Catholicism Institutions Leaders & Institutions News Social Issues Top Stories

Nebraska Catholic diocese rocked by old abuse allegations

The Aug. 28, 2018, photo shows the Catholic Chancery in Lincoln, Neb. The Diocese of Lincoln, housed in this building, refused for years to participate in annual sex abuse audits and is facing a potential criminal investigation and criticism that it mishandled priests who were accused of sexual assault and morally questionable behavior. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — For more than a decade, a conservative Catholic diocese in Nebraska was the only one in the U.S. that refused to participate in annual reviews of sexual misconduct that were a key reform enacted in the wake of the 2002 Boston clergy abuse scandal.

As a new wave of abuse scandals rocks the Roman Catholic Church, critics say the Diocese of Lincoln is now paying the price for its unwillingness to change and lack of transparency.

Accusers have been coming forward in recent weeks with allegations of sexual abuse and misconduct by clergy in Nebraska, and the diocese is facing a potential criminal investigation and criticism that it mishandled abusive priests even as it should have been subjected to increased scrutiny after the Boston scandal.

From 2002 to 2015, leaders of the Lincoln Diocese refused to participate in annual audits designed to uncover sex abuse allegations and gauge how well church officials were complying with child-protection policies.

Church leaders called the audits a pointless endeavor that assumed wrongdoing by the diocese and its priests, but one of the bishops during that period knew of at least two allegations against priests, according to interviews and a letter obtained by The Associated Press.

“I think the closed nature of the diocese made this worse,” said Rachel Pokora, a member of the Catholic reformist group Call to Action. “Even if the audits never revealed anything — and I think they probably would have — it still shows an unwillingness to be open.”

The Nebraska attorney general’s office has spoken with at least two accusers and urged others to come forward about abuse in the diocese. Lincoln police are also investigating a priest accused of having an “emotionally inappropriate, non-sexual relationship” with a 19-year-old male altar server that involved alcohol in 2017, church officials said.

A Lincoln police spokesman confirmed the investigation but declined to comment further. On Wednesday, the diocese unveiled a new, anonymous hotline and website to take complaints.

The scandals come amid accusations that Pope Francis was complicit in the face of sex-abuse allegations against a former high-ranking cardinal in Washington, D.C., and a grand jury investigation that identified more than 1,000 child victims in Pennsylvania.

Many of the new allegations in Lincoln focus on the actions of the Rev. James Benton, a 71-year-old priest who retired last year despite church leaders’ knowing about abuse allegations against him for at least 15 years.

Stan Schulte, a 37-year-old chiropractor in Lincoln, said Benton, his uncle, molested him at a rectory sleepover in the early 1990s when Schulte was a boy. Another Lincoln man, Jeffrey Hoover, reported a similar experience with Benton during a camping trip in the early 1980s while he and the priest slept in the same bed.

Church officials said they didn’t have enough evidence to pursue charges. Benton has not been charged with a crime, although the two men have spoken with an investigator from the Nebraska attorney general’s office.

A diocese spokesman, the Rev. Nick Kipper, said church officials would not comment beyond statements from the current bishop, the Rev. James Conley.

Hoover said he reported his experience to a priest in 1997 and directly to then-Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz in 2002. Schulte notified the diocese in 2017 and said he probably would not have been molested if the diocese had properly responded to Hoover’s allegations.

Bruskewitz led the Lincoln Diocese until 2010 and was the bishop who refused to participate in the audits, saying the diocese was already following all civil and Catholic laws. He argued that some members of the board that oversaw the audits were “advocates of partial-birth abortion, other abortion, human cloning and other moral errors.”

“It is understandable then how such persons could dislike the Diocese of Lincoln, which upholds the moral teaching of the Catholic Church,” Bruskewitz said in a 2006 statement.

Under the audits, participating dioceses must disclose cases of sexual abuse and misconduct to a national review board that compiles all cases for an annual public report that shows the number of allegations and makes recommendations for how churches can improve.

The Lincoln Diocese is one of the nation’s most conservative, a reputation highlighted by its refusal to allow female altar servers. Virtually all Catholic churches eliminated their bans shortly after the Vatican lifted the restriction in 1994.

