Letters: Giuliani's Loyalty to an Accused Priest

June 22, 2007

[See the article to which these letters refer.]


What is most disturbing about this report is not the fact of abuse, nor the utter failure of Guiliani to empathize with the victims of abuse, but the total failure on his part and on his friend's part to recognize the importance of a distance between the Church and society. This priest is not apart from society, a shepard of souls, but a player in the civil society he is supposed to be providing some judgment and perspective upon. he isn't an activist, protesting the immrialities of power, but a corrupt power player. The Catholic Church is authoritarian in character, which is simply its history. Modernity meant, as Max Weber discussed at length in his major work Economy and Society, that theocratic authority was to be divorced from political authority. In the US, that difference was well in the minds of the enlightened founders, many of whom were merely deist, and almost all of whom were suspicious of the Catholic Church. This article isn't so much about loyalty as it is about faith and its viscissitudes, the terrible blindness of blind faith, and the corruption of the souls of those who seek to judge all of us. It frightens me that this man is a serious candidate for president.

-- thomas dumm

Thursday, June 21, 2007 07:15 PM

How interesting.

If Guiliani seeks the presidency and succeeds, perhaps he can make Alan Placa Attorney General since Placa has a law degree. In that position, Placa could make Mark Foley, who chaired the House caucus on missing and exploited children, look like an a good guy. If you will recall Foley was the House Republican who sent suggestive emails to house pages.

Placa, in that position, could certainly sweep a lot of stuff under the rug. Maybe Guiliani understands that, if you have someone by the balls, it is even easier to extract loyalty.

-- AKA Smith

Thursday, June 21, 2007 08:15 PM

The Church

It sickens me to see the way the Catholic Church has turned a blind eye to all of the abuse and subsequent coverup by it's priests, bishops, etc.

Although baptised Catholic, I will not set foot in a Catholic Church again, and have explained to my children that the Church does not treat children well, and that that is why I am against it.

-- Parson Jim

Thursday, June 21, 2007 11:40 PM

An authoritarian with poor moral judgment

Wrong combination for leading a democracy!!!


Friday, June 22, 2007 12:52 AM

Vatican Harbors Pedophiles!

The Catholic Church has been blatant in their cover up of priestly child abuse. There are currently six priest taking refuge in the Vatican to avoid extradition to the U.S. on charges of child molestation.

Instead of hearing about candidates covering for these collared pedophiles it would be nice to see a candidate promise to propose legislation to revoke the tax-exempt status of any religious institution that aids and abets these monsters. Furthermore they should promise to withdraw the U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican (yes, we have one) until they become more forthright and transparent on the prosecution of these child abusers.

-- Chad Bagley

Friday, June 22, 2007 01:59 AM

Nothin' To See Here, Folks; Move Along...

So...Rudy Giuliani is loyal to his pals to the detriment of the law, ethics and morality? What else is new?

Giuliani is a "politician"...having all the worst attributes of that label: he wants to win at all costs, he cares little for the legalities of a situation and his ethics/morals come second..or a distant simply doing the right thing.

As for his friendship with Alan Placa...along with his "cafeteria Catholic" religious reinforces the reality that Giuliani is a wheeler-dealer who plays fast and loose with the truth. We already have one of those as President.

Giuliani is simply George W. Bush with a lisp.

-- AnaHadWolves

Friday, June 22, 2007 02:34 AM

msgr. alan placa

For 18 years, I've been the director of the nation's largest support group for clergy molestation victims.

I can safely say that in our experience, Msgr. Alan Placa is one of the most cunning and manipulative predator priests we have ever come across.

Guiliani's continued association with him is stunningly callous and reckless.

David Clohessy

National Director, SNAP

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

7234 Arsenal Street

St. Louis MO 63143

314 566 9790 cell, 314 645 5915

-- david clohessy

Friday, June 22, 2007 06:09 AM

This is what male Friends of Scum always always say.....

....not just this particular shining example, but in general, when a man does something vile, (rape, kill, maim, embezzle, molest, rob, dismember), his bestest male friends, being asked how they feel about their bud being accused, always, always blurt out the following sentence:

"I never saw him do any of that stuff around ME!"


Friday, June 22, 2007 06:24 AM

I don't know....

I have a problem with a story that is based on accusations and innuendo. I am sure that those investigating the sexual abuse are doing so in the best manner that they can; and certainly Richard Tollner's comment cannot be dismissed (he alleges that he was molested by Placa in the 1970s). However, this case has not gone to trial and there is the standard of innocent until proven guilty.

The lack of hard evidence--or an indictment and conviction (the only proof in the eyes of the law that Placa is guilty of these accusations)--made me feel really uneasy while reading "Giuliani's loyalty to an accused priest".

