Archdiocesan Priest Placed On Leave Presents Himself as Clergy In Public

According to sources, on Friday, June 26th, Father Louis J. Kolenkiewicz attended a funeral at the chapel of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa. He was in full priestly attire. Why is that a problem? Earlier this year, Archbishop Chaput placed Kolenkiewicz on administrative leave. Parishioners at St. Bede the Venerable in Holland in Bucks County, (his most recent assignment) were told he had a pornography addiction. The diocese had disciplined him in both 2005 and 2011, but took further action when the Bucks County District Attorney’s office informed them that of the 12,000 images he downloaded in 2005, up to 12 could have depicted juveniles.  (Read Philadelphia Inquirer article here.) An archdiocesan statement issued this February stated, “While on administrative leave, he is not permitted to exercise public ministry, administer any of the Sacraments, or present himself publicly as a member of the clergy.” I’d say showing up in his black cassock and a white collar at a funeral qualifies as presenting himself publicly as a member of the clergy. Three other priests were in attendance. They may have contacted their superiors. But this brings to mind the subject of monitoring. Should the archdiocese be responsible for monitoring its priests who have been removed or placed on leave? Please note that they priests are still receiving financial assistance.

Here is an interesting passage from Opus Bono Sacerdotii. The group works on behalf of priests with “sensitive situations:”

Question: “This is the first time I hear of the ‘monitoring’. Is this happening in more than one diocese? Does this mean you can function in full ministry now? How often do you see this ‘monitor’? Can he just drop in on a surprise visit?

(Answer) First, there is no reason to simply “cave in” to monitoring, especially if there has been no canonical action taken against you. If you are not under a penalty, impediment or irregularity — which has been formally declared in a canonical action of some sort, you can challenge the bishop’s attempts to monitor you as a violation of your right to privacy under canon 220 (“No one is permitted to harm illegitimately the good reputation which a person possesses nor to injure the right of any person to protect his or her own privacy.”) A canon lawyer should be more than happy to help anyone interested in preparing a letter to his bishop to begin such a challenge….

As for the procedures, many dioceses and religious orders utilize monitoring. Monitoring can be handled by a priest, or official of the Archdiocese, or a professional investigator of some sort. Typically the visits are weekly and yes, they are unannounced visits. The reason for this is to insure that your conduct is appropriate at any given moment, however, it also has value for the one being monitored since there is a quantifiable record against any suspicions of restrictions violation.

All that being said, monitoring should be reserved to those that are in most need of it because of grievous continued inappropriate behavior. These priests are usually very accepting of the restrictions that are placed on them having full knowledge of their personal need for supervision. Unfortunately, there is a gross abuse of the monitoring program by dioceses and religious orders. They are now implementing monitoring for just about any priest that has been accused even if nothing has been proven, or the behavior was so long ago the priest has proven himself over many years without ever re-offending.

We are aware of a monitoring case in which a priest who had never been formally placed under any sort of canonical penalty was subjected to a system of monitoring. The priest appealed the matter to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), and the CDF responded that the bishop’s actions were inappropriate since no formal process had ever been undertaken in this priest’s case and such monitoring constituted a violation of the right to privacy expressed in canon 220. Again, a priest could address this matter by getting a canonist willing to present a petition to the Archbishop asking that his decision to initiate this monitoring be revoked.”

The Chicago Archdiocese has a monitoring program but its effectiveness has been called into question in recent years. The Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey also has one. (Read about it here). Accused priests are under no legal obligation to listen to the bishops’ terms. However, one would think their pensions and pay would provide some leverage.

Father John Paul Laicized After Being Allowed to Stay as Pastor During Secret Investigation

Father John Paul has chosen voluntary laicization. It’s a quiet end to a situation that enraged parents and those who came forward as victims. Due to Pennsylvania’s Statute of Limitations for Child Sex Abuse, he can not be charged with any crimes.

In November of 2013, Father Paul resigned as pastor of Our Lady of Calvary Parish in Philadelphia for “physical and spiritual” health reasons. It was revealed that those “health” issues stemmed from two separate allegations of child sex abuse. At the time, we were outraged that the Archdiocese permitted him to remain as pastor for over a year while he was secretly investigated. When the information became public with his retirement, the Archdiocese suspended him.

