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More than 1,000 Cases

Atila Sinke Guimarães
Bird's Eye View of the News, July 26, 2003

3monkeys.jpg - 21288 BytesThe number of sexual abuse victims only in the Boston Archdiocese in the last decades “likely exceeds 1,000” and involves more than 250 clergy and other Church workers. These conclusions are part of the 76-page report based on Church records that Attorney General Tom Reilly released July 23.

bv041_Keating_LAT_6-15-03.jpg - 25393 Bytes

Keating: It is a mafia style operation.
- LA Times, June 15, 2003
The report was made based on the data of a 16-month investigation, the more exhaustive work made on the topic to date by any public authority since the clerical abuse scandal began in Boston early last year. Reilly called the number of victims “staggering” and declared: “This is the greatest tragedy for all children, ever, in this commonwealth in terms of sex-abuse” (Los Angeles Times, July 24, 2003). Prosecutors in New Hampshire and Long Island are making similar efforts to use Church records to document long standing cover-ups of child sexual abuse by priests.

Reilly describes the general episcopal policy adopted as a “massive, inexcusable failure of the leadership in the Archdiocese of Boston.” The problem was not only the “deliberate, intentional choices” made to protect the guilty at the expense of innocent children, but also the fact that during the last decades the Church aggressively lobbied against attempts to broaden statutes that would have required self-reporting by clergy (ibid.).

Reading such conclusions and confirmations of the ongoing cover-up by Bishops as well as their refusal to provide information, one remembers the fitting remark made by ex-governor Frank Keating one month ago. He compared the Bishops to La Cosa Nostra, another name for the Mafia (Los Angeles Times, June 15, 2003). Keating’s comparison was certainly objective regarding some Californian Bishops. With the release of this Boston report, however, it seems the comparison could be extended to apply to several of their colleagues in the Boston Archdiocese. Would only the Bishops of Massachusetts and California deserve this epithet, or could it include some from other States as well? I leave this question for the reader to answer.


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