-- keiran

Friday, June 22, 2007 06:27 AM

the politics of personal destruction

I am all with Chris W on this one.

I am quite concerned that Rudy Giuliani might be elected president. I don't think he is fit for the office. But this piece on his loyalty is not the reason for it.

Yes, the Catholic church failed miserably on the pedophily in its ranks, and its face-saving antiques are nauseating.

Yes, convicted child abusers should be punished.

Yes, we might be in denial on our friends' behavior.

But: It was right for Giuliani to distance himself politically from his pal Kerik, because he quite obviously was and is not fit for political office.

But: Giuliani is not helping Mr. Placa to get a political office. He is employing him which in this day and age is the basis for a life.

But: Even if there are strong indications that Priest F was and is terribly faulted, it is for some reason liberals defend the rock-bed principles of a state of law: innocent until proven guilty! Are we to forget these principles just because it is handy to smear Giuliani?

But: If red-headed Republicans were to argue that a convicted felon has to be shunned for the rest of his life - even by his friends - I would prove their professed christianity bogus. If I read my bible right, Jesus connected particularly to the down-trodden and sinners - and I don't remember that there was a red line for certain types of sin. What are friends for if not for the rainy days? And ever heard of resocialization?

Let us assume for a moment, I were accused of such outrages. Would you really expect my friends to sever all ties to me until I were proven innocent? How would YOU feel about YOUR friends if they were doing that?

Quite contrary to the general tone of the article, I find this instance of Giuliani's loyalty to speak in his favor. (But certainly not enough to vote for him.)

-- AugoKnoke

Friday, June 22, 2007 06:28 AM

The real issue

I think the real issue here isn't whether or not Paca molested students at the Academy. That can't be proven. It's that the Catholic Church put someone in charge of investigating abuse who was himself accused of the very same crime. Even if he didn't do it, how can you expect someone whose been accused to be impartial towards the "victims" or the "perpetrators."

Or maybe they didn't "know" for sure. Or they though he'd be sympathetic to the priests.

-- stackey-ackey

Friday, June 22, 2007 07:25 AM

Birds of a Feather, Flock Together

It comes as no surprise Giulianus Caesar has to surround himself with low-crawlers, as no one with a lick of honor would have anything to do with this sleazy creep. Like Bush before him, we can expect Giuliani to hand-pick a winning team of bottom-feeders devoid of any morals or ethics, and interested solely in power, ideology and self-gratification. Sounds like this priest would make a good Minister of Public Morals in the new Giuliani regime.

For people who think this is all ad hominem and why are we not offering specific criticisms of Giuliani, all you need to know about him is that he wants to nuke Iran. That's enough, right there, to inform any civilized person of this man's character.

But what does it say about our character, as a nation, that this sociopath can even get his name on the ballot, let alone be the leading Republican contender for president? "America's Mayor?" Give me a freakin' break. This man wants to be America's Duce. He is Bush with a brain, and a soul twice as rotten.

-- Sean2006

Friday, June 22, 2007 07:30 AM

Loyalty and the NY Times

Yesterday an article appeared in the NY Times citing Rudy's loyalty to the husband of a long -time associate. Funny the article did not cite to this example. Somehow if Patrick Healy was writing such an article about Hillary, I think he would have been more likely to choose a Father Placa to focus his analysis of this character trait.

-- hawk04

Friday, June 22, 2007 07:31 AM

Where is the fucking outrage?

The. Man. Is. Paying. A. Boy. Raper. As. He. Runs. For. President.

Did anyone read the same article that I did??


Friday, June 22, 2007 07:38 AM

Innocent because of statute of limitations?

Of course everyone has a right to a trial and is innocent until proven guilty. Any priest has the right to the same.

But whatever his own guilt or innocence on molestation, the fact that he was one of the guys who handled "investigations" of these cases for the church is enough to qualify him as lowest of the low. His main job was to cover up and/or run out the statute of limitations, so that no fair trial could ever be held. I believe there is a circle of hell reserved for these men.

If you have any doubt about how the church deals with these matters, I refer you to the grand jury report from Philadelphia (

Different city, but most likely the same tactics. This report thoroughly documents how the church covered up priest "misconduct" for years, at the expense of those they were supposed to "shepherd." Cardinal Bevilacqua, in charge for part of the time covered in the report, was, like Placa, an attorney, who would have had no difficulty understanding the law involved.

I challenge anyone who defends these priests to read this report and see if your eyes are not opened to the grotesque corruption that has been allowed to flourish in the Church.

