Thursday, May 10, 2012

Nun Calls Out Monsignor Lynn

A nun who was sexually abused as a minor by a predator priest called out Monsignor William J. Lynn Thursday from her perch on the witness stand.

It was a dramatic confrontation as the Archdiocese of Philadelphia sex abuse trial wrapped up its seventh week of testimony. Lynn is on trial for allegedly conspiring to endanger the welfare of children by allowing abusive priests to continue in ministry

All along, the defense mantra has been that the monsignor was just a cog in the wheel down at archdiocese headquarters on 222 N. 17th St., and that the ultimate villain in the case was the guy who wielded the ultimate power in the archdiocese, the conveniently dead Cardinal Anthony J. Bevilacqua.

But the nun on the witness stand refused to play along.

It started when Thomas Bergstrom, a defense lawyer for Msgr. Lynn, tried to get the nun on cross-examination to agree that Msgr. Lynn did not have the power to remove a pastor who had sexually abused her and at least 10 other young women.

"He [Lynn] had the power to suggest it," she said, referring to the removal of the pastor. And then on redirect, when the prosecutor asked her about the power Lynn had as the archdiocese's secretary for clergy, the nun said that Lynn had the simple power of just saying no.

Instead of going along with the power structure, the nun said, "You can also say, I cannot do this."

It was a simple, but powerful declaration coming from a nun who herself was an administrator down at archdiocese HQ, and also as a young woman, a victim of sex abuse from a pervert priest.

The nun, who did not want to be identified, wasn't finished.

"I would think that his [Lynn's] recommendation would be heard,"she told Assistant District Attorney Patrick Blessington. And if it wasn't, Lynn could have told the cardinal, "I cannot go on; if it isn't done that way, I can quit."

The nun's firm but understated conviction about the need to simply do the right thing sent a ripple of excitement through courtroom spectators, which included victims of sex abuse, and activists hoping for the impossible, reform in the Roman Catholic Church. It also raised an age-old question, namely why do the women in the Catholic church usually have more balls than the men?

Before she called out the monsignor, the nun told her story about how she had been abused by the notorious Father Nicholas V. Cudemo, a serial rapist who used mind control and guilt to dominate his victims.

The nun, dubbed "Sister Irene" in the 2005 grand jury report, was Father Cudemo's second cousin. The priest also abused the nun's sister, and a younger cousin, in addition to at least eight other young women.

The witness was 15 years old when Father Cudemo took her to baseball and basketball games at Archbishop Kennedy High School, where the priest was a teacher. While driving her home one night,  Cudemo pulled over, and started kissing her passionately. "He got on top of me," the nun testified. "His hands were literally all over me."

The witness told the jury that she had dated boys before, but had never experienced such "intense passion or strength."

Then, when she was 16, it happened again. Father Cudemo drove her home, this time with a carload of other kids. While driving, he took her hand and "placed it on his penis strongly," she said, and then he just held her hand there.

"I just went numb," she said. Father Cudemo would call up the victim and tell her she was "his favorite cousin," and he would explain his behavior by saying, "cousins have these kinds of relationships."

In 1991, Sister Irene found out that Father Cudemo had sexually abused her younger cousin, identified in the grand jury report as Ruth. The abuse of Ruth began at 10, and included an abortion at 11. Sister Irene was shattered by the news.

"I really felt for the first time in my life I was confronting evil," she told the jury. So the nun, her sister, and her cousin Ruth went to the archdiocese on Sept. 25, 1991, to report the abuse. They told Msgr. James E. Molloy, vicar for administration, and his assistant, Msgr. Lynn, that they wanted Father Cudemo removed from his post as pastor of St. Callistus Church.

Molloy told the victims, "It's not that easy to remove a pastor at this time," the nun told the jury. When the victims suggested the archdiocese notify parishioners at St. Callistus about what the priest had done to his victims, they were told it would be "defamation of character" and "calumny."

37 comments:

  1. Let's look at the timing of this, too. Cudemo was first accused of child sex abuse in 1966, and there were multiple victims from 1969 and 1977. He was moved to many parishes, raping children along the way, with the help and support of the Catholic church for 25 years before this nun went to Molloy in 1991.

