Monthly Archives: May 2013

God or Goat?

GOD OR GOAT is one of the many child porn titles that Jesuit priest Gary Uhlenkott, S.J. at Gonzaga University allegedly purchased—discovered this week as a part of a federal sting operation on the Spokane campus and at the priest’s home.

For the dozen advocates and attorneys who battled for nearly a decade to combat the child abusers in the Oregon Province of the Society of Jesus, this news from Spokane is sickening, but not surprising.

Why? After five years of investigating 45 Jesuit child molesters in the Diocese of Fairbanks, I was shocked at the indifference and lack of action amongst the hierarchy. We discovered in case after case that the Father General, his American assistants in the Roman Jesuit curia, the Jesuit Conference in Washington D.C., the Provincials in Portland, the Socius in Portland, the Presidents at Gonzaga, and the Presidents at Seattle University all knew they had dozens of child molesters in the Province and chose to remain silent.

The lesson from Father Gary Uhlenkott S.J. and Gonzaga is that the crimes against children and the culture of Jesuitical indifference continue in the Society of Jesus. Despite uncovering that President Father John P. Leary, S.J. of Gonzaga was removed in 1969 for child abuse, the Oregon Province filed for bankruptcy protection 2009 to protect itself from hundreds of child abuse victims. Despite being certified by Praesidium, NOTHING has changed in the Society of Jesus.

Where is Father Gary now? Logical guesses are Southdown, Saint John Vianney Institute or Saint Luke Institute for evaluation. All are Roman Catholic-owned and operated facilities that believe they do not have an obligation to report childhood sexual abuse to authorities.

As I look back, maybe former Oregon Provincial Reverend John Whitney, SJ was brutally honest ten years ago when referring to Fr. James Poole, SJ. He said, “We do not push anyone off the boat.”  Maybe a goat would be effective.

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Correction: The Courage of One

Please note this correction from Jim Fitzpatrick:

“Please note there is one error in the article and it is on Bishop Carlson.  I did not ever say he threatened me, but that the threat was made to two Franciscan sister whom we know.  They were working at St. Williams in Fridley in the Gil deSutter era and when they pleaded with Bishop Carlson, to remove deSutter, Carlson threatened them with what would happen if they went to the press.  He used the terms that are in the article.  So, when Bishop Carlson took me to lunch and said if I had something on him relative to Tom Adamson (which he knew I did from the Guardian Angels parish experience) and if I felt I needed to go to the authorities or the press, I should do so.  I saw this as a veiled threat or a set up so I could face termination and blackballing in the church employment scene.  So, the threat was indirect.”

Former Minnesota priest Jim Fitzpatrick is courageously speaking about the child sexual abuse crimes by Father Thomas Adamson and the cover-up by the Bishops of Winona.

Almost 50 years ago, Fitzpatrick broke the silence about what distraught parents from Caledonia told him about the priest and notified Winona Bishop Edward A. Fitzgerald about Adamson the very next day.

Fr. Jim Fitzpatrick served the Church as a pastor and teacher from 1963-1973. Fitz left active ministry in 1973, married and continued serving the Church as a parish administrator in the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. And he would remain in the dark about Adamson.

After Fitz’ report in 1965, Adamson was cycled from parish to parish, treatment center to treatment center and diocese to diocese.

Unknown to Fitz, Bishop Loras Watters, successor to Bishop Fitzgerald, had reports from four experts about Fr. Adamson—the Institute for Living (a well-known Catholic treatment facility), a local priest therapist, the Bishop’s own priest personnel board and the Servants of the Paraclete. All said that Adamson was fixated on boys.

Finally, Bishop Watters, under the Hierarchy’s policy of omertà, applied the “geographic solution” and ordered Adamson to Saint Paul, where the “scandal” could be better controlled.

By this time, Fitz was working as a church administrator. He received a call that Auxiliary Bishop Robert J. Carlson had assigned Fr. Thomas Adamson to his parish. Fitz immediately called Winona and asked Vicar General Father Donald Schmitz if Adamson was still sexually abusing boys. Schmitz—according to Fitz—said yes. Fitz threatened to resign. Carlson instead transferred Adamson to another parish.

This story is informative on several levels. First, many Roman Catholic priests have one first-hand story about a fellow priest who sexually abused a child.

For example: with Adamson, dozens of priests, members of the personnel boards and bishops in Winona and Saint Paul (pastors, chancellors, vicar generals, auxiliary bishops, bishops) had reports on Adamson. But only one broke with the rule of omertà.

In addition, the hierarchy will and does use coercive power in order to silence whistleblowers—right out of Machiavelli’s “The Prince. According to Fitz, Auxiliary Bishop Carlson told Jim Fitzpatrick the price he would have to pay (firing and black balling) if he went to the police or press about Adamson. Nota Bene, Carlson was promoted and now is the Archbishop of Saint Louis.

Lastly, some will criticize Fitz for not breaking the chain of command sooner and calling someone outside the Church. But I commend Fitz for following his conscience, speaking now and demonstrating by example how to put children first.

My hope is that the thousands of priests and lay ministers in Minnesota who know about perpetrator priests will follow the example of Jim Fitzpatrick. I hope they will follow their conscience, break their silence and report what they know.

There is hope, and Jim Fitzpatrick is leading the way.

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MORTAL SINS on BookTV

Click here for a great segment on BookTV about MORTAL SINS with the author, Michael D’Antonio.

The segment, filmed in New York City, includes a panel with me, Barbara Blaine (SNAP founder and president), Thomas Doyle (priest and advocate), attorney Jeff Anderson, and expert Richard Sipe.

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Accident or Pattern?

Christian Brother Julian McDonald CFC testified in Australia’s Victoria Inquiry last week that the extraordinary level of child molestation at the Irish Christian Brothers school in Ballarat is CERTAINLY AN  ACCIDENT OF HISTORY.  Brother Julian is the Provincial and former chancellor of Australian Catholic University.

I applaud Brother Julian for naming the culture of secrecy and his accurate reiteration of the hierarchy’s version of the history of child sexual abuse an ACCIDENT.

Let’s pause for a moment and think about what Brother McDonald said. Was it an accident, a chance occurrence, a “coinkydink?” Or is it an ancient pattern and practice of criminal behavior in the Catholic Church?

Let’s start by looking at the history of the Irish Christian Brothers and then at the Catholic Church in various parts of the globe.

The Canadian Christian Brothers at Mount Cashel Orphanage were first criminally investigated in 1975. That investigation was snuffed even though two brothers admitted wrong-doing. A second investigation began in 1982, a third in 1989 … all of which culminated in a Royal Crown investigation, popularly called the Hughes Inquiry.

The American Christian Brothers filed for bankruptcy protection from child abuse survivors’ claims in 2011. Nearly 500 survivors from Damien Memorial High School in Hawaii to Bergen Catholic came forward to expose dozens of brothers who molested children in U.S. based Irish Christian Brothers schools.

Is it an accident of history that Rome has removed over 22 bishops for sexually abusing children?

Is it a chance occurrence that 30 Jesuits from three continents accused of sexually abuse children ended up in the Jesuit run Diocese of Fairbanks, Alaska?

Is it a coinkydink that more than 256 bishops, priests and religious are accused of sexually abusing children just in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles?

We are well beyond the tipping point in history: Child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church is part of the criminal fabric of the Bishops’ robes.

 

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