Conley, who succeeded Bruskewitz, reversed the diocese’s policy on the audits and began participating in them in 2015 after declaring that the process had improved from its previous methodology.

Benton has denied the allegations and an investigation didn’t turn up enough evidence to prosecute, according to a May 7 letter the diocese sent to Schulte. But the church offered to reimburse Schulte up to $3,000 for counseling if he submitted receipts showing where he had sought treatment. Schulte said he felt it was intrusive for church officials to know where he went.

The church also promised to keep Benton at a home for retired priests and said it would not let him help with Lincoln church services.

Benton retired in fall 2017 after new allegations surfaced, and the church imposed new restrictions to prevent the priest from engaging in public ministry in the diocese and banned him from being alone with minors.

Hoover said Benton touched his hip and groin area twice on a camping trip with other boys, when Hoover was around 10 years old.

Hoover said he was disgusted by the diocese response but didn’t pursue it because he doubted the church would do anything more, he felt embarrassed, and he assumed Benton wouldn’t interact with young boys in the future.

“I probably would have just lived with it,” he said. “But as soon as I started having kids of my own, I realized it’s not just about me.”

The cases came to light after a defrocked priest leveled allegations this month against the late Monsignor Leonard Kalin, former pastor of the University of Nebraska’s Newman Center. Kalin served at the Newman Center from 1970 to 1998 and died in 2008.

Those accusations prompted another former seminarian, Wei Hsien Wan, to allege that Kalin made unwanted sexual advances toward him and another man when he was a young seminarian in 1998.

Wan said he reported Kalin’s actions to a priest twice, after which time Bruskewitz imposed restrictions on Kalin.

Wan said he doesn’t believe the diocese has been transparent. He pointed to an Aug. 4 public statement from Conley, which acknowledged “one report of a physical boundary violation” by Kalin. Wan said the church was aware of allegations from him and another seminarian in 1998.

“The Diocese has proven itself incapable of handling allegations in a responsible manner,” Wan said by email from his home in Malaysia.

The author of this story is not related to Stan Schulte.

About the author

Grant Schulte

87 Comments

Click here to post a comment

  • So when is Pope Francis going to convene the Tribunal he said will be hearing cases of offenders and enablers?

  • He is going to appoint a commission to study the feasibility of appointing a commission to study the feasibility of convening such a Tribunal. If it is deemed feasible, he will then ask for input protected by the Papal Secret from all those who have something to hide to determine if such a Tribunal is not only feasible but actually advisable. We wait with bated breath.

  • His Excellency’s name cannot be mentioned enough in this thread:

    Fabian Bruskewitz, Bishop of Lincoln (1992-2012)
    Fabian Bruskewitz, Bishop of Lincoln (1992-2012)
    Fabian Bruskewitz, Bishop of Lincoln (1992-2012)

    I’ll stop at three since this was the number of times that Peter denied knowing Jesus (Mark 14:66-72).

    Oops, the good bishop’s episcopal motto: “Under thy protection”, which, under the circumstances, gives new — albeit twisted — meaning to the phrase!

  • So all of a sudden this conservative diocese has seen the light and is gonna change its mind and investigate?

    Anyone care to bet that they’ll only find cases so old that the alleged abusers are dead, suffering dementia, or otherwise not able to be disciplined?

    Hard to imagine much will change until a few of the coverup artists and abusers start getting beaten up by their victims.

  • “’I think the closed nature of the diocese made this worse,’ said Rachel
    Pokora, a member of the Catholic reformist group Call to Action. ‘Even
    if the audits never revealed anything – and I think they probably would
    have – it still shows an unwillingness to be open.’”

    I am sure that Ms. Pokora’s comment is unrelated to the fact that have been under an excommunication in the diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska, since 1996, upheld by the Congregation for Bishops in 2006.

    It takes a few minutes of reading to figure out that one of the “abuse” allegations involves drinking with a 19 year old, one involves a family abuse case, and one Monsignor Leonard Kalin who conveniently died a decade ago.

    No, the Diocese of Lincoln is not “rocked”, despite this story planted by Call To Action based on wishing otherwise.

  • What a surprise. Just like Captain Renault collecting his gambling winnings at Rick’s.

