An emblematic case

An emblematic case

“Accused priest was Phoenix educator”Arizona Republic

A friend sends the following in relation to the above story:

The edifying stories below (one from yesterday, one from last June) concern a Milwaukee priest named Marvin Knighton. Nothing new, but the case is worth watching because it recapitulates so many occurrences in other dioceses.[Of the stories he references, I’ve only linked to the latest one. I don’t have a link to the one from June.]

  • Knighton was confronted by the father of an alleged abuse victim in 1993. He claims to have approached the Archdiocese of Milwaukee at that time to get the matter cleared-up, but was told there was nothing to be done in default of a formal complaint.

  • In June of 2000, the vicar for clergy of Milwaukee recommends Knighton for high school work in the Diocese of Phoenix, saying “There is nothing in his background that would require [!] us to limit any ministry with children.”

  • Knighton was a “consultant” for Milwaukee’s Office of Child and Youth Mininstry—AFTER he returned from Phoenix.

  • Knighton is black, and has adopted three boys (two are now adult). This calls to mind the Chicago Priest George Clements, also black, who also adopted a number of sons, and has been accused (with what result I don’t know) of abusing some of them.

  • In the case of one of the alleged victims, the contact was made in a bereavement situation (the dying of his mother by breast cancer).

  • The statement by Knighton’s attorney on his behalf (“Not every allegation made by someone is truthful and perhaps we will have to just wait and see what the proof shows.”) falls short of a rousing and defiant declaration of innocence. Only Marcel Maciel’s initial defense (“No one ever complained before.”) is lamer.

  • Once again, the question is not simply “What did they know and when did they know it?” but “Why didn’t they make any effort to find out the truth?”

Written by
Domenico Bettinelli

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