A reader writes:
I’ve included two articles (here and here) from the Columbus Dispatch concerning the attempted removal of three priests after their cases went before the lay review board. Two of the cases are pretty easy. The priests admit to wrongdoing. The third case is the interesting one.
Father Weithman has been accused by one man of abusing him in the 1980′s. No multiple accussations. Just one man. Weithman denies it and in fact, has threatened to sue the guy. Now, I’m not pretending to know for certain which of the two is telling the truth. But it seems hard for me to say that it is okay to ruin a man’s reputation and strip him of his vocation because of the accusations of one man. I just find it hard to believe that child molesters stick to one person and that if he is a sexual pervert no one else has come forward.
Again, I don’t personally know either party, but the word is that Father Weithman is a sort of egotistical man, some would say a “jerk.” So, its completely possible that Weithman treated this kid poorly and 15 years later, he is getting his payback, I don’t know.
Add this to the fact that the review board didn’t even meet with Father Weithman. How can that possibly be?!! You have a man accussed by one person. He denies the accussation in no uncertain terms. There is no physical evidence produced.
And the had of the lay review board (a non-Catholic, by the way) said that there was no evidence of sexual contact but that Weithman “acted improperly” by having repeated contact. What in the hell does that mean?
Anyway, this may be a story to keep an eye on because Weithman is likely to appeal this thing as far as he can in the Church. And there’s a possibility he might sue his accuser. And either way, he’s not afraid to defend himself loudly in the press. It probably won’t make too much national news because the little ol’ Columbus diocese isn’t that important. But if people want an idea of what might be coming soon to their diocese, it’s something to follow.
As I say, I think it far more likely that priests will be cut adrift under dubious circumstances than that victims will be muscled out of the way. But hey! They’re just priests, right? And they’ve been accused of a particularly heinous crime. So why do they deserve due process? After all, to be accused is just one step away from guilt, so they have it coming. Abusing innocent priests for a few years will level out the Church’s karma in justice for all the years innocent victims did not receive due process.