbags would be convicted of their crimes, that these leaders and others of the Roman Catholic Church have in fact murdered children. We have the bodies and the graves to prove it. Yet again, the Unholy Roman Catholic Church seems to be above the law and not one of these evil fucks have every been arrested nor prosecuted for their crimes.
IT IS TIME, FOR ALL THE GOOD PEOPLE, THE GOOD, DECENT, HONEST, MORAL PEOPLE OF THE WORLD TO GATHER TOGETHER AND JUST LIKE IN THE MOVIE NETWORK….SAY WE ARE MAD AS HELL AND WE ARE NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANY FUCKING LONGER!!!
WE NEED REAL PEOPLE TO FINALLY SAY…ENOUGH IS ENOUGH, WE WILL NOT ALLOW ONE MORE OF OUR CHILDREN TO BE RAPED, TO BE ABUSED, TO BE MURDERED BY THESE SCUM OF THE UNHOLY ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH.
WE AS A PEOPLE, NEED TO COME TOGETHER, TO PROTECT OUR CHILDREN FROM THESE EVIL, SOULESS, MONSTERS WHOM HIDE BEHIND RELIGIOUS ROBES….AND WE MUST DESTROY THEM AS A PEOPLE. WE MUST TAKE A STAND.
WE MUST STAND UP FOR OUR CHILDREN…WE MUST PLACE THE LIVES OF OUR CHILDREN FIRST, ABOVE THESE RELIGIOUS, SADISTIC, PSYCHOTIC FREAKS. WE MUST DESTROY COMPLETELY AND UTTERLY THESE PEOPLE OF SATAN, WHOM DESTROY LIVES.
ONLY UNTIL WE HAVE CARDINALS SUCH AS TIMOTHY DOLAN, BERNARD LAW, JUSTIN RIGALI, ROGER MAHONY, DOLAND WUERL, POPE EMERITUS BENEDICT AND ALL THE OTHERS, THEIR BODIES ROTTING WHILE SWINGING ON ROPES, HANGED IN FRONT OF THEIR VATICAN AND IN ST PETERS SQUARE FOR ALL TO SEE….THAT WE WILL NO LONGER PUT UP WITH THEIR POPES, CARDINALS, BISHOPS, ARCHBISHOPS, PRIESTS AND NUNS…RAPING OUR CHILDREN, MURDERING OUR CHILDREN AND THINKING THEY ARE ABOVE THE LAW BECAUSE THEY ARE THE LEADERS OF THIS PSYCHOTIC RELIGIOUS SECT.
WE EXECUTE CHILD RAPISTS AND MURDERERS ALL THE TIME, WE IMPRISON FOR LIFE EVIL, SOULESS, MORALESS, SCUMBAGS LIKE THIS ALL THE TIME.
WELL IT IS TIME TO START DOING THE SAME THING WITH THE PEDOPHILE PIMPS, PRIESTS, NUNS AND THE SCUM OF THE UNHOLY ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH.
Frank J LaFerriere
Cardinal Roger Mahony defends legacy on church abuse in blog
2/2/13 By Gillian Flaccus
On his blog on Friday, retired Cardinal Roger Mahony said he was ill-equipped to deal with sexually abusive clergy when he took over the archdiocese in 1985 and quickly sought to develop policies and consult with leaders in other dioceses.
LOS ANGELES — The public rebuke of retired Cardinal Roger Mahony for failing to take swift action against abusive priests adds tarnish to a career already overshadowed by the church sex abuse scandal but does little to change his role in the larger church.
Mahony can still act as a priest, keep his rank as cardinal and remain on a critical Vatican panel that elects the next pope.
While Archbishop Jose Gomez’s decision to strip Mahony of his administrative and public duties was unprecedented in the American Roman Catholic Church, it was another attempt by the church to accept responsibility for the abuse scandal that has engulfed it.
Victims were quick to point out that Mahony’s new, paired-down local standing was in stark contrast to his continued position among the prelates at the Vatican.
The decision “is little more than window dressing. Cardinal Mahony is still a very powerful prelate,” Joelle Casteix, the Western regional director of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, said at a Friday news conference outside the Los Angeles cathedral. “He’s a very powerful man in Rome and still a very powerful man in Los Angeles.”
The Vatican declined to comment Friday when asked if the Holy See would follow Gomez’s lead and take action against Mahony.
Tod Tamberg, the archdiocese spokesman, said Mahony was in Rome several weeks ago for meetings unrelated to Thursday’s announcement. He said he did not know if Pope Benedict XVI was aware of Gomez’s announcement.
