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Atila Sinke Guimarães
Bird's Eye View of the News,  February 15, 2002

3monkeys.jpg - 21288 Bytes John Geoghan, a defrocked priest of the Archdiocese of Boston accused of molesting more than 130 children, was found guilty on January 18 of indecent assault and battery on a 10-year-old boy. In addition, he faces a second trial in late February on charges of raping a minor (America, February 4, 2002). Anticipating the inconveniences of this condemnation, on January 8 Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston publicly apologized for past sexual abuse of children by priests in his Archdiocese.

According to a series of articles by the Boston Globe Spotlight, the Archdiocese has quietly settled child molestation claims against at least 70 priests in private negotiations without any court action. Cardinal Law made a serious promise to put a halt to this shameful problem in the clergy of Boston (The Tidings, February 1, 2002). This does not let him off the hook, however, for the responsibility of the past. Since he did not take adequate measures to repress the crimes and he even shielded the guilty ones, he was an accomplice to the crime.

This is not just my judgment. In June of last year this was also how the French law understood a similar complaisance of Bishop Pierre Pican of Lisieux and Bayeux with regard to pedophile priests in his Diocese. The Bishop had to appear in a civil court and was condemned to three months in prison (Actualité des Religions, February 2002, p. 34). Fortunately for Cardinal Bernard Law, the American legal system is more lenient than the French.

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