The Boston Globe recently shared the story of Catholic priests who continue to earn salary and benefits as their clergy abuse cases languish. One priest has during this waiting period graduated law school and began practicing law. When the Globe pursued details on this story, this priest referred questions to his attorney.
According to the Globe, the attorney “ridiculed the notion that sexual abuse of a minor could extend into a victim’s early 20s, or that it could have taken someone so highly educated so long to report abuse.” This is a particularly egregious statement given that teens living under the weight of long-term sexual molestation and emotional manipulation slowly develop a deep perception that they cannot escape the abuser. It is often years later before a full realization of what occurred can form in a victim’s mind.
Accused of molesting one 14 year old boy (in the 80s), the priest said he was giving the boy bodybuilding advice. The Globe reports him as saying, “I am only guilty of gross stupidity and indiscretion.” A second man claims the priest abused him over years starting at age 13. The man says he was instructed to get naked for confession so that “there are no barriers between us.” He was over the coming years offered clothing and college tuition as an emotionally dependent relationship formed.
Had this relationship begun at the legal age of consent, the priest’s attorney would have a solid point and this case would have been thrown out. It has not been thrown out, and I suspect the approach of this attorney is actually adding validity to the accuser’s charges because blaming victims is no defense.
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