CATHOLIC SCHOOLS & STAFF
To our Catholic Schools and Staff
Many of these problems have infiltrated our local schools. As Catholics we tried to put the best face on these problems to avoid controversy and scandal. This is not helping our schools, rather this is putting future children at risk.
As catholics we try to put our business talents to use helping our Catholic institutions. In the past the priests have been the moral advisors and the laity have been the secular instructors. We helped with business while the priests guided us in morals.
This model allowed us to be complacent and many of us delegated our moral teachings. We accepted wrong behaviors and failed in our moral duty. We thought to help hide a problem with our moral teachers was in some way helping, but it was not.
Please allow me to give two examples of how this does not help.
We have a priest engaging in behavior that the students complain about.
They make comments of some nature that students are uncomfortable about. So we let it go and the administration mentions it to father.
Next, father goes around taking a lot of pictures of our girls or boys with his camera.
Do we ask ourselves, why is someone taking more pictures of my kids than I am?
Is this a parent or a friend, just how appropriate is this? Again, we say something to Father and we brush it under the rug. Later Father makes contact with the kids online and they again feel something is not right with his contact. So we ask Father not to contact the kids online anymore.
If we take this situation from anyone other than a priest we would all be concerned and would have taken more decisive action. Instead we quietly push these actions to the background thinking this is all for the good of the school. We never ask ourselves is it right or is it a symptom of something more.
What we do know is due to the nature of child abuse, the age of the victims and the social pressures exerted on them, most victims do not come forward about molestations until many years later.
Please do not assume that since this problem is public it changes in anyway the response of child victims.
So say five, ten, fifteen years from now when a child comes forward and says Father assaulted me when I was at school how does this now look in retrospect?
You had several complaints and odd occurrences and instances yet they were all brushed under the rug to avoid possible scandal. We hid the tell tail signs from people but as an organization we should not have.
This is a situation that has played out time and time again. We have had multiple children getting abused because we didn’t want to go the extra step, we wanted to be discreet. Families tell me how priests were able to have access and in some cases molest their kids because no one spoke up. No one wanted to say something was wrong or odd.
The Second example is much like the first. We have priests or religious sexually active in the community. Visiting gay bars or always showing up with a “girlfriend” at their side. We just think that doesn’t influence them because they are adults. Yet they are charged with protecting our children from abuse. So they are in a compromising position. The abusers know what they are up to which provides them ammo, “blackmail” material.
Again, later when victims start coming out in droves everyone cannot fathom how so much abuse took place under the watch of this very same person. How did that person not know what was happening under their very noses, or did they?
As a teacher or worker in your church the axiom, “silence speaks consent” has a very real and lasting effect. We do not think we would consent to child molestation but in a very real way we did our part.
I recently called a principle and a person in charge of a childrens facility regarding a priest in the diocese. The answers were disturbing to say the least. One was you should contact Tony Degol on these matters. The other was "the Bishop said he was ok"
Please let me be clear, as principles or anyone in charge of children YOU are responsible for their care. That is the law!
If something happens to children under your care and you had knowledge of a possible threat YOU are responsible. Not just the diocese and certainly not their paid spokesperson.
The Bishop has let several known accused child molesters roam free in this diocese for 5 years. If you are taking his word for anything you do not have a clue.
You become no differnet than an employee of organized crime. Will you do illegal and immoral things or look the other way because you are PAID? You have to be part of the solution.