    Cudemo was a pedophile predator for 25 years, and the Catholic church knew about it, and kept moving him around, doing a "lab experiment with live children" without telling the parents. Cudemo is still free today, courtesy of the Catholic pedophile protection program.

    Let’s hope Lynn’s new prison mates all have internet access (like pedophile priest Fr Gordon Macrae does) and they are reading about their new neighbor. Unlike the Catholic church, prisoners hate pedophiles.

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    1. I wonder if prisoners hate men, who protect pedophiles, as much as the rest of society? This next comment is just an aside, but I would really like to see Bishop Molloy called into court as a result of this nun's testimony!

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    2. Jim Malloy passed away 6 years ago. But this is one of many articles worth reading.
      http://natcath.org/NCR_Online/archives2/2006b/042806/042806a.php

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    3. Molloy is dead, returning to satan with Bevilacqua, but Bishosp Cistone & Cullen are still peeing their papnts in their parishes, waiting for the law to come for them.

      Cistone & Cullen, prisoners are going to love you guys.

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    4. "Jim Malloy passed away 6 years ago. But this is one of many articles worth reading."

      Well, there *is* precedent in the church for the prosecution of a dead person. Propped up in a chair, even.

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  2. Powerful post. The Nuremberg defendants faced death if they disobeyed an order. Lynn faced his career stalling. Of course he could have said, "no." and if the cardinal refused, simply gone to the cops. Sometime doing the right thing has consequences.

    The nuns are the church's only hope. They are the only ones with any credibility.

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    1. You are perhaps too easy on the Nuremberg defendants. In many cases, they were giving the orders. For many Nazi collaborators, Raul Hilberg suggests that a damaged career rather than death might have been the penalty if they had balked at abominations. He gives the example of an SS doctor assigned to an Einsatzgruppe who refused to participate in war crimes; the man lived. Consider the more recent (and lesser) human rights abuses at Guantanamo; no one who refused to participate has been executed.

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    2. Temoin, you missed the point, by a lot.

      The point, stated much, much more simply, is that Lynn would not have died if he had done the right, Christian thing. Lynn was also effectively giving orders, as he sent known child rapists out to places where they raped more children. In a reasonable society, Lynn would be put to death now, along with all of the other pedophiles and pedophile protectors.

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    3. @temion: I did not mean to minimize the culpability of the Nuremberg defendants; or equate the magnitude of the crimes. But I am suggesting that Lynn's use of the same defense has even less credibility than a soldier ordered to carry out an unlawful or immoral order under penalty of death for insubordination. Losing the red buttons on your cassock is clearly a sanction of some lesser order than being shot or court martialed.

      And yes, had a few more good Germans balked, an argument can be made that the momentum could have shifted towards more disobedience to the unlawful orders. History demonstrates that in most cases, the Germans closely aligned with the death camps were pretty enthusiastic about their assignments.

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  3. Oh the times, the customs of our church. Bishop Finn of KC says he is not guilty because his vicar general is the real culprit. Msgr Lynn says he is not guilty because he was only following the orders of the Cardinal.

    Where is B16? Finishing the third volume on his trilogy of Jesus of Nazareth.

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    1. He's also being fitted for a pretty new $50,000 hat and a new $2 million chair, just Like Jesus Wore.

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    2. In his lame attempt to remain in power in Ireland, the much beleaguered, Cardinal Brady, is now using Monsignor Lynn's defense that he was "Only a Note-taker!"

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    3. If only this group of gutless gangsters had the honor of the mafia or a common street gang. As we could learn from prisoners, pedophiles and those who protect them are the lowest form of life. And they are Catholic priests.

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  4. Thanks again for this work, Ralph

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  5. The nun on the witness stand refused to play along . . .(with the) . . . . defense lawyer for Msgr. Lynn
    I’ll bet this lawyer never went to Catholic School.
    Trying to coerce a nun ?
    Trying to intimidate a nun ?
    The defense lawyer can use the insanity defense for himself !

