Abuse Victims Question Deal Made by Allen
By Kevin Eigelbach
Cincinnati Post [Cincinnati OH]
September 29, 2004
Hamilton County Prosecutor Mike Allen's sexual indiscretions have provided a new reason for sexual-abuse survivors to question a plea bargain he made with the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.
On Tuesday, the local chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests asked Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Thomas Crush to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the deal.
"It doesn't necessarily smell right," chapter leader Christy Miller said of the plea bargain.
Last November, on behalf of the archdiocese, Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk pleaded no contest to five misdemeanor counts of not reporting sex abuse. As part of the deal, the archdiocese paid a $10,000 fine and set up a $3 million victims compensation fund.
The deal ended a contentious investigation by the prosecutor into possible criminal acts.
Victims of priest sexual abuse complained then that Allen's office didn't consult them before agreeing to the plea, a complaint that SNAP reiterated on Tuesday in its letter to Crush.
SNAP also repeated a previous complaint about Allen negotiating the plea deal with a representative of his former law firm, Dinsmore and Shohl.
Allen has since hired the firm to defend him in a sexual harassment suit filed against him by a former assistant prosecutor, Rebecca Collins. Allen acknowledged in August that he had an extramarital affair with Collins, but said that it was consensual.
In its letter to Crush, SNAP questioned Allen's "objectivity and commitment to the public interest because of his own alleged misconduct and his obvious need to keep it secret."
The group also questioned Allen's objectivity because of his "devout Catholic faith" and devotion to his alma mater, Elder High School, where several perpetrators of sexual abuse had once worked.
"It is inevitable that victims wonder about what influence these factors may have had on Allen or his staff," SNAP wrote.
Jon Esther, public information officer for Allen's office, said he couldn't comment at length on the letter because he hadn't seen it.
"It sounds like they're throwing a lot against the wall," he said. The plea bargain didn't have any connection with current events, he said.
Earlier this month, SNAP asked Ohio Attorney General Jim Petro to appoint a special prosecutor, but Petro said he had no jurisdiction, and referred SNAP to Crush, Miller said.
Crush doesn't have to appoint a prosecutor, and doesn't even have to reply to the letter, Miller said, but she hopes he will.
SNAP doesn't have any inside information of wrongdoing, Miller said, but questions what happened based on public information.
"Our worst fear is that, with little or no victims' input, Allen cut a deal with his spiritual leader, Pilarczyk, and his former boss or co-workers at Dinsmore and Shohl," the letter stated.
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