Priest Abuse

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel [Wisconsin]
Downloaded March 22, 2003

It appears church still thinks it's above the law

I appreciated the March 15 article on Archbishop Timothy Dolan ("Dolan sent letter to judge in abuse case"). It exposed the Catholic Church's continued attempts to defend perpetrators and its lack of care and support for victims.

This article reminded us that the church and religious are not above the law, although many continue to believe they are not accountable simply because they are "the church."

A 5-year-old boy was sodomized and abused for three years. That terror will haunt him for years. The perpetrator is sentenced to 15 years in prison; the boy is sentenced to many more years in a prison only other victims can truly understand. Yet Dolan asks for leniency for the perpetrator.

I believe this priest got off easy. I am glad, however, he can no longer hurt other children for at least 15 years.

Dolan's continued lack of pastoral care to victims and his desire to hold mediation sessions without victims' attorneys present denies victims their legal rights and serves as a means of revictimizing the victim.

I respect the courage of victims who step forward. I abhor the secrecy and hypocrisy of the church. May there be a groundswell of victims' voices crying out: "Enough is enough. No more secrets. We will hold you accountable."

Melissa Butts, Racine


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