The cardinal and Gomez both declined interview requests from The Associated Press.
In a letter to Gomez posted on Mahony’s blog Friday, the cardinal said he was ill-equipped to deal with sexually abusive clergy when he took over the archdiocese in 1985 and quickly sought to develop policies and consult with church leaders in other dioceses. He reminded Gomez that he was well aware when he took over in 2011 of the steps Mahony had taken to safeguard children.
“Not once over these past years did you ever raise any questions about our policies, practices, or procedures in dealing with the problem of clergy sexual misconduct involving minors. I have stated time and time again that I made mistakes, especially in the mid-1980s,” he wrote.
“Unfortunately, I cannot return now to the 1980s and reverse actions and decisions made then. But when I retired as the active Archbishop, I handed over to you an archdiocese that was second to none in protecting children and youth.”
Gomez’s public criticism is almost unheard-of in the highly structured church institution and would have been cleared by the Vatican in advance, said the Rev. Thomas Doyle, a canon lawyer who worked for the Vatican’s Washington, D.C., embassy.
“He’s an archbishop — he cannot order a cardinal around,” said Doyle, who co-authored a 1985 report warning of a coming clergy sex abuse scandal. “The Catholic church is a monarchy. If you’re one of the princes of the realm and you’re a duke, you don’t dump on a prince without the king’s permission or you’re no longer a duke. That’s what the deal is.”
Gomez went as far as he could within this authority, but only the Pope has the power to sanction a cardinal or laicize him, he said.
Gomez made the announcement Thursday as the church was forced by a court order to turn over thousands of pages of confidential priest personnel files after a bruising, five-year legal fight. The archbishop also accepted a resignation request from one of Mahony’s top aides, now-Bishop Thomas Curry.
The move came two weeks after other long-secret priest personnel records showed Mahony and Curry, in particular, worked behind the scenes to protect the church from the engulfing scandal.
Mahony is a member of three Vatican departments, including the Holy See’s all-important economic affairs office, and he remains a member of the College of Cardinals. At 76, he is still eligible to vote in a conclave to elect a new pope.
The Vatican’s former sex crimes prosecutor, Bishop Charles Scicluna, has said Canon Law provides for sanctioning bishops who show “malicious or fraudulent negligence” in their work, but has acknowledged that such laws have never been applied in the case of bishops who covered up sex abuse cases.
In the past, lower-ranking members of the church hierarchy who have spoken out about their superior’s handling of the clergy abuse crisis have been rebuked by the Holy See.
In 2010, for example, Viennese Cardinal Cristoph Schoenborn criticized the former Vatican No. 2, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, in an interview for his handling of a notorious sex abuse case. Schoenborn didn’t use Sodano’s name in his critique, but was nonetheless forced to come to Rome to explain himself to the pope and Sodano.
The Vatican publicly rebuked Schoenborn, saying that only the pope has authority to deal with accusations against a cardinal.
The Vatican’s silence after Thursday’s announcement indicates they were aware of it, said Patrick Wall, a former Benedictine monk and priest and vocal church critic who consults on clergy abuse cases.
“Gomez was as brilliant as a sniper the way he orchestrated this because he did not overstep his authority against the Pope and yet at the same time it appears that some type of penalty is being imposed,” said Wall. “He cannot force Mahony to resign. It’s brilliant and this has never happened in the U.S.”
Mahony will reduce his public appearances, including numerous guest lectures nationwide on immigration reform, and no longer perform confirmations, Tamberg said. However, he remains a priest in good standing and will continue to live in a North Hollywood parish and can celebrate the sacraments with no restrictions, he said.
Several of the documents in the newly released files echo recurring themes that emerged over the past decade in dioceses nationwide, where church leaders moved problem priests between parishes and didn’t call the police.
Studies commissioned by the U.S. bishops found more than 4,000 U.S. priests have faced sexual abuse allegations since the early 1950s, in cases involving more than 10,000 children — mostly boys.
In one instance, a draft of a plan with Mahony’s name on it calls for sending a molester priest to his native Spain for a minimum of seven years, paying him $400 a month and offering health insurance. In return, the cardinal would agree to write the Vatican and ask them to cancel his excommunication, leaving the door open for him to return as a priest someday.
It was unclear whether the proposed agreement was enacted.
“I am concerned that the Archdiocese may later be seen as liable — for having continued to support this man — now that we have been put on notice that one of the young adults under his influence is suicidal,” a top aide wrote in a memo about the priest to Mahony in 1995, urging him to stop paying benefits to the priest.
