Spinning in LA: the myth of transferred pervert priests

Spinning in LA: the myth of transferred pervert priests

What kind of crack are they smoking in Los Angeles? From the latest issue of the LA Archdiocese newspaper, The Tidings:

The belief that bishops moved child abusers from parish to parish, allowing them to abuse over and over, may well be one of the greatest myths created by the press coverage of the sexual abuse scandal in the Church.

Do they think we’re that naive? Do they think we have such short memories?

They quote one of the lead researchers in the study done for the bishops by the John Jay Criminal College:

“It is clear that transferring priests with allegations of child sexual abuse was not a general response to the problem, and was limited to a finite number of cases.”

Yes, the cases were not infinite. A finite number tells us nothing except that there were cases. If every single case involved transferring priests, it would still be finite. The question is how many of the cases involved such transferrals. Just as important, how are they defining “transfer”?

What the archdiocese is claiming is that since many cases were not reported until years after the abuse occurred, the cardinals could not have known about the abuse at a time when they could transfer these priests. This is balderdash. Go to bishop-accountability.org and peruse the documents for LA, Boston, New York, or any other of the dioceses listed there and you will find case after case of priests being transferred. Many were removed from parishes when their actions came to light—not necessarily when abuse was reported by victims, but when other priests complained—and then moved to other parishes, often after a short stopover at a “treatment” center that did nothing but rubber-stamp a clean bill of health. In Boston alone, I can name Geoghan, Shanley, and Birmingham off the top of my head. If I stopped for a moment I could think of a dozen more. Were all the cases examples of transferred priests? No, but to call it a myth is disingenuous at best. It’s an outright lie at worst.

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