Updated: 02/11/2014 6:00 PM
Created: 02/11/2014 5:41 PM KSTP.com
By: Cassie Hart
Statement by Frank Meuers of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, on the recent order by a Ramsey County judge.
“We're grateful that a judge today ordered St. Paul Catholic officials to be deposed and turn over records about clerics who commit or conceal heinous crimes against kids.
The need for more disclosure by church figures has been clear for years. Many rightly believe that church officials have not, and are not, being held accountable for irresponsible deeds and crimes that other officials in other organizations would be.
For decades, our justice system has erred on the side of protecting church officials in these cases, sometimes treading lightly for fear of alienating a large institution. The results have been – and continue to be – disastrous.
We must, for the safety of children, err on the side of protecting those who are vulnerable, not those who seem powerful or popular.
St. Paul's archbishop claimed that he and his disgraced top aide should not be deposed. We are glad these complicit clerics lost.
Their excuse was that they supposedly didn't handle the case of this notorious predator priest, Fr. Thomas Adamson. Even if this is true, it's irrelevant.
Many church officials have access to many records about many predator priests. Nearly all of these officials endanger kids by keeping this information secret. All of these officials could (like Jennifer Haselberger) protect kids by speaking up.
Morally, these church officials should be held responsible, because they're at the top of a rigid hierarchy in which their orders are followed and their actions are emulated. Legally, these church officials should be held responsible, for the same reason: they could have protected kids and stopped predators but refused to do so.
No matter which priest molested which kids under which archbishop, every Catholic employee who refused to call the police about known or suspected child sex crimes is guilty – if not legally, then morally.
A CEO of a waste disposal firm may not have loaded or unloaded leaky barrels of dangerous chemicals. That doesn't mean, however, that he should be allowed to pretend he was or is powerless or blameless.
Catholic officials are forever trying to distance themselves from and claim to be powerless over their child molesting clerics. Increasingly, judges, jurors, police, prosecutors and parishioners are rightly seeing through this ruse.
We hope this ruling inspires others who saw, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes and cover ups in Minnesota – in any denomination – to step forward.”