The cardinal added a handwritten note: “I concur — the faster, the better.”
In another case, Mahony resisted turning over a list of altar boys to police who were investigating claims against a visiting Mexican priest who was later determined to have molested 26 boys during a 10-month stint in Los Angeles. “We cannot give such a list for no cause whatsoever,” he wrote on a January 1988 memo.
Mahony, who retired in 2011 after more than a quarter-century at the helm of the archdiocese, has publicly apologized for mistakes he made in dealing with priests who molested children.
Associated Press writer Shaya Tayefe Mohajer contributed to this report.
Lawyers Question New York Cardinal in Milwaukee Suits
By LAURIE GOODSTEIN Published: February 20, 2013
A week before Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan is set to leave New York for Rome, where his name is being floated as a candidate for pope, he was questioned in Manhattan for three hours on Wednesday behind closed doors in a legal deposition concerning the sexual abuse of children by priests.
The lawyers deposing Cardinal Dolan represent hundreds of people who say they were sexually molested by priests in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, which he led for seven years before his appointment as archbishop of New York in 2009. The lawyers want to know when Cardinal Dolan, as archbishop of Milwaukee, learned of allegations against certain priests, and how quickly he made those allegations public.
Cardinal Dolan is one of two American cardinals who are being deposed in sexual abuse lawsuits this week, and who plan to travel to Rome next week in advance of the proceedings to elect the successor to Pope Benedict XVI, who announced last week that he was resigning Feb. 28.
The other American is Cardinal Roger M. Mahony, the retired archbishop of Los Angeles. He is expected to be deposed on Saturday in Los Angeles, and he has been under fire since the court-ordered release last month of 12,000 pages of internal church files revealing his role in shielding accused priests from the law.
A spokesman for the Archdiocese of New York, Joseph Zwilling, said that Cardinal Dolan had cooperated fully with the deposition.
“Today Cardinal Dolan had the long-awaited opportunity to talk about his decision nine years ago in Milwaukee to publicize the names of priests who had abused children and how he responded to the tragedy of past clergy sexual abuse of minors, during the time he was privileged to serve as Archbishop of Milwaukee,” Mr. Zwilling said in a statement. “He has indicated over the past two years that he was eager to cooperate in whatever way he could, and he was looking forward to talking about the good work and progress that took place to ensure the protection of children and pastoral outreach to victims.”
Cardinal Dolan has been much discussed as a possible candidate for pope. The cardinal, who is the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, is a charismatic figure at ease in parishes as well as in morning talk show studios, and he left a strong impression in the Vatican last year with speeches promoting what the church calls the “new evangelization.”
But in New York, he has been dogged by the legal cases in Milwaukee. His successor, Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki, had the archdiocese declare bankruptcy in 2011, saying that it would be the best way to compensate all the victims and for the church to move forward. Milwaukee was the eighth Catholic diocese in the United States to seek bankruptcy protection because of abuse lawsuits.
In the Milwaukee Archdiocese, 575 people have filed claims saying that they were abused, over many decades, by Catholic clergymen. About 70 said they were victims of the Rev. Lawrence C. Murphy, who, church records show, admitted having molested deaf students at a boarding school outside Milwaukee, said Jeff Anderson, a lawyer in St. Paul who represents 350 of the 575 plaintiffs.
Bankruptcy negotiations fell apart last year when the archdiocese argued that many of the 575 cases were invalid. Frank LoCocco, the lawyer for the Milwaukee Archdiocese and Cardinal Dolan, said the cases were beyond Wisconsin’s statute of limitations, or the plaintiffs had already received settlements, or the accused were not employed by the archdiocese.
Lawyers for the victims argue that previous archbishops, including Cardinal Dolan, intentionally stalled and kept allegations quiet so that the cases would fall beyond the statute.
Mr. Anderson, who questioned Cardinal Dolan on Wednesday, said he had already deposed a former Milwaukee archbishop, Rembert G. Weakland, and Auxiliary Bishop Richard J. Sklba.
“The deposition of Cardinal Dolan is necessary to show that there’s been a longstanding pattern and practice to keep secrets and keep the survivors from knowing that there had been a fraud committed,” Mr. Anderson said.
The Milwaukee Archdiocese said recently that it had spent $9 million in legal fees. Creditors accuse the archdiocese, under Archbishop Dolan, of shielding $55 million in a cemetery trust. The archdiocese argued that those assets had been set aside for Catholic burials by Archbishop Dolan’s predecessors.