Words from the Grand Jury

Newsday [Long Island NY]
February 10, 2003

"The response of priests in the Diocesan hierarchy to allegations of criminal sexual abuse was not pastoral. In fact, although there was a written policy that set a pastoral tone, it was a sham. The Diocese failed to follow the policy from its inception even at its most rudimentary level. Abusive priests were transferred from parish to parish and between Dioceses. Abusive priests were protected under the guise of confidentiality; their histories mired in secrecy. Professional treatment recommendations were ignored and dangerous priests allowed to minister to children. Diocesan policy was to expend as little financial capital as possible to assist victims but to be well prepared for the possibility of enormous financial and legal liability. Aggressive legal strategies were employed to defeat and discourage lawsuits even though Diocesan officials knew they were meritorious. Victims were deceived; priests who were civil attorneys portrayed themselves as interested in the concerns of victims and pretended to be acting for their benefit while they acted only to protect the Diocese. These officials boldly bragged about their success and arrogantly outlined in writing mechanisms devised to shield them from discovery. These themes framed a system that left thousands of children in the Diocese exposed to predatory, serial child molesters working as priests."


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