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    1. I agree with you, in part. Nuns are hard to intimidate. In my Catholic grade school, our nuns were a big part of the coverups for our Pedophile Priests. In Religion class, we were told that some of the students were circulating stories that "one of our priests was doing BAD THINGS!" If we heard or were told of any of these stories we were to report them immediately, because they would "Bring SCANDAL against the Holy Roman Catholic Church!" Of course, we weren't told what "the bad things" were, but we later found out as adults, when it was discovered there were 3 waves of priest pedophilia in our parish!

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    2. The nuns were trained to obey priests, just like the children were. There were not a lot of nuns in the past who would stand up to a priest, or especially a bishop. A culture of blind obedience and reverence for authority allowed them to get away with these crimes for so long.

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  6. Cudemo MO sounds very similar to the late Msgr. Vincent I Breen of the Diocese of Oakland, California. And do you know who Breen counted among his friends and mentors? Cardinal Krol!

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  7. That nun was the best. She was so right. All you have to do is the right thing.

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    1. Yes, I agree, she did the right thing, and it must have taken a lot of courage. No doubt, she was empowered by God's Grace to do so! Now the next question is this: "How long will it be before Archbishop Chaput finds some reason to have her removed from "his" Archdiocese?

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    2. Chaput will be a gutless punk.

      He knows that if he kicks her out, the Catholic church can't squash the news like they did in the old days. People would start up a social media storm, and it would (and should) become a national news story that "The Catholic church of rampant child rape now fires nun who was both child rape victim of known, hidden pedophile priest and whistle blower".

      INstead, they will do the Catholic punk treatment. He wil get away with whatever he can get away with that wouldn't become front page news - giving her bad, boring assignments, turning the other nuns and priests against her, etc.

      I hope she knows that she could & should write a book and tell the world the story, and help expose the Cahtolic church for what it is - a power hungry, money hungry, sexually bizarre institution run by men who are the social and sexual misfits of society.

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  8. Hate to be redundant, but I can't wait to see the scene in the movie with this nun... Quiet integrity in front of them...

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  9. "Defamation of character","Calumny" = a man's reputation is worth more than everybody else's life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.
    It would appear that a priest or heaven forbid a bishop is worth more than many sparrows. Everyone else must be but a sparrow. Is this the makings of a godly kingdom?

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  10. (Part 2 of 2)

    In that regard, and in light of the Nuremberg references that have surfaced in some commentary, I would submit that the most relevant lesson to be drawn from those trials is that the entire Nazi regime established itself precisely by undermining the vital foundational concepts and first principles of Western law that had been in place in both the Wilhelmine and Weimar governments’ legal systems. It was precisely by making the anti-legal legal that the Nazi regime smoothed its path toward the monstrous history that it then ‘legally’ created.

    I would also point out that from the point of view of legal positivism – very much in vogue now in this country – there would be no substantive way of objecting to that development: the regime was properly brought into power (Hitler was formally invited to be Chancellor and duly appointed by the elected President, Hindenburg) and hence – from the positivist perspective – its legislation was inarguably the law of the land. From the positivist perspective there is no Higher Law to judge what that government enacted.

    I also note that in the Nuremberg trials the monstrous doings of various honchos of the Third Reich were inarguably demonstrated simply from the history of the prior decade or more, including what was discovered upon the liberation of the camps in 1945.

    But as even this trial in Philadelphia indicates, such easily-established inarguable demonstration of sustained and premeditated monstrousness rising to a justification of the Charges brought by the prosecution is not so easily available; hence the need for careful and full examination of all evidence relevant to the Charges brought.

    Such complications may seem merely obstructionist outside the legal and jurisprudential forum, but I would remind one and all that these ‘complications’ are vital and very real.

    For those same reasons, both Nuremberg and Stalin’s trials of the mid-late 1930s were ‘show trials’, although in the former there was more than a sufficiency of relevant and credible evidence, whereas in the latter ‘evidence’ was not even considered a necessary formality.

    To the extent that the case at bar is a ‘show trial’ – meaning that it is intended to ‘send a message’ to those who see it or hear about it, it remains to be seen whether the case at bar resembles more the former or the latter type of show-trial.

    The criminal justice system or even the civil legal system is not easily or harmlessly envisioned as merely the administrative agent for ‘striking’ (to use Dzherzinsky’s brutally vivid image) those persons who are accused and charged by the Sovereign authority. That is the difference between ‘revolutionary’ law and Western, constitutional law – nor are these two legal universes and systems easily blended.