    Good to see the diocese won’t get away with its cover-up. Hopefully, criminal charges will be vigorously pursued where justified.

  • In 2016, religious conservatives elected a president with a stunning “total lifetime number” of sexually inappropriate behaviors and episodes. This aspect of their hero was not secret and unknown. Why are we not connecting the dots yet that the more conservative something is, the seamier and creepier it is for women?

  • Yes, yes, because Jesus was all about secrecy! It’s all through the Gospel accounts. It’s just that because they are secrets, that we don’t read about them.

  • This is the diocese that Tommy and Bobby assured us had no history of sexual abuse because they’d screened out all the homos from the priesthood. Oh well.

  • Now, let us suppose that kids had been given real sex ed–what’s acceptable, what’s not, etc. And let us suppose as well that they had been given REAL education about priests–they are just human beings, thus fallible like the rest of us, etc.

    Ahh, but I keep saying “suppose”. The Catholic church will NEVER allow either of those areas of education…..

  • His total lifetime number of sexually inappropriate behaviors, whatever that means, could not possibly be higher than JFK’s, Ted’s, Bill’s, or a host of others.

    The difference seems to be that he is less politically correct about it, and does a better job as President than the two that actually held that office.

  • “Church officials said they didn’t have enough evidence to pursue charges.”

    And that is the problem. There are two arenas in which charges need to be investigated. One is the Catholic Church’s internal investigation for purposes of Church law and actions that should be taken against priests who commit “crimes” according to Canon Law.

    The other arena is the civil legal world that the Church and that priest also operate within. The civil law is not just present for laity. In this country the state and federal laws of this land are part of the fabric of the society in which the Church functions in this country. A refusal to cooperate with that civil legal world leaves the idea of a just society ruled by law very open to abuse. Which is what we see happening.

    The “church officials” had enough information to report to police an accusation or suspicion of a civil legal violation of a child.

    I am sorry for bishops everywhere who have to figure out how to live in BOTH the religious society and the civil society. But we cannot have a whole cohort of citizenry who think they are outside of or above the civil laws or think they can have a separate code of law that exempts them for the requirements of civil law. Our priests and bishops are not representatives of a foreign power – they are not foreign diplomats.

    We need to hold accountable the bishops who fail to report accusations or suspicions of child sex abuse to civil legal authorities – police. Time for some jail time for bishops who have hidden suspected cases of child sex abuse. It seems the Vatican cannot act, cannot recognize these failures of bishops as the utter failure of leadership that they represent. So, if all we can rely on is civil law, we need to use civil law to assure that bishops report to civil authorities or go to jail themselves.

  • “And that is the problem.” you write, and then describe apparently wanting the Catholic Church to set up something along the lines of the East German Stasi which, in other contexts, you and your friends complain the Catholic Church is already doing.

    Then you incorrectly describe the relationship of ANY employer to the machinery of the criminal law as part of “the problem”.

    If a diocese finds a priest has illegal pictures of children on his computer, it should and does report it. If a parish has AT45 in the pews, and she reports that she’s suspicious of Fr. X, that is not reportable.

    The evidence appears to be that “The ‘church officials” (did not have) enough information to report to police an accusation ….”, although that is certainly something that the authorities are looking into.

    Three entire accusations in a diocese with zero lawsuits and no record of problems.

    The story is a blatant plant by Call To Action.

  • This issue of “enough evidence” regarding a criminal legal matter is what is investigated by police. When someone tells a bishop or a priest that a member of the clergy, a seminarian, a teacher at a local Catholic school has abused or is suspected of having abused a child, then the police need to be told. This isn’t rocket science, Bob.

  • No, it is not.

    No one is required to report the slightest suspicion.

    What you’re attempting to do is created a STASI-like apparatus and atmosphere in the Catholic Church which, were it applied to you, Call To Action, and the other dissident organizations you favor would have screaming bloody murder.

  • The diocese does in fact have history….and two criminal convictions for pedophilia. One a priest assigned to the Navy and the other was a seminarian. There are at this point two other accused priests of which one is Benton. If every other diocese the size of Lincoln is any indication, there are certainly more accusations going back decades. Unfortunately Lincoln is not known for being forthcoming.

  • Actually this diocese does have a history.

