New Head of Office of Children and Youth Protection – Same Old Problems

“After grand jury report on Philadelphia clergy scandal, more changes, more accusers,” by John P. Martin, The Philadelphia Inquirer, June, 9 2011

Important Excerpts:

“The archdiocese expects to pay more than $1.2 million for abuse victims’ therapy this year, three times the amount it paid five years ago.”


“The changes include ending any interrogation of alleged victims; implementing new training for thousands of priests, teachers, and employees; and crafting plans for an independent agency to counsel and serve victims.

On Thursday, the archdiocese is scheduled to announce its latest move: hiring Leslie Davila, who until now has been a victim advocate at the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, to lead its Office of Children and Youth Protection.

Most of the changes mirror recommendations made by the grand jury, or address flaws highlighted in its report. They do not, however, comply with one of its central suggestions – that the victims-assistance program “be removed from the control of the archdiocese.

“She also said she believed there were lapses after she left. For instance, Achilles said she had persuaded church officials several years ago to stop requiring victims to sign forms stating they didn’t want to report their abuse allegations to authorities.

But the form somehow returned in recent years – a step the grand jury contended was a backdoor way for the archdiocese to avoid reporting abusive priests to police or prosecutors.

Achilles said she had again banned the form. “Never, under any circumstance whatsoever,” she said. “I never want to see that again.”

21 thoughts on “New Head of Office of Children and Youth Protection – Same Old Problems

  1. Plain and simply, until the handling of these issues is delegated to an outside source, NOT controlled by the Archdiocese, nothing will really change.

    1. You are correct. The fact that changes in the Church involving child sexual abuse take place ONLY through the Press and Law enforcement is clearly stated by A.W. Sipe (former priest & monk) on a recent U-Tube video.

      He clearly states that the child sexual problems always come from the top. This is a video well worth viewing.

  2. “The archdiocese expects to pay more than $1.2 million for abuse victims’ therapy this year, three times the amount it paid five years ago.”

    Let’s do a little “compare and contrast” here…………………How much was paid in legal fees representing, defending, etc. the Archdiocese of Philadelphia during this same period in reference to sexual abuse allegations?

    When we have that dollar figure, then all Philadelphia parishioners can have a better idea which purpose and objective the archdiocesan deems more important and valuable………….caring for sexual abuse victims or defending the leadership.

    1. Remember, that’s your money. The Catholic church has never made a penny on its own, anywhere.

      Demand to see the books and have influence on the way they are running their business. Stop thinking about them as your high school teachers, and start thinking about them as pedophile protectors that have overtaken you church.

  3. Mary Achilles “persuaded”the AD to stop using forms for victims to sign stating the victims did not want to report the allegations to legal authorities. But the form “somehow” returned in recent years. Achilles has again banned the form and never under any circumsatnces want to see it again.
    Achilles is a consultant with a one year contratct. In her words “I’m not in charge. I’m a consultant” I wonder if things that Mary has persuaded the AD to change again ,will somehow be reversed again after she leaves. Oh that’s right we are supposed to trust th hierarchy to be doing the right thing.

  4. Abuse should be reported to the District Attorney and/or the Police Department. Victims of sexual abuse should NOT contact the Catholic Church for help. In no other crime would a victim be expected to contact the criminals who committed the offense to begin with.

    D.A. Seth WIlliams
    3 South Penn
    Corner of Juniper & South Penn Square
    Philadelphia, PA 19107

    1. I wonder who the only person to dislike this is???? If you think that child abuse should be reported to anybody but the District Attorney or the police department, or should be reported to the criminal Catholic Church, you’re dead wrong!

      1. Rich, You have to keep in mind that the perverts also have a keen interest in this site. In addition, it’s certainly monitored intensely by the Archdiocese. They don’t want to reveal themselves with a comment, but they would be happy to give you a thumbs down. Take it as a complement!

  5. I would like to meet the moderators of this webiste, both Susan and Kathy. I have a support meeting for victims, family members of victims, and supporters in NE Philly. The next meeting will be held on Wednesday, July 6, 2011 at Faith Lutheran Church, 4150 Woodhaven Road, Phila, PA 19154 from 7pm -9pm. Why not join us and share some of your input?

    Or, we could meet for a cup of coffee at some point before that date. So how ’bout it?

  6. Rich,
    We will absolutely meet with you.Unfortunately the July 6th date doesn’t work for either of us. Right now both Susan and I are dealing with all of the end of the school year activites with our kids – exams.,graduations,dance recitals-you name it and it is all hapening in the next two weeks.I will email you at the end of next week once all the kid’s stuff has settled down and we will work out a date that is good for the three of us to get together.Sound good?

  7. I screwed up in my last post. The next meeting is Wednesday, July 13, 2011.
    So here goes again:

    Faith Lutheran Church
    4150 Woodhaven Road
    Philadelphia, PA 19154
    7pm – 9pm

    Meetings are held on every 2nd Wednesday of the month. Victims, families of victims, and supporters are welcome to attend. We even let Catholics come!!! LOL ahahaha

    No but seriously, everyone and anyone who would like to see an end to sexual abuse of children inside and outside of the Catholic Church is welcome to participate. Even though I personal despise the Catholic point of view, I believe it’s necessary to allow for all sides to discuss this problem. If Catholics plan to continue supporting the Church, I want the chance to tell you my story and what happened to others. Even if I don’t get you to denounce the Catholic Church as your place of worship, maybe I can get some of you to shelter and protect your kids from experiencing what I have. At the end of the day, all I care about is getting justice for those of us who have already been abused and protecting present and future children from abuse.

    Going away on the 13th too?