The archdiocesan official statement stated, “Father Paul remained in ministry at the parish since that time in a restricted capacity ‘in that he had no unsupervised contact with minors.’ Appropriate notification of his restrictions was made to pertinent parties and a monitoring and support plan was implemented and followed.” He was a pastor running a parish and school. How does one avoid children in that position? Pertinent parties did not include parents. That shows very little respect for families. Maybe our archdiocese leadership will attend some helpful workshops during the World Meeting.

The resulting news coverage in 2013 prompted over a dozen victims to come forward. Many had been students from high schools where he taught. Several were from Bishop McDevitt during the 1980s.

This cover up took place in 2013 – not in the distant past. Parents must continue to be concerned and aware.

Archbishop Resigns in Wake of Tribunal Formation and Criminal Charges

Click here to read: “Catholic Archbishop and Aide Resign in Minnesota Over Sexual Abuse Scandal,” by Mark S. Getzfred and Mitch Smith, The New York Times, June 15, 2015

Excerpt: The resignations come about 10 days after prosecutors in Minnesota filed criminal charges against the archdiocese for its mishandling of repeated complaints of sexual misconduct against a priest and a few days after the Vatican announced the formation of a tribunal to hear cases against bishops accused of neglecting or covering up abuse cases — an unprecedented mechanism but one whose details are yet unknown.

Father Haynes Pleads Guilty to Child Porn and More

Click here to Read: “Suspended Chester County priest pleads guilty to child pornography charges,” by Jeremy Roebuck, The Philadelphia Inquirer, June 8, 2015

Excerpt: Mark Haynes, 56, previously of SS. Simon and Jude Parish in Westtown, admitted to trading hundreds of pornographic images of children over Instagram and enticing teenage girls he met online to send him explicit photos of themselves.

He contacted the teens while posing online as a 16-year-old girl named Katie Caponetti between 2010 and 2014.

PA Supreme Court Reinstates Msgr. Lynn’s Conviction

Click here to read: “Pennsylvania Top Court Reinstates Monsignor’s Conviction,” by MaryClaire Dale, Associated Press, ABCnews.go.com, April 27, 2015

Excerpt: The state’s highest court on Monday reinstated the landmark child-endangerment conviction of a Roman Catholic monsignor who was the first U.S. church official ever prosecuted over his handling of sex abuse complaints.

PA Catholic Conference Lobbies Against Child Sex Abuse Statutes Reform

Catholics who donate directly or indirectly (through their parish giving) to the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference might be surprised by how their money is being invested. The PA Catholic Conference, the public affairs arm of the Catholic Church in our Commonwealth, actively lobbies against reforming the Statute of Limitations (SOL) for child sex abuse. To be more specific, they hire lobbyists to visit our Representatives and Senators in Harrisburg on their behalf. Money talks and politicians only hear one side. Children can’t afford lobbyists.

I wanted to read about the Conference’s stance on this issue, but I couldn’t find it anywhere on their web site. Why wouldn’t they want to inform the faithful about a key point on their agenda? Why are they hiding this? While I certainly support their pro-life lobbying, I also think children deserve to be protected after they are born.

The current Statute of Limitations (SOL) for child sex abuse puts kids at risk. While the SOL was improved 10 years ago, those reforms were not retroactive. They only applied to future crimes. That leaves child predators, who were never prosecuted, free to live in our communities.

For example, think about the priests whose crimes were covered up by the Archdiocese until the SOL ran out. After the scandal was exposed, they were removed from ministry. Where are they living now? They are not registered and predators don’t retire from abusing. But this goes well beyond the clergy. What about the child predators from other walks of life – the family members, the coaches, etc.? These lobbyists are helping to give them a free pass in order to protect their client’s assets.

Several states abolished the SOL for childhood sex abuse and created “window legislation.” This legislation opens a two year window during which past victims (whose abuse previously fell outside the SOL) can come forward to name their abuser and press charges.

The “institutional” Church has many financially-driven reasons to seek to prevent this reform. I specify the “institutional” Church because I think it’s a very different group of people than the Catholic Church that Jesus created.

It’s time Catholic families demand their children’s safety be put first. We are asking for your voice and your prayers. Please spread the word on your social media, in Church, at your children’s schools and let your legislators know where you stand on this issue.

