|Don't Sue Us, Says the Church, We'll Pay for Your Therapy. Then Only Pedophile Data They Count Is from Lawsuits
By Kay Ebeling
City of Angels
January 14, 2008
"They wouldn't have paid for my therapy if I had sued," said Ann Hagan Webb. "I had to sign a paper that they would not be liable in any other financial way."
Only an omnipotent organization operating outside the law like the Catholic Church can carry out a Catch 22 like this: Archdioceses offer victims help with therapy as a way to "heal" without lawsuits. Then when it cooks up its statistics on pedophile priests, the Church only counts successful lawsuits. Catch 22. (For example Sr. McNiff's chart in the LA Times, see January 8 post.)
In Ann Webb's case, they paid for her therapy, but the church says hers is a false claim. A portrait of her perpetrator greets you when you walk into Sacred Heart Church in the Providence Archdiocese of Rhode Island.
Last time Webb's husband saw that portrait he smashed his fist through the glass.
Yes, he smashed a fist through the glass. Mr. Webb is a straight arrow Massachusetts citizen, a scientist and businessman who for 20 years has sold his inventions to places like NASA. He has no criminal record. He and Ann raised three children to adulthood and are putting them through college. But last October when he saw Monsignor Anthony DeAngelis' portrait still hanging in the entryway of Sacred Heart Church in West Warwick, Webb punched his fist through the glass.
The church had him arrested. However, police got him back in time to continue protesting at the second Mass.
Ann Webb, who co-directs the New England SNAP Regional Office - Boston, explains it:
"He had been there outside picketing, because the portrait was still hanging, walking back and forth and leafleting, and he was talking to a reporter. My mother's friend comes out and says, oh they took that picture down.
"He and the reporter go let's go in and see. They go inside and the picture was still there. All of a sudden I don't know he just punched it, it broke the glass but didn't hurt the picture.
He had a glove on. . ."
The church showed its compassion for the families of pedophile priest victims. They called the police.
"The cops were very-very nice and had him back to finish picketing for the second Mass."
Later (Sacred Heart's) Fr. Bucci said as long as Webb paid for the damages, the church will drop the charges. He also wanted Webb to promise she and SNAP would stop demonstrating outside the church. They never agreed to that.
The Webbs paid the church $15.83 and cleared their name.
"We paid it and Fr. Bucci agreed not to file any charges."
They just don't get it. There's a sensitivity you expect from a church, they just don't have it. More after this:
Ann continues, explaining why they were protesting outside Sacred Heart again Sunday January 13.
"Fr. Bucci writes this horrible letter a week later to the church, to all members of the church He calls me a liar saying my charges are uncorroborated. He claims they've found evidence of false memory in my case."
Some quotes from the letter from Father Bucci to the parishioners about Webb:
"AFTER the deplorable events Sunday December 2nd when our parish church was desecrated. . .
"I want to clarify I have only spoken two occasions with Mrs. Webb. . .
WEBB: He calls me Mrs. Webb all through the letter. I have my doctorate.
(Webb is a psychologist now working primarily with priest rape victims.)
"The accuracy of recovered memory is beyond my competency and pay grade." writes Fr. Bucci. "The Diocese of Providence decided to assist Mrs. Webb with $12,500. . .
"This might be construed as an admission of guilt, or some reasonable doubt sufficient for civil action or merely a decision to avoid litigation, however --
(Sorry, readers, Ann emailed me the letter but my computer wouldn't open the attachment, city of angels blog will try to get a full copy of the letter soon.)
The letter referred to the "sacrilegious violence of Mr. Webb in the church."
Webb and I on the phone both agreed:
We can tell you about some sacrilegious violence.
There's another lie in Bucci's letter to the parishioners, according to Ann Webb.
Bucci wrote: "Unless we receive a pledge of no further disruptions by SNAP VOTF ACLU, we will not drop the charges."
(All them pesky alphabet groups are the same!)
"He led parishioiners to believe we agreed to that," she said. "All we had to do was pay the $15.83 we never promised anybody would not be outside again."
It's a public sidewalk.
However because Bucci wrote that in his treatise to the parishioners about her, when Webb and about 20 other protestors showed up again last Sunday, parishioners thought the group was breaking their new agreement with Fr. Bucci. Some were hostile to Webb and her group as they leafletted.