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  11. Somehow Part 2 got up, but Part 1 did not. So here - I hope - is Part 1.

    (Part 1 of 2)

    I have been reading along for the past week as the live testimony proceeds.

    First, I want to congratulate Mr. Cipriano for his reporting and I like his vivid imagery, which yet doesn’t become disconnected from the flow of actual events unfolding in the courtroom.

    Several points strike me.

    From the technical point of view, it is not clear from the report of the trial session (and this perhaps reflects accurately the situation as it unfolded under the aegis of the prosecutors and defense counsel) how the evidentiary-grade factuality of the nun-witness’s rape was established.

    This point may seem irrelevant or worse to those used to dealing with the therapeutic forum, but it remains a vitally necessary point that has to be covered, a ‘base’ that has to be covered – if you wish, in the juridical or jurisprudential forum.

    That being said, it certainly seems that this Cudemo was grossly unsuited for priesthood and if even one of the allegations against him is factual then he committed criminal acts and his conduct was reprehensible from any point of view.

    I would add also however, that in light of some of the commentary some incarcerated prisoners – through the curious but very lethally real workings of ‘prison psychology’ – certainly do consider themselves ‘justified’ in taking lethal – and in at least one case that is publicly known – fatally direct action against inmates bearing a child-sex-offense conviction. Which is precisely one of the reasons why I am very very concerned that convictions in cases such as these be sound: a death sentence, however informally it may be carried out, is indeed hovering over all such cases.

    And while I am becoming increasingly accustomed to the reality that some folks comment out of their heart, rather than their head (if I may put it that way and respectfully so), yet the literally death-dealing possibilities that can be set in train by the outcome of this type of trial must never be lost sight of, especially from a professional legal point of view. But also from the point of view of any Citizen concerned for the integrity of the justicial process.

    It is rather easy to slide into the more limbic processing of support-group or advocacy-group discussion, but neither attorneys (defense and prosecution) nor Citizens can lose sight of the fact that in every trial – and especially criminal trials – we approach the cage of Leviathan (as indeed, given the crooked timber of humanity, we sometimes must).

    This is first semester of Law 101 stuff, but it remains a vital reality. As I have mentioned in prior comments on this site, the tendency in American jurisprudence (and its shaping legislation) in the past few decades has been to envision the Sovereign authority (and its potential toward behaving as Leviathan) as a more ‘friendly’ and ‘efficient’ bringer of closure and satisfaction, dispensing along the way with the vital protections the Framers very wisely put into the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. But the tiger, once loosed from its cage, will be no respecter of persons or facts, and it can turn on anybody once it has been released to run (and hunt) freely.

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    1. Pertinax I know that you are trying to confuse the issue with all your ten dollar phrases and legalese and obfuscations, but thank God for Ralph's solid, plainspoken reporting. The facts of this case, as anyone with a fifth grade education can see, are that an institution that set itself up as a moral beacon over centuries, had members who failed miserably when it came not only to the matter of sexual abuse, but also to covering up that abuse. The goal was not justice or love, but protecting the good name of the institution. Avoid scandal at all costs, and the children be damned, seems to have been the overarching philosophy. Also, could you please stop talking about "the reforms" and why the prosecutor couldn't bring up cases of a "more recent nature". I frankly don't care if these cases happened last week or fifty years ago -- don't you understand the unique nature of these crimes? These were people who were supposed to be the moral authority, God's ministers on Earth. They occupied a unique position in the world of the Catholic faithful, and it's what makes their crimes more hideous. They're not comparable to public school teachers, Little League coaches, or anyone else. Most of us who went to Catholic school viewed them as almost godly beings. They were the moral arbiters in a way that no one else was. When they pervert that moral authority it is an unspeakably tragic and damning act. They held themselves to a different standard than secular people, and when they fall it is especially horrific. Your obvious efforts to muddy the waters will not change that one iota