    The history of this diocese is that it has absolutely done everything it could to prevent abusers, homosexuals, and others who should not be ordained from being ordained.

    It has had zero lawsuits.

    The priest in the Navy was involved in some sort of even while in the Navy and NOT serving in Lincoln under the supervision of that diocese. I have not seen anything on that about a criminal conviction, certainly not in Lincoln.

    The seminarian incident involved drinking and not a criminal conviction for abuse.

    Your guess about more accusations serves your purpose.

    This is a planted story by Call To Action which has an axe to grind in Lincoln going back to 1996.

  • In some ways, this is a slowly (admittedly too slowly) self-correcting problem. As each new report comes out, there will be fewer and fewer among the laity stupid enough to trust the local bishop and his officials. They will report directly to the civil authorities. And there will be fewer and fewer police departments stupid enough to want to be seen in bed with the local bishop. Of course, there will always be some among the laity stupid enough to trust their local bishop, as evidenced by some of the comments here on RNS.

    Sadly, the problem will probably have to take the slow self-correcting route. There is no evidence that the institutional Church has sufficient backbone or integrity to actually provide the much needed transparency and the much needed accountability that might resolve its role in the abuse scandal.

  • If anything begs for a special counsel investigation at the Department of Justice it is this. It is time the US stop recognizing the Vatican as a State with its own diplomats and so forth. ONly religion in the world that claims to be a sovereign state. Let the Dept of Justice actually spend some time investigating where no one doubts grave harm is being done and start holding these folks accountable.

  • It’s not the province of church officials to determine the sufficiency of evidence present to pursue civil charges. That role belongs to cops and prosecutors.

  • Employee #1 to the boss man – I just saw that ATF45 has child porn on his/her work computer.

    Now what?! As the boss man , what do I do? Do I immediately call the police? Or check it out first?

    Your eagerness to root out the problem (which I agree with) has its pitfalls.

  • Why would Employee #1 report it to the boss man? Why would he not report it directly to the police? The boss man, especially if he is a bishop, will ignore it at best and more likely cover it up if he can. Anyone who reports anything suspicious to the diocese office at this point has not been paying attention for the last 20 years or has his/her head in the sand.

  • BECAUSE ITS NOT TRUE!! Employee #1 has an ax to grind.
    That’s the point. You cannot call everything into the police without knowing if it’s true (or probable) or not.
    You cannot allow false accusations and those that use them as a vendetta to harm innocent people.

    Should I call the police on you and tell them you have porn on your computer and have them just show up at your door?

    All of that being said…IF, someone has evidence that a priest committed a crime – then absolutely call the police. But you cannot have the police come out for every alleged complaint – and that is true regarding the general populous.

  • The Navy Chaplain was accused by four brothers in the Lincoln diocese in 1978. He subsequently went into the Navy where he was court martialed for sexual activity with minors in South Carolina and Sicily, Italy, and sentenced to five years in prison. The seminarian was actually ordained in Lincoln in 1985 and served at a Parish for two years before being convicted and sentenced to three years in state prison.

    You are free to believe whatever you want about the Lincoln Diocese, but like any other diocese it has it’s convicted abusers.

  • Without actual citations I can’t verify either item of vile gossip.

    I follow Bilgrimage a bit, and NCReporter, and do understand that sometimes there’s a bit more spin than fact.

    Once I get some citations to go with this we can revisit it. Names and dates would help.

    Lincoln has been one of the few dioceses without lawsuits.

    The reasons include a number of things, but the major one has been a real effort to not ordain problems and a willingness to to deal with abusers promptly if they surface.

    I have always felt that, like any organization, some failure rate is inevitable and a 100% success rate is impossible.

    Lincoln some years ago built a new seminary to accommodate its burgeoning vocations. Part of that was due to the fact that it had a reputation for not putting the seminarians in the path of homosexuals, which hurt vocations in other dioceses.

  • 1 – Chain of command.

    2 – There is nothing to support “The boss man, especially if he is a bishop, will ignore it at best and more likely cover it up if he can.” except your demonstrable animus towards the Catholic Church.

    3 – If nothing is done, Employee#1 can still call the police.

