Bishop William Skylstad of Spokane, president of the USCCBureaucracy, facing numerous sex-abuse lawsuits and the prospect of diocesan bankruptcy proceedings agrees to settlement terms that completely surrender the diocese’s future and throws the rest of us under the bus.
The bottom line on the agreement is that 75 plaintiffs will get $46 million (less one-third for their lawyers). But what of the nonfinancial concessions? According to the New York Times:
The victims, Mr. Kosnoff said, are to be allowed to return to the parishes where they came into contact with their molesters and possibly face them, a provision that victims’ groups said appeared to be a first.
Unless the abusers are still serving those parishes in active ministry, who exactly are these victims going to confront? The parishioners? The priests who serve there now? The concessions also include an agreement to no longer call the victims “alleged” and to allow them to write about what happened to them in the diocesan newspaper. Even more surprising is the following:
Further, Mr. Kosnoff said, the bishop will lobby state lawmakers to abolish statutes of limitations on child sex crimes and will go to every parish where any plaintiff was abused, tell the parishioners that an abusive priest had ministered there and encourage them to report any suspicions of abuse.
As part of a settlement he’s going to lobby to have the state law changed to open up not just his own diocese, but every diocese in Washington to further lawsuits without end. And since he’s USCCB president, lawyer-lobbyists in other states, seeking the potential crack in the wall, will ask for similar laws, noting that if the USCCB president agrees with them then it must be okay (completely passing over the irrelevancy of the USCCB president’s office to the matter.)
And when all those lawsuits arrive from every possible 40-year-old claim, the alleged abuser having long been dead and gone and no possible defense possible, who gets the bill? Will Skylstad have to pay out of his own pocket? No. All the Catholics of Spokane and Seattle and Yakima will pay and pay and pay. Maybe they’ll have to sell off their churches and schools. They may end up with nothing. But Skylstad will have the moral satisfaction of having signed a settlement.
You could get no clearer indication that this is a bad move than that SNAP and VOTF both applaud it as a good move.