Priests accused of abuse hiding in plain sight

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The Archdiocese of Newark has placed priests accused of abuse in this retirement home in Rutherford, not far from two schools. Photo by Saed Hindash/The Star-Ledger

The Archdiocese of Newark has placed priests accused of abuse in this retirement home in Rutherford, not far from two schools. Photo by Saed Hindash/The Star-Ledger

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RUTHERFORD, N.J. (RNS) Monsignor Peter Cheplic is one of at least seven alleged sexual predators quietly placed in a Rutherford retirement home for priests in the past 15 years -- on the same block as a Catholic grade school. This is hardly an isolated case: Across the country, clerics who have been removed from ministry are being housed by dioceses in neighborhoods teeming with children, and residents rarely know about their presence.

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  • Leo

    I don’t excuse the church because it had clear guidelines and directives from canon law. However, I question the almost single coverage of Catholic priests. The malady and crime exists elsewhere, and it gets little coverage. The ultra-Orthodox Jewish community has huge problems, but they don’t seem to get coverage, and their style has been the same as the R.C. church, that is, hide them and don’t tell. It is even against a Jewish precept to bring in the authorities.

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  • Duane Lamers

    Leo, I agree. My perspective: liberal “journalists” are like most other liberals in that they’d like to see religion cast aside entirely. They figure that their best bet in accomplishing this is first to go after the big cahouna, the Catholic Church. Bring it down and all the other cards in the religion deck will fall as well. Perhaps you’ve noticed that liberals don’t go after even the extremists among the Muslims. No, they find excuses to exonerate them.

    The priest’s “with history” have been living at the residence for years and none of them has been accused of anything in all that time. Geez, that’s reason to be upset, isn’t it.

  • Jim

    Maybe the liberals who don’t like the Catholic Church would like to see them housed at Guantanamo. There appears to be a different standard here applied to the church and the priests than for other Americans, and absolutely no evidence that the Diocese of Newark violated any New Jersey law related to Sex Offender Registration and Community Notification.

  • Re: “However, I question the almost single coverage of Catholic priests.”

    “Single coverage”? Uh, no. Hardly. There’s been plenty of media coverage of child abuse by clergy in other religions. A quick Google search will turn up many stories involving other religions. For instance, in the example you cited:

    Ultra-Orthodox Shun Their Own for Reporting Child Sexual Abuse (NY Times)

    Brooklyn DA: Intimidation in Ultra-Orthodox Jewish Sex Abuse Cases Worse Than Mob Cases (WNYC)

    Another much-more-recent example is this, involving a Protestant evangelical church:

    5 officials at Longmont church accused of failing to report alleged child abuse by youth pastor (Denver channel 7)

    The media report on child abuse in many venues, even outside religion, including this recent item:

    PD: Bloomfield teacher arrested for sex assault (WTNH)

    Catholic apologists’ complaint that the media “only” report on child abuse by priests, and by no one else, is patently untrue, as I’ve been able to demonstrate above. But even if it were, it would still not excuse the abuse nor the hierarchs’ cover-ups; abusing children is always wrong, no matter who does it, and without regard to how or when the media chooses to report on it. To think otherwise is “two wrongs make a right” thinking, and is fallacious.

  • Earold Gunter

    How sad it is that not one of these comments was about the children who possibly had their innocence stolen from them from the very people they should have been able to trust the most. Instead you focus your comments on some sort of hypothesized paranoid liberal conspiracy theory about how these situations get reported, in right wing speak for anything but rightwing media, “mainstream media”.

    The “Big Kahuna” failed to bring these potential criminals to the real law authorities, but rather just moved them from one location to the next. This potentially (potentially only because not many were arrested tried and convicted because of these tactics), is not only morally corrupt, and shameful, but could also be a criminal act as they may have aided and abetted these child molesters, and prosecutable under the RICO Act as is was organization wide, and potentially driven from the top of the organization.

    Like the majority of the moderate Muslim community who does not stand up and speak out against those that do harm in the name of their religion, the Catholics majority has also not collectively screamed about the atrocities committed by their clergy, and their “Big Kahuna” church. Unfortunately, it instead has made appalling comments like these, which seek to divert attention from it. You should be ashamed of yourselves

  • Lwolkow

    So you are less annoyed about the sexual abuse and more about what you perceive is some kind of selective coverage. A church’s reputation is more important to you than children being victimized. This is disgusting.

    The RCC is much bigger, better funded and much more organized than virtually all other faiths in the developed world. Their efforts at covering up these scandals rivals no other religious group in terms of people used, money spent and just plain systematic bad behavior. Of course they will get the majority of the attention.

    Other faiths get reported for these kinds of scandals as well. Your objection is dishonest claptrap.

  • Lwolkow

    Blaming the “liberal media” for this sort of thing is the weakest, stupidest excuse you can come up with. Like most people who use religion to excuse reprehensible actions, you are completely unconcerned with people harmed and the reality of the situation and more concerned with scoring cheap talking points.

    “The priest’s “with history” have been living at the residence for years and none of them has been accused of anything in all that time.”

    And I bet you would love to have them watch your children in an unsupervised manner.

  • Lwolkow

    How about we lock up the people who make silly excuses for child molesters instead and those who cover up their crimes?

    At least the child molesters can claim they act under compulsion. The people who cover their tracks and their apologists act with immoral intent in efforts to preserve their church at the cost of credibility and justice.

    Churches should be held to a lower standard than the rest of society. As people who profess to be the arbiters of morality for their sect, any whiff of hypocrisy and dishonesty undermines their authority.

  • Duane Lamers

    It appears that some commentators above think that I am attempted to defend the Catholic Church’s record regarding child abuse. Absolutely not. I go further and suggest that existing penalties in various jurisdictions are too lenient for those who abuse children. I would likely be considered “draconian” by these same commentators if they knew how I would deal with the criminals.
    As for Google turning up references to any of the mainstream reporting of churches other than the Catholic: Do we find these reports on the three major broadcast news programs? On what page of the NYT do we find its reporting? That paper tends to bury deep within its pages any reports that might distract from the sort of coverage it decides to plant on page one. The Catholic Church gets page one, above the fold. Others merit only an inch or two somewhere in section B or C. Conservative commentators give us examples of this game regularly.

    I know that I struck a raw nerve in mentioning the mainstream media. They are the bible for liberals, just as FNC and popular talk radio are anathema to them.