    As a long-time manager of people I have to say that if you worked for me, called the police without informing me, they found no grounds at all to support your allegation, I would fire you.

    The ability of anyone else on a team to work with you after that would be zero, and you’ve already told me by your action you don’t trust, which means I can’t with you.

  • “Because it is not true”

    That was not part of your example. Why add it in now? Maybe you need to be more rigorous and transparent up front. A lack of transparency seems to be endemic to the Church.

  • The Holy See is recognized by 180 nations.

    The exceptions are Afghanistan, Bhutan, Brunei, Comoros, Laos, the Maldives, North Korea, Oman, the People’s Republic of China, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Tuvalu and Vietnam.

    It is a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), International Telecommunication Union, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). It is a permanent observer in the United Nations General Assembly, the Council of Europe, UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), the World Trade Organization (WTO), and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

    Breaking diplomatic relations accomplishes essentially nothing.

    It does not put the USA in a position to “hold” anyone “accountable”, whatever that means, who is not in the USA.

    The Department of Justice is irrelevant since there are no allegations that I am aware of regarding any violations of Federal law.

  • If I was stupid enough to work for you, Bobbob, I would deserve to be fired, bless your precious little heart.

  • You certainly are stupid enough … it is hard to imagine anyone stupider … to do, or say, nearly anything.

    Now that you have an outlet for your animus towards the Catholic Church:

    https://disqus.com/home/discussion/www-aggiornamento-net/vigano_say_it_aint_so/#comment-4074131091

    “It is now beyond doubt that New Testament scholars need to do a serious revisit of Matthew16:18. Perhaps the oral tradition that was the basis for the text was compromised. Or perhaps there was some textual corruption early on. Possibly, an ambiguity in the text resulted in a translation error. What ever the case, it is now very clear that what Jesus actually said was, ‘Upon this rock I will build my cesspool’.”

    I was rather hoping you’d do your business in that litter box.

  • If ATF45 is a priest, the bishop has two things to do. One is internal to the church and the other is a civic responsibility regarding the dangers of pornography in society. The two different worlds may not define pornography the same way or see the problem with pornography in the same way. Or, see what it is necessary to do to/for the priest as a result of finding pornography. But the priest is answerable in BOTH worlds.

    The bishop looks at the porn and if he even suspects it might be considered porn in the civic world, he calls the cops. If he has any doubts – he calls the cops.

    I don’t want to pretend this is easy or the boundaries are so easily recognized. Yes, there are pitfalls. But there are pitfalls with allowing fear of doing the wrong thing stop you from doing anything. That is why there is a worldwide scandal in the Catholic church and it is why there is #MeToo. Maybe we can learn to act on these suspicions without destroying the innocent person who is wrongly accused.

    I am unsure about even posting this. But what we can’t do is continue to be frozen into inaction or hiding this stuff and hiding from it when it is going on around us. While I advocate action, you advocate nothing but caution, which isn’t going to get us anywhere. If you have some idea to contribute that leads to action/solution I wish you would post it.

  • You are really letting yourself get all upset, Bobbob. Better ask your caretaker to do that special thing to you that helps you calm down, bless your precious little heart.

  • I am not upset at all, infalliblybewildered.

    You’re the one making it obvious you have an axe to grind and no facts to grind it with.

    You’re the one who hallmarks inane posts with “Bobbob”, “bless your precious little heart”, and other filler in lieu of anything substantive.

    You’re the one who makes it obvious a steady diet of National “Catholic” Reporter kills brain cells.

    No, I’m not upset at all.

    But you are.

  • “The bishop looks at the porn and if he even suspects it might be considered porn in the civic world, he calls the cops. If he has any doubts – he calls the cops.”

    “Porn” is not generally illegal in the United States.

    With some minor exceptions, the primary one being child pornography, the bishop would have no reason to contact law enforcement.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Child_pornography_laws_in_the_United_States

    He would have sufficient reason to expel the perpetrator from the clerical state.

    The mistake, of course, was allowing people who think homosexual behavior, pornography, and other aberrant behavior is either “okay” or a treatable “psychological” problem into decision-making roles in the Church.

    It is difficult for a bishop who has been getting away with doing naked leapfrog with seminarians for decades to face the fact that he ought to throw himself out of the ministry, and this bends his perception of those he is supposed to shepherd.

