Harvey Interview - Part 11
Rev. Kenneth Lasch
January 9, 2006
I also assisted in presenting an appeal to Rome on behalf of Bob Deacon who alleged that a priest from his boyhood parish had molested him as a young boy.
Deacon’s testimony was also deemed credible but by this time, the rules had changed without notice. In as much as there was no corroborative evidence that he had ever abused anyone else, Deacon’s testimony was considered insufficient. I later came to the conclusion that there are new criteria for judgment by the Diocesan Review Board, namely, testimony may be considered credible but not provable.
I had accompanied Bob Deacon and his wife to the hearing by the Review Board. Prior to the hearing, I was reminded by the Promoter of Justice that no questions by either the members of the board or by the alleged victim or anyone who accompanied the victim, were allowed during the hearing. I responded to him that I was aware of the protocol but that I was challenging it. He responded that I would not be permitted to do so. I responded that I understood but that I would still register a protest. I was very nice about it and reminded him that I was simply speaking as a canonical colleague – nothing personal.
A few minutes later, I was escorted into the office of the Vicar General in the presence of the diocesan attorney. They repeated what the Promoter of Justice has just told me.
I reminded them that I was an intelligent man and that I understood the protocol but disagreed with it. I asked whether questions are permitted during a grand jury presentment. The attorney said yes. I asked why then are they not permitted during a review board hearing. He said in deference to the victims. I responded, “Yeah, right! That’s a lot of…. you know what!” I asked if this were the protocol for all review boards. They did not know but I knew it was not. I assured them I would not embarrass the victim or anyone on the board. Yatta, yatta…
In any event, after the hearing both the diocesan attorney and Marianna Thompson spoke highly of Bob Deacon’s testimony and said that the board felt it was truly credible.
Harvey: Then what happened afterward?
Fr. Lasch: The accused priest then made his presentation to the review board and denied the allegations and to prove it, he said he did know how to swim and that he did not drink.
[You need to know that Deacon claimed that the priest had molested him on one occasion in the waters of Budd Lake. Moreover, he claimed that the priest had given him beer in the rectory.]
However, what the board seemed to conveniently forget was the fact that Deacon never mentioned swimming. He doesn’t know how to swim either! He said the molestation took place in waist deep water. Moreover, he never claimed that the priest was a drinker though he does have a photo of him with a cocktail glass in his hand. He simply stated that he gave him beer.
Based on the discrepancy in testimony and despite my attempts and the attempts of Deacon to set the record straight, the discrepancy was deemed irresolvable.
I sent an appeal to Rome.
In a private conversation with him during our March 11th meeting about St. Joseph, Bishop Serratelli mentioned, “by the way, I received a letter from Rome stating that the Vatican upheld his decision to exonerate Varettoni.” I asked him for a copy of the letter. He said that it was confidential. I received no other formal verification. This is justice?
Oh, by the way, in a subsequent settlement with the Diocese, Deacon received one of the highest payments. Isn’t that odd? That should give pause to others to make false claims for an easy settlement. Something wrong with this picture?
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