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    2. Great post, John. The sex offender creature known as Pertinax also demonstrates the point I have been making about group dynamics, focus groups, and juries. People look at high profile cases like OJ or Casey Anthony and wonder how juries can reach certain results. It all seems irrational. But it is not, Pertinax has created an internal narrative where the issue of "sex abuse" is really part of a society driven mania that has perverted the legal system; and created an environment where sex offenders are treated unjustly and victims are simply liars. Based upon his blog, it appears that Pertinax is a registered sex offender. Part of the psychology of sex offenders is that the abuser is not harming the child and that the child actually entices the adult and invite the conduct. Because most sex offenders do not see their victims as anything other than a tool for their own self-gratification, they actually invert reality and create an internal grandiose narrative where they are helping the child and that their conduct is simply misunderstood by society; and indeed is part of a vast conspiracy by people seeking to persecute smarter, more enlightened and benevolent members of society. See the sad part of sex offenders is that they really want to believe that their victims enjoyed the conduct as much as they did. So when the victim comes out and complains about the abuse, they see it as a deep personal betrayal.

      Like the OJ juror narrative, where the trial demonstrated a widespread conspiracy by racist cops to frame African Americans with mountains of planted evidence, Pertinax sees the trial as part of his personal narrative. He believes that he is a victim of vast historical conspiracies; and that the refusal to address these conspiracies is akin to Nazi appeasment; or crimes far outweighing his own little sordid deeds.

      For Pertinax, this case is not about priests abusing children and the institution that covered it up. And his own personal situation is not simply one of a sad pathetic individual who cannot control his own perverted impulses. Instead, it has to be recast as an example of sinister forces working to cover up their own larger and more meaningful crimes by prosecuting conduct which really shouldn't even be criminal because the children really initiated it anyway. This is also why sex offenders re-offend and have such a high rate of recidivism. The denial and narcissism is so strong. In therapy sessions, they will talk about everything but the actual crime--the problems of the victims, the injustice of their legal proceedings, the other people who committed more serious crimes, the politics surrounding their prosecution, their own persecution.

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    3. Thanks, kopride, for your insightful comments. I hesitate to give this man the attention he so obviously craves, but it bothers me that his blog and his comments seem to be focused on creating a narrative that blames the whole sex abuse scandal in the Church on a witch hunt or anti-Catholic bias. A visit to BishopAccountability.org http://www.bishop-accountability.org/AtAGlance/USCCB_Yearly_Data_on_Accused_Priests.htm shows that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops themselves admit to 6,115 clergy who were "credibly" accused of sexually abusing minors since 1950, and that omits any data from 2003 on. Are we going to accuse the USCCB of "anti-Catholic" bias too? And besides those 6,115 individuals, how many thousands of others helped to enable them by keeping their mouths shut when they saw a problem, or by hushing up their accusers, or by switching the priests around from parish to parish the way Lynn did? It's not a witch hunt, this is all based on fact.

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    4. Exactly. I also like when I hear about reforms being effective. These were the same reforms that were criticized in the 2006 Grand Jury Report as being completely ineffective and collusive with the AOP civil attorneys. And the same reforms that led to Rigali stating publicly that there were no abusive priests in active ministry followed by the suspension of nearly 7% of all priests in active ministry for credible allegations of abuse--last year! So, yes, the pre-reform church is last May; and everything has changed in a year. Priest molesters are "so-2011." And never mind the fact that the new Cardinal just removed 5/8 of those priests; and there is another few dozen priests who are still being investigated by the review panel--again set up last year--not as a result of any internal church reform, but a creature of the Grand Jury and press coverage that the AOP was still harboring abusive priests. Oh, and disclosure? the AOP didn't even release the 35 priest memo until a few weeks before trial and after Cardinal B's death.

      BTW, interesting story coming out of Brooklyn with regards to the Brooklyn DA's coddling of the ultra orthodox jewish community. Apparently, the Rabbis have declared publicly that no member should report abuse to civil authorities until the Rabbis have investigated and given their OK. And parents who have cooperated with civil authorities have been shunned and harassed until the kids drop or withdraw the charges. The Brooklyn DA has apparently gone along with this arrangement. So, yes, apparently male dominated clerics of all type believe that dirty laundry should be kept in house and that religious folks should be above civil law.

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  12. Kudos to this nun. Finally someone who just says it like it is. Any one of these failures could have just said this can't go on anymore. But they didn't, and here we are.

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  13. Oh my.

    Let’s see here.