There is no SOL for murder in PA. Why is there one for child sex abuse?

There is No Civil SOL for child sex abuse in:

Alaska – none for felony sex abuse/assault of minor, felony exploitation of minor
Connecticut – none if events forming the civil claim led to conviction of first-degree aggravated sexual or sexual assault
Delaware – none as to perpetrator, or as to gross negligence against employer
Florida – none for sexual batteries committed against victims under 16 years old
Illinois – none
Maine – none
Minnesota – none for victims abused under age of 18
Guam – none for sex crimes against those under age of 18

No Criminal SOL for Certain Child Sex Crimes:

Arkansas
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
Florida
Georgia
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Nebraska
Nevada
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming
Guam

Window Legislation Enacted:

California
Delaware
Hawaii
Guam
Minnesota

The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape does a great job of explaining our confusing current laws with this infographic.

Jim Gardner Questions Archbishop Chaput About Clergy Child Sex Abuse

Click here to see Jim Gardner’s full interview with Archbishop Chaput, which aired on 6ABC in segments. Gardner asks the Archbishop of Philadelphia about the clergy sex abuse coverup at the 22:35 mark.

Editor’s note:

Archbishop Chaput continues to emphasize that clergy sex abuse occurred in the past. He does not acknowledge that the Church covered up these crimes intentionally to wait out the statutes of limitations. Because they can’t be charged now, priest perpetrators are out on the streets TODAY. They were removed from ministry – but not society. Children are still at risk. Abusers don’t retire. It’s a compulsion they take to the grave. Because these crimes fell outside the current statute of limitations, no one can press charges. What does the Church do to make amends and to protect children? The Catholic Conference continues to this day to fight statute of limitations reform in Harrisburg. Why should we believe children are being put first?

Bishop Finn, Convicted of Child Sex Abuse Coverup, Finally Retires

Click here to read: “Vatican accepts resignation of bishop convicted of sex abuse coverup but remained in office,” by Michelle Boorstein, Washington Post, April 21, 2015

Excerpt: The Vatican on Tuesday announced the resignation of a Kansas City, Mo., bishop who was convicted of a sex abuse cover-up but remained in office – a fact that particularly horrified abuse survivors and their advocates. Bishop Robert Finn’s resignation will be seen as a key achievement for Pope Francis, who has said his papacy would show more accountability for abuse within the church.

Editor’s note: However, he will remain a Bishop. That fact particularly horrifies me.

Urgent Request: Please Call By 10 am

URGENT REQUEST: Please call by 10 am.
Statute of limitations reform legislation may be brought before the House Judiciary Committee today. Please contact members of the Committee (you can leave a message on their phone line) to share your support for (HB 661, 951 and 655) to protect PA children.
BECAUSE:
* Child Sexual Abuse is an epidemic: 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 5 boys will experience some form of sexual abuse before they are 18. Only 1 in 10 every tell.
* The long-term healthcare and economic impact of child sex abuse is staggering and society has been picking up the tab for this for decades.
* Current SOL laws favor perpetrators who rely on the fear of children and teens to not report.
* There is a body of scientific, social and legal evidence that indicates it can take more than 20 years for adult victims to come forward thus aging out of the current SOLs.
* Predators do not retire. They cannot stop the compulsion to abuse children and teens.
Judiciary Committee Members and Harrisburg office phone numbers:
Ron Marsico 717-783-2014
Todd Stephens 717-260-6163
Jim Cox 717-772-2435
Sheryl Delozier 717-783-5282
Garth Everett 717-787-5270
Glen Grell 717-783-2063
Joseph Hackett 717-260-6168
Barry Jozwiak 717-772-9940
Mark Keller 717-783-1593
Tim Krieger 717-260-6146
Tedd Nesbit 717-783-6438
Mike Regan 717-783-8783
Rick Saccone 717-260-6122
Marcy Toepel 717-787-9501
Tarah Toohil 717-260-6136
Mike Vereb 717-705-7164

Please Help Us Help Kids

WE NEED YOU! Please come out to support the legislators who are fighting to protect your children. Statute of Limitations Reform for Child Sex Abuse Lobby Day will be held on Wed., April 15 at the state capitol in Harrisburg. There will be a rally in the East Wing Rotunda from 1:30 to 2:30 pm. We need to show our politicians we care.

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