  8. Rather than fight the Archdiocese on the issue of control of the victim’s assisstance program, we must all become aware that any allegation of abuse should be reported to the police.

    Perhaps there is a good example cited in The Brooklyn Tablet, in an editorial comment by Ed Wilkinson. He reports on a diocesan radio show, Currents. On the show, Ronnie Jaus, the head of the Kings County sex crimes unit explained how DA Joe Hynes office has been working with the diocese since 2002. Reports come in on a special hotline and are reported directly to the district attorney’s office. Additionally, complaints of sexual abuse are investigated–whether or not the charges fall with the statute of limitations–by a diocesan review panel.

    This system may not be perfect, but civil involvement seems to be welcome.

    1. The problem is this program administers the free therapy that victims are entitled to receive. Regardless of initial reporting, they have deal with the archdiocese if they want the care and I don’t think that’s right.

  9. I would advise any victim coming forward, DO NOT CONTACT the Church or the Victim’s Assistant. These people do not care about your mental health or well-being. They care about one thing, and that is getting the information from you and using it against you. Contact civil authorities – District Attorney, and/or police department.

    Take it from me, a victim of clergy sexual abuse, I have known too many people who were screwed over by the Church and the Victim’s Assistant. They get all the information they can from you, record it, and then at a much later date, tell you “there’s nothing they can do for you.” This isn’t BS. I know SEVERAL victims this has happened to. I don’t know one victim who recieved fairness or any type of help from the Church. NONE!

  10. I too am a survivor of priest and nun sexual abuse. What I see and read in so many of the posts is the pain. All this because a catholic church that proclaimed to be followers of Christ, have betrayed us all, some more than others yet we are united in our hurt and woundedness. How sad. All it would have taken is compassion empathy and simply doing the right thing by the victims and honoring the law. Instead, they choose to use lawyers, spin, money and power in the name of God, which to me the defination of evil. To have represented and used the name of God to justify such horrific acts demontrasted on the most vulnerable is the worst kind of suffering. This is why so many of us hurt so much! We once loved our church and trusted those in charge. please see the helpless child inside of us the one harmed rather than seeing just the hurt adult!

  11. Vicki when you wrote “All this because a Catholic church that proclaimed to be followers of Christ, have betrayed us all, some more than others yet we are united in our hurt and woundedness. ”
    Not only is a profund example of your own thoughts but is refective of how many feel.I met you at the rally in April and my friend and I have spoken about you on many occassions.You have such strength in the midst of what you have encountered. This is why the site exists.For everyone to come together,learn from each other and try to help a situation that has hurt so many. Thank you for always pointing out what is most important.

    1. Kathy, I am sorry that I don’t remember you, I met so many people that day. I do however, want to thank you for your response to my blog. I try very hard to have as much perspective as possible, often times I do find myself so angry, yet realize it is the deep hurt under all the anger. Yours and Susan’s website has been so healing for me. I would often cry out where are all the good catholics, where is their support, where is their rage, we were only children, how can so many be so silent? I felt I only had my therapist who understood, in my drkest moments, she would hold me as I cried, the lonliness was so painful because it wasn’t just 40 years ago, it was happening now as well. So you see how much this blog means to me. Your voices, lift me and I thank everyone from my heart. On some level, everyone is afftected by all this. It is difficult to imagine that this level os sin and crime for so long and ignored could exist. I believe that through the goodness of the Divine, change will happen, only God fully knows the extent of the change and who it will effect, nothing, is ever in vain! I trust in God and His plan. Please pray that the 2 laws in Harrisburg will wpass so we as survivors can have justice, this is all we want.

    2. Vicki, I do see the helpless child inside of you. Words cannot even express my sorrow over your pain and all the pain suffered by victims. Jesus feels your pain, I believe He has shed many tears over these horrific crimes and even more so over the fact so many victims would not be victims if our church leaders had not been so weak, cowardly and so wrapped up in protecting the image of thhe church. How can we even begin to understand why they were so uncompassionate. I cannot even imagine how you and other victims felt at not being embraced with sorrow and remorse over the evil done to you. I hope you can find some small amount of solice that this is coming into the light, and people do care. Many people in my parish feel for your pain. May truth and justice prevail. The childlike faith in me has a difficult time understanding how this coukd happen, but I do believe that Jesus will bring you peace and healing

  12. From the Inquirer article:

    “The archdiocese expects to pay more than $1.2 million for abuse victims’ therapy this year, three times the amount it paid five years ago.

    One alleged victim sat in the lobby of the archdiocese’s Center City headquarters, threatening suicide. Church officials helped admit at least three others for psychiatric treatment.

    The grand jury report “has reawakened everybody,” Achilles said.”

    1) Let’s do the math here….that’s a little more than $23,000 per week spent on therapy for victims of abuse. Such generosity from our church leaders with our money.

    2) Church officials “helped admit” at least three others for psychiatric treatment. Did the archdiocese pay for their apparent inpatient treatment? One inpatient stay would easily use up the $23,000 budgeted per week. “Helped admit”………..another euphemism from our leaders, we all remember “boundary issues”

    3) Mary Achilles….the grand jury report has “reawakened everybody”. Great line for a victims’ advocate. If her first stint down at 222 N. 17th St. taught her anything, it is that our leadership has been “asleep” prior to the first grand jury report, during the five years leading up to the second grand jury report and now has gone back to sleep until some other crisis causes them down there at HQ to be “reawakened” again.

    Does anyone at all think that it just might be time for a change in legal strategy and counsel down there at the Archdiocese of Philadelphia? Has the legal strategy since the release of the first grand jury report in Sept. 2005 been productive, successful and beneficial to the leadership, faithful and most importantly, the victims of clergy sexual abuse?

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