    Comes now one John McDonnell, new to the site and a writer of horror-story books. He “just knows” I am merely trying to “confuse issues”. From wherever his knowledge is derived it is not from reading any of my prior comments where I have already spoken to this now-familiar assertion. And what issue am I trying to confuse? He doesn’t say but I consider it to be the ‘issue’ of a tightly-controlled spin and narrative that keeps all the focus on the immediate ‘stories’ and not on any efforts at larger perspective or comprehension.

    He doesn’t like “ten-dollar words” – is he not familiar with polysyllabic words? He doesn’t like my “legalese”, although I have been taken to task by other commenters (including the self-proclaimed hugely experienced attorney and law professor Kopride - who, contrary to all extant indications of an undeniable authority flowing through hyper-confident self-assertion has with stubborn modesty yet to share the name of his/her Firm or his/her own indubitably glorious name - who evinces a charming bonhomie for him in comments). Perhaps commenter McDonnell might share an example or two of my “legalese” – he seems not to have provided any in his confident comment.

    By the most amazing coincidence, commenter McDonnell, in his first-ever stab at the matters under consideration here, has composed a comment that – sentence by sentence – covers all the usual SNAP talking points. I’ll charitably chalk it up to the workings of mysterious Grace.

    Thus: a) that the Church is utterly discredited in toto because it set itself up as a moral beacon “for centuries” (millennia?) had members who failed miserably and other members who covered it up. But the Church has never claimed perfection applied to it anymore than it applies to any other human organization. The US government has abducted, tortured and assassinated numerous people – to say nothing of those who have died in recent assorted military misadventures: should it be utterly discredited and abolished? Why not, according to his reasoning?)

    And (b) I am to stop talking about “the reforms”. Why? Because he doesn’t care about such quibbles as the validity of evidence over time and the lethally complex problems of accuser-said/accused-said in this type of case, especially if it deals with “historical” material. So he is not a lawyer and never claimed to be and that’s what I’ve been saying on this site: that what appear merely irrelevant (or worse) obstructions to persons for whom the processes and foundations of law are merely ‘obstructions’ to what they most surely feel (“know”, they prefer to say) that principles don’t matter in matters of the Law and the Sovereign authority (is that “legalese”?). Although, curiously, his comments elicit naught but a a bravo from self-proclaimed uber-attorney and teacher of Law, Kopride. Go figure.

    Ditto that I should stop asking why prosecutors didn’t bring more recent cases. Does he have any reasonable ideas as to why they did bring such “historical” cases rather than “current” ones? He doesn’t bother in his comment to share them, if he indeed has done the thinking necessary to formulate them. Again, too, this serves the SNAP-py agenda of milking the horror of the ‘stories’ (ah, a tie-in here, perhaps) and distracting from the legal principles at stake and in question. Ditto that this too elicits only a glowing encomium from this site’s uber-Lawperson.

    The squelching of any talk of “the reforms” also serves the agenda of distracting from the very real possibility – backed up by all extant tallies and reports – that ‘current’ allegations have fallen off to single digits in the past few years. That this might be the result of the aforementioned “reforms” is not something a certain agenda would like anybody to be thinking about. Which goes to my thought that in the matter of ‘show-trials’ (and all trials are that to some extent): that the instant trial is queasily similar to trials from some other and alien legal Universe.

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  14. And (c) that these crimes are so “unique” that any concern for foundational principles of Law are thereby inapplicable. Which is a pretty good functional definition of ‘emergency law’. (Commenters might want to biddy-biddy-boom with Nazi history specialists Allen and Guzmann for a bit more on the provenance of ‘emergency law’.) In what way are these crimes so “unique” that they justify the side-stepping, if not outright abandonment, of first principles of Law?

    The Correct response is that the Church is so “unique” and the crimes are so “unique” that principles can be – indeed must be – overridden. That is a lethal legal path, as the Nazi and Soviet and Maoist polities – to name only the most infamous – discovered.

    In that regard I recall again the example of MADD: they didn’t claim that drunk-driving (and the deaths caused by such drivers) were so heinously “unique” that the entire foundation of the legal system had to be deranged in order to satisfy them. They brought the matter to national attention, got public awareness aroused, and got the already-enumerated crimes to be more robustly prosecuted. And that was that. And the country is the better for it. But that is not what we have seen with this Catholic clerical abuse matter, and certainly isn’t a bit of history that SNAP would care to see discussed.

