The files released last week by America's largest Catholic archdiocese revealed new and disturbing details about how church officials schemed to protect priests accused of molesting children. But was the scandal in Los Angeles really so much worse than in other places?
The Catholic priest busted for allegedly dealing crystal meth was suspended after church officials discovered he was a cross-dresser who was having sex in the rectory at Bridgeport's St. Augustine Cathedral. Monsignor Kevin Wallin was relieved of his duties in May, but the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport had continued to pay him a stipend until his Jan. 3 arrest -- a day he was planning to fly to London on vacation. Now dubbed "Msgr. Meth" by some, Wallin seemed to live a life that easily could have been ripped from the script of "Breaking Bad," the popular AMC series about a high school chemistry teacher turned crystal methamphetamine producer. At one point, Wallin was selling upwards of $9,000 of meth a week, according to his indictment. In his post-priesthood, Wallin, 61, bought an adult specialty and video store in North Haven called Land of Oz that sells sex toys and X-rated DVDs. Investigators believe the shop helped him launder thousands of dollars in weekly profits.
The pope accepted the resignation of a Chilean bishop who is under investigation by the Vatican for the alleged sexual abuse of a minor. The resignation of Bishop Marco Antonio Ordenes Fernandez of Iquique, Chile, marks one of the few times that the Vatican has acknowledged publicly that it was investigating a bishop for sex abuse allegations. Advocates for clerical sex abuse victims have long complained that the Vatican has looked the other way when bishops have been accused of abuse or of covering it up.
Monsignor William Lynn, the highest-ranking clergyman convicted in the U.S. Roman Catholic Church scandal, was sentenced on Tuesday to up to six years in prison for covering up child sex abuse by priests in Philadelphia.
A Waterford priest charged last week with first-degree possession of child pornography pleaded not guilty to the charge Monday during a brief hearing in Superior Court.
Investigators say that when they knocked on the rectory door of St. Paul Parish last week, search warrant in hand, the priest there quickly gave up a secret.
For the past 20 years, Tremont Sheldon Robinson Mahoney has been devoted to representing the interests of individuals who were sexually abused, sexually assaulted, and sexually exploited when they were children. Over the years, we have successfully represented hundreds of childhood survivors in cases against religious institutions, hospitals, school systems, and individual perpetrators. We remain committed to this area of the law and we continue to actively represent survivors of these heinous acts. Here are a few recent updates: Dr. George Reardon/St. Francis Hospital In July of 2011, the jury in the Tim Doe v. St. Francis Hospital matter returned a verdict in the amount of $2.75 million. As expected, the Hospital appealed. What was unexpected was that the Supreme Court transferred the appeal to itself and entered orders to allow for an expedited argument. The briefing has been completed and the Court will hear argument on April 26, 2012. Teacher Abuse In March of 2012, a Superior Court judge in the Jane Doe v. Westport Board of Education matter ruled that a local Board of Education cannot use the shield of government immunity to protect it against a lawsuit by our client, a young woman, who claims she was sexually assaulted by her high school teacher.
Religious institutions have constitutional protections, but they are not above the law. Unfortunately, that has not stopped the Roman Catholic Church and other religious groups from arguing that the First Amendment shields them from civil lawsuits for negligent supervision and retention of employees who sexually abuse children. Most state courts that have considered the issue have rejected this claim by churches, recognizing that holding religious employers liable for failure to monitor employees in sex-abuse cases does not interfere with constitutionally protected religious freedoms. However, courts in Missouri, Wisconsin and Utah have twisted the First Amendment into a shield for organizational liability for pedophile clergy. In an outrageous case, a Missouri appellate court summarily dismissed a negligence case brought against the Archdiocese of St. Louis by an individual who said he had been abused by a priest. His suit charged the archdiocese with negligent failure to supervise the priest, who had a past record of child sexual abuse. The court threw out the complaint, saying that Missouri law does not allow it because judging the supervision of the priest would require inquiry into religious doctrine, which it contends would violate the First Amendment. This bizarre conclusion would grant churches a special exemption from neutral, generally applicable laws designed to protect children. The United States Supreme Court now has an opportunity to reverse this erroneous interpretation of the Constitution. The justices should grant the plaintiff's petition for review, which they are scheduled to consider on Friday. Since some 20 states have not ruled on this issue, the Supreme Court can provide urgently needed clarity. It should firmly declare that the First Amendment does not exempt religious entities from accountability for exposing children to harm. THE NEW YORK TIMES, Editorial - March 14, 2012