Pilarczyk: New Era of 'Openness and Credibility'

By Kimball Perry
Cincinnati Post [Cincinnati OH]
Downloaded November 21, 2003

After the Archdiocese of Cincinnati was convicted of five crimes Thursday, Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk declared the establishment of the church's new era of "openness and credibility."

That era was short-lived, an attorney representing 67 accusers who are suing the archdiocese said minutes later.

"I don't get the idea of openness and credibility," Konrad Kircher said. "They're not blaming anyone. They're still denying knowledge of who these (alleged molesters) are.

"My clients do not perceive him as sincere and credible."

With Thursday's conviction, Hamilton County Prosecutor Mike Allen said, the public's plea to him has been fulfilled.

"We have uncovered the truth," Allen said.

"If there was a further cry, it was for accountability -- in the names of all of those people who very painfully shared with us their stories of shame and humiliation, I stand not only before you, but before them to say we have done our duty to the fullest extent permissible by law.

"Justice has been done."

Hardly, countered Barbara Blaine of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

She was upset Thursday that the archdiocese as an entity was convicted but individuals escaped criminal prosecution.

"Archbishop Pilarczyk has been notorious in not being open," said Blaine, who said she was sexually abused by a priest in Toledo. "We hope this isn't one of these deals where the church cuts a deal and gets away. They should be held accountable."

Thursday's convictions, she believed, fell short of justice because an institution can be judged only when the people who run it can be punished.

"When individuals are held accountable, then change happens," Blaine said. "Archbishop Pilarczyk should be held accountable and anyone who has facilitated children being molested should be held accountable.

"We hope this deal doesn't allow a cover-up to continue," he said.

"We don't think the church can heal without (taking responsibility)."

Kircher bristled at suggestions that priest abuse stopped in 1982, the year in which the most recent of the cover-ups the church pleaded to Thursday happened. The count was one of five of failing to report allegations of priest abuse to which the archdiocese pleaded no contest.

That's also the exact year, Kircher wryly noted, that Pilarczyk was promoted from auxiliary bishop to archbishop of the 19-county Archdiocese of Cincinnati.

"I know it didn't stop in 1982," Kircher said.

Pilarczyk was named archbishop Dec. 20, 1982. That's why, Kircher suggested, the crimes for which the Archdiocese was convicted ranged from 1979 to 1982.


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