Un-freakin’-believable

No comment necessary:

From Cardinal Law’s deposition of August 13, 2002

MACLEISH: This is a letter from a gentleman by the name of Mr. Nash, Gregory Nash, to you shortly after you were installed as Archbishop. The letter is dated March 25, 1984. Do you see that?

LAW: I do.

MACLEISH: And the letter reports two actions of Father Rebeiro. In the first allegation Father Rebeiro is alleged to have had Mr. Nash’s wife in the rectory office. He blocked, according to Mr. Nash, the only exit door, exposed himself and masturbated in front of her. Do you see that?

LAW: Yes.

MACLEISH: Is that a serious allegation?

LAW: Terribly serious allegation.

MACLEISH: One that would have been implemented in accordance with the policy that is described in — that you described earlier today? It would have been investigated and looked at; is that correct?

LAW: It certainly would have been my intent that that be done, yes.

MACLEISH: Can you think of any reason why, in light of this allegation as you sit here today, that would not have been done?

LAW: No, I cannot. First of all, the act itself, as you know, is alleged to have occurred in a time frame before I arrived. The letter is written March 25.

MACLEISH: That’s correct.

LAW: And —

MACLEISH: The letter is addressed to you.

LAW: The letter was addressed to me. I do not recall ever having seen this letter prior to this moment.

MACLEISH: Okay.

LAW: But the — and that’s not unlikely, because it’s addressed to the Chancery, which is a different building than my office, the day after I was installed. However, the content of this is a terribly serious charge that would have to be looked at very, very carefully.

MACLEISH: Right. In the same way that the 1966 charge against Father Paul Shanley is a terribly serious charge that you said you would have acted upon if you had been made aware of it, correct?

LAW: That’s correct.

MACLEISH: In this letter, the first allegation, just so we’re clear, is of this priest, Father Rebeiro, who was suspended last weekend by the Archdiocese, Father Rebeiro masturbating in front of a woman and exposing himself, and then another instance where Mr. Nash’s — one of his parents had died, and Father Rebeiro comes over to the house, and Mr. Nash reports that he was pawing at his wife while in the family home while Mr. Nash was away. Do you see that?

LAW: Yes.

MACLEISH: And again, you were Archbishop on the date that this letter was sent, is that not correct?

LAW: I was. I think two days I was Archbishop.

MACLEISH: You’d been Archbishop for two days. So you never recall seeing this letter, but if you had seen this letter, you would have taken some immediate action to have the matter investigated; is that correct?

LAW: I would have had those assisting me look into this, yes, and follow up on this letter.

MACLEISH: Have you read Exhibit No. 44, Cardinal Law?

LAW: I have.

MACLEISH: This is your letter to Mr. Nash, correct?

LAW: It is a letter that apparently has my signature attached to it, and it’s addressed to Mr. Nash.

MACLEISH: And it acknowledges his letter of March 25, 1984. Do you see that?

LAW: It does.

MACLEISH: And your letter is dated April 3, 1984; is that correct?

LAW: It is.

MACLEISH: So it’s fair to state that this would have been — Mr. Nash’s letter would have been received within several days after March 25, and then you responded in a timely fashion on April 3, 1984; is that correct?

LAW: That’s correct.

MACLEISH: And you stated, did you not, “As you must know, my knowledge of the case is not complete. After some consultation, I find that this matter is something that is personal to Father Rebeiro and must be considered such.” Did you use those words?

LAW: Well, this is a letter that I have signed.

MACLEISH: Did you use — go ahead.

LAW: I would — my presumption is this letter was prepared for my signature, and I would need to — in order to pursue what is meant here, I would need to deal — speak with those who were — who would have handled this matter and brought it before me. I can’t tell you what — I have no — as I sit here, I don’t know what that would mean.

MACLEISH: Cardinal Law, we know now that Father Rebeiro has been suspended from his job because of allegations of sexual misconduct occurring 30 years ago —

LAW: Yes.

