National Catholic Reporter
September 4, 2020
By Nancy McGunagle
In Sr. Simone Campbell’s rah-rah piece for Sen. Kamala Harris, we, as Catholics, were urged to “evaluate Sen. Kamala Harris’ record carefully” and, we assume that means, as well, her record as district attorney for the city of San Francisco prior to her record as attorney general for the state of California.
Even limited research about Harris’ early career yields an impressive tally of her toughness on crime and her previous, meteoric rise in electable ranks thanks to more than a little help from Willie Brown, noted, political radical in the city and, eventually, its mayor. Willie’s wife, Blanche Vitero, would agree.
As for being tough on the horrific sexual abuse and cover-up crimes of the powerful San Francisco Archdiocese, there is little dispute now that, in her seven years as district attorney, Harris’ office did not proactively assist in civil cases against clergy sex abuse and ignored requests by activists and survivors to access the massive cache of investigative files regarding the diocese’s brutal crimes accumulated by her predecessor, Terence Hallinan — files that could have helped them secure justice in a timely fashion. This “evaluation” comes from several victims of clergy sex abuse living in California who spoke last year through the highly regarded, independent news source, The Intercept.
Sexual assault survivor, Joey Piscitelli, is quoted therein as saying: “It went from Terence Hallinan going hundred miles an hour, full speed ahead, after the Catholic Church to Kamala Harris doing absolutely nothing.”
No thanks. Clergy abuse survivors and their advocates did their evaluation of Harris years ago.
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