The “other” Scandal cover-ups

The “other” Scandal cover-ups

From the beginning of the Scandal, I’ve said that lots of scrutiny was being given to cover-up by Church officials (and rightly so), but very little was being given to law enforcement and judicial officials who apparently participated in cover-ups. In one case a priest was being picked up by police in his car with a young man and was turned over to an archdiocesan official without charging him. Others were given a slap on the wrist by judges, usually out of a misplaced deference to diocesan or archdiocesan officials.

In Connecticut this week legislators and victims are questioning the destruction of files related to an alleged abusive priest by state police. The police said the files were destroyed after the standard 10-year period had elapsed, in January 2004, but lawyers for the victims said the actual end of the deadline was March 2004 and that it appears they were destroyed early because they knew the lawyers were looking for them.

“I’m not saying there was a cover-up, I’m just saying it looks like there was,” said [Rep. Michael] Lawlor, co-chairman of the legislature’s Judiciary Committee.

“It looks like the records were destroyed because they knew the lawyers would be looking for them,” said Lawlor, suggesting the motivation was to protect the state police and Catholic Church from embarrassment. “It’s either an extraordinary coincidence or a deliberate attempt to destroy the records before the lawyers got a hold of it.”

He added that there’s no requirement that the files be destroyed and given the pending civil suits against the Archdiocese of Hartford, they should have kept them.

Incidentally, the files relate to Fr. Stephen Foley, the priest I mentioned yesterday who is still driving what I called “victim bait,” a car tricked out like a police cruiser similar to vehicles he allegedly used in the past to lure kids.

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  • I wonder how long it will be before these groups start asking, “What did the media know, and when did they know it?”; it will be interesting to see how the Globe will react to accusations from victims’ groups about “burying” stories, and demands to open their records to public scrutiny.

  • Back in the days when my law degree was active, I had occasion to try to obtain a CT criminal record which was older than the statutory period.  No could do. This is a GOOD thing—it is designed to protect people whose plea bargains include erasure of records and who are entitled to write “no” in answer to questions about convictions.

    I would not suspect that a 3-month difference automatically meant being evasive.  Routine destruction of records over a lengthy period could be scheduled on a three month basis, and it’s possible that under the right circumstances the state could be sued for maintaining records past the appropriate date because of the statutory mandate.  Much less likely to run into a fuss because of early destruction if it’s within a reasonable period.