    And (d) that Catholics were mostly raised to see their priests as occupying – again – so “unique” a position in the eyes of the Catholic faithful. Thus and therefore, errant priests (the genuinely offending ones) were (the past tense) considered to be some sub-species of divinities themselves. I don’t recall many Catholics who saw them that way: the singing and the sermons alone provided clear proof that God was working with less-than-perfect materials (although there were the occasional stand-outs and still are). But there is a method to the madness of this “unique”: it implies that so “unique” a problem as existed has to be allowed to override the first principles of Law. Neat.

    And on what authority does the commenter claim that “most of us who went to Catholic school” saw things his way (and the SNAP way)? If he himself saw the priest as a sub-species of divinity then let him say that, and let his observation stand for what it is: a personal observation.

    Parish priests as “moral arbiters”? Surely Paul VI’s birth-control encyclical put paid to that almost half-a-century ago, to the extent that in the post-immigrant American Catholic Church of the post-WW2 era such worshipful status still existed; and surely not after the close of Vatican 2. Did commenter McDonnell attend fifth-grade in the 1930s or before? If so, from the photo he has provided, he is remarkably well-preserved.

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  15. And is the Church’s stance against nuclear-brinkmanship in the early 1980s thus somehow dissipated? Or the Church’s stance against any of the other evils that bethump the species and the planet currently? If so, how does that bit of alchemy work?

    It is indeed reprehensible when priests fail as some did in the cases focused upon in the instant trial. But how many priests have failed and how many have not? The evidence is that only a small percentage did, and while no failure is acceptable (and criminal failure should be treated as such), yet in what way is the entire priesthood utterly undermined? How does that work exactly?

    I have been repelled by some of the stories that have been presented in testimony. But out of all the priests that have served, what percentage have been allegated-against? And as we are seeing in this trial, how many malevolent monsters as distinct from genuine looney-tunes? And all of it in a past that has been – by all extant and reliable counts – greatly left-behind.

    If commenter McDonnell would care to share the evidence from my essays that I blame the entire sex-abuse crisis on a witch-hunt, I’d really like to see it. After all, authors often read stuff and it certainly seems he is an author. I did make the case that the same dynamics driving the Salem trials (spectral evidence, especially) seem to have returned to the legal system recently, but surely you can’t rationally get from that to my blaming everything in the current abuse crisis on a witch-hunt.

    And if the author can provide the quotation where I blamed it all on “anti-Catholic bias” I’d like to see that too.

    And on what basis does commenter McDonnell, who clearly hasn’t read my other comments to any effect, echo prior comments on this site by uber-Legalperson Kopride that I “crave attention”? (Let’s charitably pass over in silence the pious but slyly self-aggrandizing confession that commenter McDonnell really doesn’t want to bestow the graces of his own sublime attention upon me.) Really now, gentlefolk: after all I have expressed rather clearly in my comments on this site, on what basis could you possibly conceive and assume and assert that I crave your attention? Do you hold yourselves and your presentations in that much esteem? I do not.

    And lastly, since the accusation was leveled against commenter Pierre that his comments merely reflect the pecuniary desire to sell his books, are we to entertain the same suspicions of commenter McDonnell, whose site is also laden with books of his for sale? Fantasy horror stories … perhaps a connection.

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  16. And comes yet again self-declared (but so modestly unforthcoming with evidence) uber-Lawperson Kopride.

    It is clinically interesting to follow the bouncing ball: one minute the sober and utterly professional legal mastermind, and then suddenly something far more primitive.
    I am “the sex-offender creature”. Is this the uber-Lawperson speaking here? What attorney would make such a charge with no evidence? Of course, this is the webverse and I may well be about as much a ‘sex offender’ as Kopride is an uber-attorney and law professor.

    But if s/he is just emitting an opinion, then in the crucible of that self does not the rational and professionally-trained ‘attorney’ exercise no restraint whatsoever upon the more primitive phantasm that so easily reveals itself in so many comments on this site?

