According to news sources, the attorney for one of the catholic priests charged with raping alter boys has come out swinging against the victim. A Grand Jury report accused the priest of raping a then 14-year old boy in the summer of 1996. The defense attorney for the priest claimed that the victim who has had a slippery slope backwards in life, is not a credible witness. As an experienced Pennsylvania sexual abuse attorney who has handled some high profile cases against psychiatrists, medical providers, and clergy and who has represented victims of sexual predators, I am not surprised to learn of the posture of the defense attorney. It is a common defense technique in almost all sexual abuse cases, to portray the victim of the predator as a liar and not a credible source of information. What I find more amazing and more hypocritical is why it took so long for the Archdiocese to finally take legal action and suspend the accused priests. The Church evidently failed to do the right thing until its hand was forced. It was only last week that Cardinal Justin Rigali suspended 21 priests in the Philadelphia Archdiocese after they had been accused of sexual abuse or other improper behavior involving children. The accusations against these priests have evidently been known to the Archdiocese under Rigali and his predecessor Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua for years and in some cases decades according to news sources and investigations.
Since the first Grand Jury report on sexual abuse in the Archdiocese (2005), Cardinal Rigali repeatedly assured his flock that there were no priests in active service known to have abused children. However, the facts indicate otherwise. Apparently 21 priests in active service, who are now considered so dangerous to children, that their immediate suspension was warranted. Obviously, the truth according to a recent article in The Philadelphia Inquirer is that the suspensions only occurred because of last month’s Grand Jury report which exposed the fact that priests were in active service and posing a danger to children. If not but for this Grand Jury report, there probably would have been no suspensions.
For years, news stories have surfaced regarding children that have been raped by members of the clergy and yet the clergy members have been repeatedly protected because law enforcement agencies, legislatures, and media failed miserably to expose these crimes and take steps to stop them.