God vs Gavel
The Truth vs. Public Relations
It is certainly heart-warming to know the bishops are leading the way for child protection, especially when its paid pit bull in the media clarifies the bishops' resolve to help children so artfully. The Catholic League purchased a full-page ad in the New York Times this week, which is not worth reprinting, except for one compelling line:
The refrain that child rape is a reality in the Church is twice wrong: let's get it straight—they weren't children and they weren't raped.
Compare this doomed defense with details from the cases filed against the Philadelphia Archdiocese since the 2011 Grand Jury Report was released:
John Doe 10: "While attending St. Aloysius [elementary school], Plaintiff encountered then-Deacon Martin Satchell, when Satchell performed certain functions in the Plaintiff's classroom as part of a program with St. Charles Barromeo Seminary sponsored by the Archdiocese. On one occasion, Plaintiff was lured into a concealed portion of the classroom by Satchell where Plaintiff was sexually abused by Satchell. In addition, Satchell often assumed the responsibility to take boys, including Plaintiff, to the bathroom. While in the bathroom at St. Aloysius on several occasions, Plaintiff was sexually abused by Satchell. . . .
On May 15, 1993, Martin Satchell was ordained as a Roman Catholic Priest within the Archdiocese and was ordained by Cardinal Bevilacqua.. . . In the same year that he was ordained, in September 1993, the Archdiocese received a report that Martin Satchell had sexually abused a child. . . . In 1993, Martin Satchell was sent to sexual offender treatment and evaluation. . . . In 2003, Martin Satchell left the active priesthood and petitioned to be laicized. . . .In 2004, Martin Satchell was laicized.
Daniel Neill: "The first [time] Daniel was molested was when Father Gallagher took the boy to buy supplies for a St. Patrick's Day party at school. After buying a disco ball, green party vests, plates, and cups, the priest stopped at his mother's house. There he took the boy upstairs to a pink, frilly bedroom. The priest unbuckled the boy's belt, pulled down his pants, and fondled his genitals. After less than two minutes, Gallagher pulled up the boy's pants and started to leave the room. But as Daniel was refastening his pants, Gallagher returned, pulled the child's pants down again, bent him over at the waist, and stuck his finger in the boy's anus." Daniel committed suicide after the Philadelphia Archdiocese's Review Board told him his claims were not credible.
Children will be protected when Americans insist on the truth, even when it is difficult to read and heart-breaking to know.
Marci A. Hamilton is the Paul R. Verkuil Chair in Public Law, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University and author of Justice Denied: What America Must Do to Protect Its Children (Cambridge, 2008) and God vs. the Gavel: Religion and the Rule of Law (Cambridge, 2005, 2007).