    I point this out not in personal pique but because, as I have said before on this site, I think we are getting a vision of what passes for mental and conceptual process in – to read the commentary on this site – a notable number of persons who put themselves into their comments. And – again as I have said before – I think we are getting a glimpse of what is the quotidian and usual process that drives some of the ‘interests’ behind this ‘show-trial’ (in the worst historical sense of that term).

    Or perhaps – at least to his/her satisfaction – commenter Kopride has reached such a conclusion as to my status in a rational way? Pray, share that process with the readership. I freely admit that the genius in it escapes me. The evidence given is that “based upon his blog it appears that Pertinax is a registered sex-offender”. Again, if s/he might enlighten the less-illuminated with some substantiation in the form of quotations from my essays, that would be a great help. Nor is the first time I’ve inquired as to such substantiation. Nor, I expect, will it be the last.

    As noted, commenter McDonnell’s insouciant and putatively righteous disregard for first principles of Law elicits nothing but praise from this uber-Law-prof.

    Said alleged uber-prof apparently sees no derangement in first principles of Law that have fuelled recent changes in evidentiary standards and jurispraxis and relevant legislation. The readership may take his/her blithe assurances at face value, or might rather read any of the extensive essays I have (over 200) on the subject.

    If s/he can point to any quotation from any of my thousand or so pages of essays that justifies the assessment that “victims are simply liars” I urge him/her to put it up forthwith. But I will not be so hapless as to insist that s/he otherwise hold his/her peace – evidence is clearly not something that engages the interest or attention of this self-reported lecturer to other attorneys as to matters of evidence. Go figure.

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  17. From that assumption as to my status, the uber-Lawperson then spins a google-soused dissertation on the psychology of sex-offenders. Which is relevant here only if I am a sex-offender, which s/he has not demonstrated (repeatedly so) but – hey, what’s evidence really? Such legal prowess.

    Or has the more primitive Opinionator taken over the uber-Lawperson’s usual and deeply-grounded professional stance to vital matters?

    Again, if there is any substantiation to the self-serving fantasy that I see this trial as part of my “personal narrative” I’d like to see that too. But I’m going to bet that no such demonstration will be forthcoming. Then again, I don’t expect that anybody will be given the name and firm of so glorious a legal-eagle, either.

    As for the rest of his/her comment, as well as the above-noted material, I am very happy to see it hang up there in print for everyone to read.

    I do, however, entertain the following presumption: that had I deployed my efforts on this site in the service of the narrative so queasily insisted-upon by several commenters, I would be showered with the type of clunky encomia that the old Soviets used to heap upon those who agreed with them: Stakhanovite Defender of the Revolution! Intrepid Defender of the Sixty-Year Prosecution Plan! Tireless Promoter of the Five-Year Tractor Plan!

    But what value, ultimately, in garnering such praise and chummy encomia? For me, none whatsoever.

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  18. Well, as they say in the clinical forum, once the material is covered, a few moments now on process.

    One of the unexpected results of letting a few days go by before commenting is that I can watch the ‘group process’ among the commentariat.

    What becomes clear is that there is a pronounced tendency not for individual commenters to express their thoughts (or feelings) and leave it at that; rather, there is a pronounced tendency for various individuals to engage in sort of an antiphon-response type of mutual support and congratulation, much as one sees in groups that have been communing together.

    It’s sort of the ‘tuning fork’ dynamic: one sets the others off and they begin to vibrate sympathetically.

    I won’t refrain from noticing that while several commenters have accused me of looking for some sort of approval-response by commenting on this site, yet it is those very commenters who are rather established practitioners of just such mutual-congratulation elicitation on this site. As is evidenced even in the comments on this particular installment of the trial report series.

    Again, and if you examine their assertions and claims, there is a robust whiff of group-think in the whole thing, and it is built upon some of the most remarkable claims and assertions.

    The commenter Kopride, as an example of what is so often the case in any such scenario, functions as the ‘strong figure’ who sets the tone and course, and then the mutuality gets rolling as noted.

    The web is what it is and commenters will do what they do. But the dynamic has impressed itself upon me for some time now on this site, and the readership is invited to look back over the various comment-sections in each of the installments. And, I fully expect, observe it in future installments as well.

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