Boston Cardinal Criticized over Priest's Defrocking
March 31, 2016
Boston Catholic officials are announcing that a predator priest has been defrocked. But they refuse to announce when they pay settlements to victims of predator priests.
Just days ago, attorney Mitchell Garabedian announced several settlements involving child molesting clerics in Cardinal Sean O’Malley’s archdiocese. Despite repeated pledges to be “open” about predator priests, O’Malley did not disclose these settlements.
So when they decide “This predator isn’t part of us anymore” Catholic officials are sometimes forthcoming. But when they decide “This predator is credibly accused” they are often secretive.
And Catholic officials have promised to suspend accused predator priests. But O’Malley ignored that pledge too, like he ignored his “openness” pledge. Instead, when abuse reports surfaced, he let Fr. Thomas Maguire take a “voluntary leave.”
And instead of being honest about what the priest allegedly did, O’Malley said Fr. Maguire had "inappropriate behavior in the presence of minors." So parents had to wonder “Did Fr. Maguire make off-color jokes?” or “Did he steal $50 from a teenager?” or “Did he show an R-rated movie to high schoolers?”
Instead of telling the truth, O’Malley did what Catholic officials have done for decades. He minimized child sexual abuse and kept Catholics and citizens in the dark using deliberately vague language.
Later, O’Malley claims, more or clearer abuse reports were made against Fr. Maguire. We see no evidence, however, that O’Malley ever disclosed this fact. Again, where’s the “openness” we’ve repeatedly been promised and that the US church abuse policy supposedly mandates?
We hope the defrocking of Fr. Maguire will bring some comfort to his victims. But O’Malley’s duty doesn’t end here.
Kids are safest when child molesters are jailed. So O’Malley must go to every parish where Fr. Maguire worked and beg victims, witnesses and whistleblowers to call police. He must spread the same message through clear notices in parish bulletins, on church websites and in pulpit announcements. That’s what a truly caring shepherd would do.
Catholic bishops can’t recruit, educate, ordain, transfer and shield predator priests and then suddenly walk away – saying “He’s not our guy anymore” – and let parents, police, prosecutors and the public fend for themselves. O’Malley and his staff, knowing what Fr. Maguire has done, have a duty to help prod others who could put this predator behind bars behind bars.
And O’Malley should turn over every shred of information he has about Fr. Maguire to police. He should insist that every other Boston cleric should do the same, whether they have actual knowledge or just suspicions about this predator.
We urge every single person who saw, suspected or suffered child sex crimes and cover ups in Catholic churches or institutions – especially in Boston – to protect kids by calling police, get help by calling therapists, expose wrongdoers by calling journalists, get justice by calling attorneys, and get comfort by calling support groups like ours. This is how kids will be safer, adults will recover, criminals will be prosecuted, cover ups will be deterred and the truth will surface.