  • I advocate action only after there is cause. Unfortunately that requires those in authority to act in the best interest of the entity and the victim; which in the case of the church didn’t occur.
    Unfortunately, I am not going the other way where people are arrested for false claims.

  • I know what Lincoln has done in terms of it’s seminarians. That’s not my point. My point is every diocese has had it’s abusers and Lincoln is no exception. Any citation you may want to peruse is in the archives of Bishop Accountability. They archive local newspaper accounts and they are not fake news. The McCarrick file is itself interesting reading. And by the way, both Bilgrimage and my own blog dealt with the McCarrick accusations way back in 2008 when Richard Sipe first posted his take. We were not McCarrick supporters by a long shot. Sexual Abuse knows no politics. It’s abuse of clerical privilege period.

  • That’s not your point.

    That is your allegation.

    Bishop Accountability is an advocate, not a reliable and objective resource. Sometimes their sources check out, sometimes they do not.

    You made the allegations, you support them or you drop them.

    Here’s what is NOT happening:

    – Lincoln is not enmeshed in a large number of cases of abuse;

    – Lincoln has no record of cover-ups;

    – The headline “ Nebraska Catholic diocese rocked by old abuse allegations” is hogwash.

    Lincoln is a good example of how to combat abuse, which begins with following Canon Law.

    Fabian W. Bruskewitz who was bishop of Lincoln when the failed plan for addressing clergy sexual abuse was approved by the bishops in June, 2002, was a harsh critic of the so-called charter.

    He pointed out it failed to address the lack of moral teaching and failed to include sanctions on bishops who protected abusive priests. Everyone was held accountable EXCEPT the bishops.

    His opponents at that June meeting were the usual suspects, especially Theodore McCarrick.

    He unsuccessfully attempted to have the bishops approve a provision for studying any relationship between sexual abuse by priests and allowing homosexuals in seminaries.

    He also criticized reducing sexual abuse by priests to disease and mental illness rather than a moral and spiritual evil.

    The results of attempts to counsel bad actors, especially at the St. Luke’s operation in the Maryland DC suburbs, were a disaster.

  • Bruskewitz had much more important things to do than protecting kids like barring girls from being altar servers and excommunicating ACTA members… sarc off/

  • Parker12 – if the church is to act “in the best interest of the entity and the victim” we got what we have always had: a cover-up. We got that in the church, at Penn State, in the Boy Scouts, in the women’s gymnastic olympics. We even got that in the #MeToo movement, when people in organizations knew that powerful men were using their positions of power to sexually abuse women and, in McCarrick’s case, seminarians.

  • OK to marry my daughter?

    No.

    OK to be President?

    Yes.

    The title includes Commander-In-Chief, not Preacher-In-Chief.

    We elected one of those – Jimmy Carter.

    He was a disaster.

    Is this particular Chief Executive doing naughty things in office?

    The ones I mentioned did.

  • “Cause” is the accusation or suspicion of child sex abuse. With your attitude, we have exactly what we have got in the Catholic Church, at Penn State, in the Boy Scouts and everywhere else. To you, it is less of a problem that an abused person receive justice or that another child is sexually abused than that a possibly innocent man or an institution be embarrassed.

  • Based on what?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racketeer_Influenced_and_Corrupt_Organizations_Act

    “In some jurisdictions, RICO suits have been filed against Catholic dioceses, using anti-racketeering laws to prosecute the highers-up in the episcopacy for abuses committed by those under their authority. A Cleveland grand jury cleared two bishops of racketeering charges, finding that their mishandling of sex abuse claims did not amount to criminal racketeering. Notably, a similar suit was not filed against Cardinal Bernard Law, then Archbishop/Emeritus of Boston, prior to his assignment to Vatican City.”

    I have not seen a substantiated allegation that would constitute criminal racketeering, the KKK, AUSCH, and so on notwithstanding.

  • It’s easy to have no history of sexual abuse when you refuse to participate in the USCCB audit system.