MACLEISH: — correct?

LAW: That’s correct.

MACLEISH: We put in front of you Exhibit 43, a letter from Mr. Nash to you, that in detail set out allegations that you, yourself, acknowledged were serious allegations —

LAW: That’s correct.

MACLEISH: — of gross misconduct by Father Rebeiro; is that correct?

LAW: That’s correct.

MACLEISH: And he wrote this letter to you and he gave you details about other parishes where Father Rebeiro had served, with other allegations of sexual misconduct, and you wrote back to Mr. Nash, and you said to him, “After some consultation, I find that this matter is something that is personal to Father Rebeiro and must be considered such.” Is that correct?

LAW: That’s correct.

MACLEISH: So there was no investigation of these serious allegations. There was simply a letter from you indicating that this was a matter that was personal to Father Rebeiro, correct?

LAW: My response in seeing Mr. Nash’s letter, which remains my response, is that I have no recollection of seeing that letter. My presumption is that this matter was handled for me by someone assisting me, and that this letter was prepared for my signature.

MACLEISH: Cardinal Law, do you read your letters before you sign them as a general practice? Did you in 1984?

LAW: You know, did I on April the 3rd, 1984, three days into the job, read every letter that was put before me? Probably not. Is it my — is it my custom now to read every letter carefully? It depends. Some are matters of routine, and I would not. But I cannot recall this letter. I cannot recall Mr. Nash’s letter, and so it’s really not possible for me to go into that matter further. I think you need to ask those who were handling this case for me. In this instance, I would imagine it would have been Bishop Daily.

MACLEISH: Well, we don’t — should Bishop Daily have brought Mr. Nash’s letter to your attention prior — we’re conjecturing here, because we really don’t know who sent out your letter —

LAW: We are conjecturing.

MACLEISH: We don’t know — we really don’t know whether you saw Mr. Nash’s letter, and we really don’t know whether you read the letter of April 3, 1984 before you put your signature on it, correct?

LAW: That’s correct.

MACLEISH: So if, in fact, as you conjecture it was Bishop Daily that got this complaint about a priest exposing himself, masturbating in front of a woman and then taking advantage of her when her husband is dealing with one of his parents’ funeral arrangements, if, in fact, Bishop Daily had received a letter such as that and drafted a response such as Exhibit 44, would he have been acting in accordance with the policy that you describe in Exhibit No. 12 and what you would have done had you been aware of the Shanley allegations?

LAW: What would have to be done, Mr. MacLeish, is to ask Bishop Daily what, in fact, he did, and I’m not going to conjecture at this point what he did or didn’t do. I can simply answer that I do not recall seeing this letter, I do not recall seeing this letter, that I consider these to be very serious allegations, and that I would have wanted them investigated, and acted upon if they — if that was warranted. What happened, I cannot conjecture. I cannot conjecture at this point. I would need to — one would need to talk to Bishop Daily about that.

MACLEISH: Well, we don’t know whether we’d need to talk to Bishop Daily because we don’t even know if it was Bishop Daily that drafted this letter of April 3, 1984, correct?

LAW: That’s correct.

MACLEISH: All we know is that it’s your signature on the letter.

LAW: That’s correct.

MACLEISH: That there were no time constraints imposed by Mr. Nash to correspond — for you to get an answer back to him. He didn’t say, “I wish to hear from you by April 3, 1984.” He didn’t say that in his letter, did he, Cardinal Law?

LAW: No.

MACLEISH: So this was not a routine matter where there would be a routine letter prepared for you and a routine signature, correct?

LAW: I’m not sure I’m able to answer your question. No, it’s not a routine matter.

MACLEISH: Well, you said that when they’re routine matters that —

LAW: This was not a routine matter.

MACLEISH: So my question is if, in fact, Bishop Daily had received Exhibit 43, Mr. Nash’s letter, and prepared a response such as is set forth in Exhibit No. 44, stating that the matter is personal to Father Rebeiro and must be considered such, he would not have been acting consistent with the unwritten policy as you understood it; is that correct?

