Guest Columnist
Archives Will Be Opened

By Jim Biteman
Seattle Times [Seattle WA]
Downloaded February 11, 2003

. More on the Catholic Church and sexual abuse

Permission granted: You may sexually abuse children.

That's what the Catholic Church is saying to its priests. Every day in the U.S. a Catholic child is sexually abused to varying degrees. The perpetrators are sexual predators, sick men and women of the Catholic cloth who use the church and its hierarchy to protect them from civil law, claiming canon law prevails - laws that would put anyone but them in front of a jury of their peers to decide their fate. Do you and I ever hear about these cases from the Catholic Church? No. These complaints are held in secret archives. No one but the bishop has access. In those archives lie thousands of lives that have been destroyed by the cover-up of many of the church's high officials.

Look to Boston. What was revealed? More than 10,000 pages of documents with links that went all the way up the chain to the Vatican. Has sexual abuse like this happened here in Seattle? It has. I am a victim who has been dealing with the Catholic Church's deviant ways for almost three decades. A priest was sent to St. Paul's parish in Seattle from the Spokane diocese to obtain "sexual deviancy treatment."

Did I mention that St. Paul's also has a school? He had clear access to all of the boys at St. Paul's for a period of 2-1/2 years while attending his sexual-deviancy counseling. Is any of this starting to appall you? It should!

I as well as others who attended St. Paul's in those years have been persecuted by their decision ever since. When the secret archives are opened, and they will be opened, Seattle, you will see that your spiritual leaders have been deceiving us all.

Archbishop Alexander J. Brunett talks about candor. I read his guest column on that topic ("Catholic leaders should replace PR with candor," Jan. 10) and it felt yet again as though someone had kicked me in the gut.

The Catholic Church is not interested in correcting what is wrong; it is worried about damage control. In a matter of months it will be rethinking its strategy. Because the truth is coming, and there is nothing it will be able to do but let the public judge.

Let the laws of the state be enforceable over those who are using canon law to hide their serial pedophiles and sexual predators.

Wake up, Western Washington. This problem is happening in your back yard, just like in Boston. But the Catholics in Boston are more passionate about their church. They aren't afraid to stand up for what their heart tells them is right.

I challenge you all to do the same.

Jim Biteman writes from Renton and is a member of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.


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