  • That’s too easy an example because there would be forensic evidence obtainable by the IT department. In any event, it wouldn’t necessarily change anything. The case of the first American bishop criminally charged for failing to report child sexual abuse began when the diocese was informed by a technician that a priest had several questionable photos on his laptop, including upskirt photographs of young girls. After the diocese was satiated by a police officer’s opinion that it technically was not illegal, they sent him for treatment, told him to stay away from children, and told the parish not a thing. This is after the diocese also had been informed of the priest’s obsession with certain young girls and the fact that someone found a pair of girl’s underwear in the priest’s yard. Of course the priest violated the restrictions almost immediately, contacting a 10-year-old girl on Facebook and, after he was invited to her house for dinner, took upskirt photos of her under the table. He eventually was arrested and found to not only have possessed but produced child p0rnography. The bishop was convicted of failing to report.

  • At will state, common law protections, statutory whistleblower protections for refusing to participate in illegal activities, or disclosing illegal activities.

    The case law supports firing someone for frivolously claiming illegal activities.

    There are some very specific industry protections (nursing homes, public employees, etc) not relevant.

  • What if it’s a non-frivolous, good faith claim made with reasonable cause but the police find no or insufficient evidence?

  • Here ya go. The Catholic Church.

    Two Catholic priests from the Chicago area were arrested in Miami Beach after bystanders at 13th Street and Ocean Drive reported they were having oral sex in their car in broad daylight.

    CBS Miami reports: ‘When police arrived, it was still going on. Police said Berrio and Giraldo Cortez were so engaged, they didn’t even notice that police were there. “We observed the two males performing the sex act, the officer had to tap on the window to get their attention,” said Rodriguez. Both men were placed under arrest without incident.’

    The priests, Diego Berrio and Edwin Giraldo Cortez, serve at Mission San Juan Diego Parish in Arlington Heights, a suburb of Chicago.

    Local10 reports: ‘A spokesman for Mission of San Juan Diego called the Local 10 newsroom, requesting a copy of the police report. He said Berrio was a priest at the church, but had never heard of Cortez. “Is that article a joke or something?” he asked. A call seeking comment from the Archdiocese of Chicago was not immediately returned. Berrio is currently being held on $250 bond at Miami-Dade County’s Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center. Cortez is being held on $1,500 bond in the same facility.’

  • My comments were based on a case.

    The standard, as you might imagine, is that of a “reasonable person”.

    The case involved an older woman whose suspicions were based on things like a fellow worker closing his door, positioning his screen so she couldn’t see it, and so on.

    Apparently she thought that indicated he was up to some sort of hanky panky. She also thought the boss was untrustworthy.

    I have the impression she may have been related to the zany on the Colorado Civil Rights Commission considering the Masterpiece case, who I also would have arranged to get rid of.

    Yes, had this happened in – say – California where irrationality is a norm, the outcome might have been different.

    That would have made the firing more difficult.

  • Your description “…. began when the diocese was informed by a technician that a priest had several questionable photos on his laptop, including upskirt photographs of young girls. After the diocese was satiated by a police officer’s opinion that it technically was not illegal, they sent him for treatment, told him to stay away from children, and told the parish not a thing.” involved multiple violations of Canon Law.

    The priest in question should have been removed from the ministry.

    One of the errors that was constantly being made was in viewing this sort of thing as a psychological problem. No, it is a moral problem. It indicates an unsuitability for any ministerial work.

    St. Luke’s in Maryland seemed to the “go to” place for these sorts of priests, where they got “treatment” and returned to where they eventually went right back to their deeds.

    What’s not clear in your recap is the “what” in “The bishop was convicted of failing to report.”

    If the police gave an all clear, what further event took place that was illegal that the bishop did not report?

  • You may wish to familiarize yourself with the meaning of the word “cause” in law:

    https://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/cause

    It sounds like you’re aiming for “probable cause”:

    “In Criminal Procedure, Probable Cause is the reasonable basis for the belief that someone has committed a particular crime. Before someone may be arrested or searched by a police officer without a warrant, probable cause must exist. This requirement is imposed to protect people from unreasonable or unrestricted invasions or intrusions by the government.”

  • When there is a conviction let us know.

    Also be sure to clean your keyboard of the drool that got on it while you were typing up this bit of salacious vile gossip in your ongoing campaign of attacking Catholics and the Catholic Church.

  • Bobobobobobobboob! Bob!