LAW: I would need to discuss the matter with Bishop Daily, or whoever prepared that letter for me, to understand what is underlying that statement. It is a puzzling statement to me, but I don’t know what investigation took place. I don’t know what information was present.

MACLEISH: Cardinal Law, it says also in Exhibit 44, second paragraph, second sentence, “After some consultation.” Does that not suggest, Cardinal Law, that that was consultation involving you? It says, “After some consultation, I find that this matter is something that is personal to Father Rebeiro.” Does that not suggest that you had some consultations and discussions with others yourself concerning Mr. Nash’s letter to you about this priest masturbating and exposing himself in front of a woman?

LAW: Certainly it implies that there was consultation.

MACLEISH: Okay.

LAW: And it’s my letter, but obviously — it’s consultation about a fact that it occurred in an earlier time frame, and that consultation could be a matter of someone presenting a summary of the situation. I don’t recall this. So, you know, I can sit here and conjecture, but it becomes foolish. I simply do not recall this letter, and I can’t respond to what underlies this letter.

MACLEISH: It doesn’t imply consultation, Cardinal Law, just to clarify. It states consultation.

LAW: Not only — that’s correct.

MACLEISH: It states consultation.

LAW: It states consultation.

MACLEISH: It well could have been the case that you were actually consulted about Mr. Nash’s allegations that Father Rebeiro had masturbated in front of his wife?

LAW: Well, I wouldn’t be consulted on that, you know.

MACLEISH: I’m sorry.

LAW: Others would, you know. I wouldn’t be consulted with, because I wouldn’t have any knowledge of this thing. The consultation would have to be with others who were knowledgeable and had somehow dealt with this case, and I would presume that that was done. I have no idea of what that consultation means. I have no recollection of either letter, and so I can’t speak to what it is that the letter is referring to.

MACLEISH: Just to be clear, it says, a letter from you, “After some consultation, I find that this matter is something that is personal to Father Rebeiro and must be considered as such.”

LAW: That’s right. Yes.

MACLEISH: Correct? So you don’t know — your letter states that there was consultation with you, does it not?

MACLEISH: You make a finding. “I find.” Do you see that in Exhibit 44?

LAW: Yes, it implies that — it states that there was consultation, that this was looked into, and that it was determined that this matter is something that is personal to Father Rebeiro. But as I indicated to you, I don’t recall this letter, and I have — I cannot tell you what it is that that references.



MACLEISH: But I’m not attempting to point my finger at you. If I did, I apologize. I will ask you, Cardinal Law, were there any other instances where you can recall, between 1984 and 1990, which is the time period that we’re focusing on in the Ford, Busa and Driscoll cases, that you can recall, where there was an allegation of sexual misconduct, and the matter was not dealt with in accordance with the policy that you described earlier in the day?



LAW: The way in which these matters were handled was through delegation. My expectation was and is that allegations would be looked at, would be examined, and that credible allegations would be acted upon, and that would include getting some kind of a medical assessment, if it seemed that there was substance to the allegation.

Now, were there cases that came that were not looked at? I rely on those working with me, and if I had in my head a case that hadn’t been adequately looked at, I would ask that it be looked at. As you know, and I realize it’s — well, it’s not totally out of the time frame, but one of the things that we did after we committed our policy — developed it and committed it to writing in 1993, sometime after that, I asked that all previous cases be reviewed in the light of that policy, and if it was felt that they were not adequately dealt with in accord with that policy, that those cases be opened again.

Do I know of — as I sit here, do I know of cases that were not dealt with adequately? No, I don’t. And if there are any, I would hope that they would now be dealt with adequately.

There are no excuses left. Excusing is for people who have excuses. Forgiveness is for people who have sinned. It remains for us only to forgive. And for Caesar to prosecute, if he finds grounds to do so.


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