The church demanded detailed therapy files from Ann Hagan Webb in order to settle her claim. Then they apparently ignored those therapy files.
"Bucci obviously never read the therapy files he demanded from me," Webb says about his letter to parishioners that her memories are false.
"I went to the church in 1994 when they said in the news that they'd pay for people's therapy and I went to the pastor there, Fr. Turillo. I went to the church asking for help with therapy. Two years later after fighting with me, they paid what the insurance hadn't covered.
"They were advertising in the paper at the time, you know, we'll help survivors.
"Well all I got was letters from lawyers. Then they demanded all my therapy notes."
First she got letters from lawyers asking for phone numbers of witnesses. The Church Attorneys never called the witnesses.
"Then they sent me a letter saying my claim wasn't corroborated.
"Finally two years later I took them the therapy notes they were demanding and then gave me a check which covered everything that I had paid out of pocket so far."
A check for $12,500
Ann Hagan Webb felt violated turning over her therapy files:
"Those notes had everything. Years later I was horrified that I did that but I was at the end of my rope and I needed the validation.
"When the church was fighting me about it I felt -- like I wasn't being validated -- so I gave them the therapy notes."
Still the church sent a letter to all parishioners calling her a liar, questioning her sanity, saying her memories are false.
"It was like an extra thing they handed out with the bulletin My god mother passed it on to me, 'Dear Parishioners.'
"I Felt Like I Had to Respond"
Ann was back in front of Sacred Heart in Rhode Island Sunday Jan. 10 with about 25 dedicated New England protestors, aka Sidewalk VOTF, handing out the letter Webb wrote in response, which is reprinted after this blog:
"We were going to put my letter on people's windshields," Webb said, "but that might be trespassing. I don't want to commit another crime against the church."
Why was Sidewalk VOTF protesting at Sacred Heart Church in Providence last Fall in the first place? After this
Loyal readers will remember this from the October 22 2007 post at City of Angels Blog:
Documents released (in fall 2007) by attorneys for the archdiocese in Rhode Island contradict numbers released by the Rhode Island Archdiocese in the John Jay Report. Paul Kellen described the situation:
"In the John Jay Report the Diocese of Providence reported from 1957 - 2002, there were 56 accused priests.
"The diocese of Providence is now being sued by somebody within the statute of limitations for failure to supervise and in that case the Judge ordered release of documents.
"The diocese is objecting due to undue hardship because we would have to prepare copies of documents on 125 accused pedophiles.
"So they just said 125 accused priests since 1971, in their own documents filed with Superior Court in Providence by their own attorneys.
"The number of names they released in Providence is 11. So that means there are 114 that nobody knows who they are."
Monday, October 22, 2007
Silent Victims: Neither church nor advocates have done enough. "You don't patch over the rot, you expose it," says Boston organizer Paul Kellen
Link to Paul Kellen quotes and article: "silent Victims"
How the Boston Globe reported the discrepancy in Rhode Island's church pedophili priest perpetrator numbers last October
"BishopAccountability.org, a victim advocacy organization that maintains an electronic archive of abuse scandal documents, discovered the document ((that showed the discrepancy in Rhode Island numbers) in a court file and released it yesterday. The organization said it has calculated that more than 10 percent of Rhode Island priests have been accused of abuse since 1950, which could give the tiny state the highest rate of abuse allegations in the nation. By contrast, 4 percent of priests nationally and about 7 percent of priests in Boston were accused of abuse between 1950 and 2002.
"The exact rate of alleged abuse in Rhode Island, the most Catholic state in the nation, is not possible to determine, because the diocese has not said how many priests served there since 1971 and has not revised Mulvee's figure of 56 accused priests since 1950 to reflect the new data contained in the court document.
Wellesley (MA) Townsman 7.4.02; SNAP: The Survivor's Voice 3.16.03; Boston Globe 10.20.07 (see picture); Kent County Times 11.30.07; Providence Journal 12.3.07
Detailed BA.org Assignment Record
DARN, I still can't figure out how to get links to work inside the blog. So just copy and paste those into your address, then GO:
CONCLUSION for the day: Catholic public statistics only use lawsuits for data and ignore all the other cases, like those the church handles by help with therapy: quietly, privately, secretly. They put on a compassionate face to the victim, then tell the public the victim doesn't really exist, those allegations are false, how could they be true, the victim did not even file a lawsuit. Catch 22. . .
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