    Can I call you bob? Boob? I don’t really care which. You’re you. I was wondering how long it would take you to make one of your usual inane responses.

    Salacious gossip is a credible report, appearing on that television thingy, with numerous witnesses AND an arrest?

    Sure, why not. In BobWorld, anything that puts your precious church into a negative light is enough to get your garbage flowing. Personally, I’m disgusted by it. You patently are more upset with me than you are with TWO PRIESTS BEING CAUGHT HAVING SEX IN PUBLIC.

    But hey! At LEAST THEY WERENT ATTACKING CHILDREN. AND SINCE IT WAS IN PUBLIC, THERE WON’T BE A BISHOP OR A CARDINAL TO COVER IT UP! And instead of feeding the poor, at least they won’t have to make a payout to victims.

  • So, everything YOU see on television is “a credible report”?

    Every arrest leads to a conviction?

    I suppose you failed to note that the “TWO PRIESTS BEING CAUGHT HAVING SEX IN PUBLIC” were apparently homosexual.

    That sort of thing is exactly why Canon Law prohibits the ordination of homosexuals.

    So, let’s cut the cr-p – you’re a raving anti-Catholic and the rest of it is window dressing.

  • Yes, and the self-reporting system they do have is obviously flawed, as the grand jury investigations routinely uncover additional cases.

  • At this level to me the real problem is quis custodiet ipso custodes? If you can’t trust the people you’re supposed to trust to follow canon law or other procedures or best practices, then who can you trust?
    I should clarify — in the case I’m discussing, the police officer was never actually shown the pictures. He was asked about a scenario hypothetically and obliquely. There are many further details about the case, including what the bishop knew and when he knew it, at http://www.bishop-accountability.org/legal/State_of_Missouri_v_Bishop_Finn/2012_09_06_Finn_Stipulation_of_Testimony_R.pdf. Although the link is to Bishop Accountability, the document is an official court document and an agreement between the parties on the facts of the case.

  • Item 13 in this narrative was nothing you mentioned.

    The computer technician should have contacted the police, but I don’t see any indication he was charged for failing to do so.

    The diocesan IT person should have contacted the police, but I see no indication she was charged for failing to do so.

    The bishop, apparently not an attorney and not an IT person, was told indirectly by the police and also by diocesan counsel this was not illegal material.

    The document you provided did not indicate the bishop was charged and convicted.

    It appears to be a comedy of errors, not very funny one, of miscommunication, and a bishop brainwashed into believing his priest had a psychological issue, one which was treatable. That leitmotif shows up constantly. No, it is a moral issue, a legal issue, not a psychological issue, and it is not treatable.

    A constant problem, and not just in this area, is that bishops are not canon lawyers with some few exceptions.

    Those few exceptions tend to be the ones with reputations for being harsh in comparsion to the warmer fuzzier types like Theodore McCarrick.

    And, since the bishop is boss, he tends to disregard the canon lawyers.

    But this happens in industry and government as well.

  • Yes, counsel tend to get ignored often by the people in charge.
    The bishop’s name is Robert Finn. You can google for yourself that he was charged and convicted. Critically, he was a mandated reporter under Missouri law, and I do not believe the IT people were.

  • If Lincoln had nothing to hide, then why did the bishop refuse to participate in the reporting system?

  • I think Catholic bishops and clerics did not ignore canon law. As I recall, there are two pertinent canons dealing with scandal vis-a-vis scandal and secrecy. Not being a canon lawyer, I can surmise only that one pertains to the hierarch and the other to the abusing cleric. Both deal with the need to avoid scandalizing the faithful. Right off hand, I don’t recall their numbers, but their wording, as I recall, made it quite easy for a bishop or cleric to justify secrecy. If I can locate them, I’ll add the information to this thread.

    Thanks for the link.

  • We need to increase the number of “exceptions” that do not recognize the Vatican as a legitimate “state”. Bona fide states would still be able to call on the pope or any other respected international religious leader(s) to intervene in peace-building and conflict-resolution matters. The current arrangement stifles international attempts to hold the Church of Rome accountable for rampant and widespread clerical abuse and episcopal malfeasance. Make the Vatican part of Italy.

ADVERTISEMENTs