Almost as bad are the silence and cowardice the rest of priests display. Until the priests themselves stand up and cast out the evil from within, it will continue. Men like Placa embody all that is sick in the institution of the RC church, whether he personally touched a child or not.

Read the report. You might also want to check out Vows of Silence by Jason Berry (


Friday, June 22, 2007 07:43 AM


Perhaps it is an over-rated virtue. Bush's extreme loyalty has brought us Rove and Gonzales.

Guiliani could maintain his loyalty to his lifelong friends without hiring them and promoting them for prominent positions. Loyalty should ideally be combined with good judgment.


Friday, June 22, 2007 07:51 AM

If anything, this article should make readers aware of

the need to extend the statute of limitations for crimes such as child molestation. As the law is now, the victims do not get their day in court simply because they are minors. In a sense, they are raped twice, first by their abusers and then by the system.

Parents, who often seek only to protect their children, do not always report the abuse. It is natural that Catholics who have been taught to trust the church would report abuse to the church rather than to the police. Part of the reason is the shame surrounding the abuse and with being uncomfortable with what they wrongly think is an issue involving homosexuality.

These pedophiles are not necessarily or even often homosexuals. However, much of the general public is quite uneducated about this fact. Doesn't it strike anyone as odd that the Catholic Church is harsher to homosexuals than it is to child predators?

In any case, states should extend the statute of limitations on child molestation so that those victims whose interests were not served by the Church or the judicial system may at last have their day in court.

Also, I was a little nonplused by an earlier poster who seemed to think that the rape of a young child must necessarily be more horrendous than the ongoing abuse of an older child. The trauma of sexual abuse is not merely physical. The psychological trauma often lasts much longer. Children who are abused by people whom they would normally be able to trust -- such as parents, stepparents, teachers, and religious leaders -- struggle all their lives with the emotional damage and with issues of trust.

As to Guiliani, I have to say that even if he believes in his old friend's innocence, the fact that he employs someone of such a dubious background calls into question his judgment in matters of public trust.

-- AKA Smith

Friday, June 22, 2007 08:42 AM

ah yes, pedophiles

Remember back before 9/11/2001. Before we were told to be afraid of terrorists. Back when we had democrats in power. We were supposed to be afraid of pedophiles and sex offenders. Its the democrat version of "Get your fear on!"

So, we'd better get used to it. Our civil liberties will be eroded to protect the children. It is the excuse clinton used to push COPA and sneak-and-peak search warrants.

Same fear, same erosion of liberties, different bad guys.

-- Tyler_Mason

Friday, June 22, 2007 08:48 AM

Having Cover

This story about Guiliani is disturbing on many levels. But mostly I am concerned about the cover Guiliani's position offers Alan Placa. One of the facts that is not discussed often about the sexual abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Church is that Catholic priest perpetrators have more victims than perpetrators in the general public. Some people believe that this is could be because the priests have had cover. By this I mean, even when their actions were discovered, most often, they were not turned over to legal authorities, and their actions were covered up through secret payouts or powerful intimidation . Having finally lost his cover by his diocese, Placa simply found another powerful, enabler in his good friend, Guiliani.

-- Mary Pitcher

Friday, June 22, 2007 08:49 AM

The Bishops and priests are following official Vatican guidelines when they cover up abuse

I fully support an unbiased, open investigation into whether or not Placa is guilty of molestation. It is paramount to all cases of ANY abuse to know about a dirty little Vatican document called "Criminales Solicitaciones".

It is a document written in **1962** (the date's significance will be shortly evident), by the Vatican press, and mailed to every bishop in the world.

It is a policy paper that specifically orders all bishops to COVER UP FOR ACCUSED PRIESTS AND SHIELD THEM FROM ANY POLICE INQUIRIES. It goes on to order bishops to conduct their own investigation in secret, and create what they call a "secret archive" to be sealed "ad infinitum". It goes further, and says that should any priest or bishop break this silence, that clergyman would be AUTOMATICALLY EXCOMMUNICATED, "ipso jure" ("this, itself, is the law"). Also, bishops are directed to "attempt to swear victims to secrecy when possible".

...such high moral character, huh?

This was OFFICIAL Church policy starting in 1962! This is a real document, which has been used many times to garner settlement from almost all abuse cases since 2002, my own lawsuit included.

you can read if for yourself at:,6903,1020400,00.html

(copy and paste)

Yes, Placa does deserve a fair investigation, but he's coming from an extremely sick and evil organization, one which actively and cynically both covered up pedophiles out one side of their mouths, and out the other, condemned the victims as "crazy" or "greedy" or "just angry at God".

you wouldn't trust a mobster with your money, would you? even though a particular mobster you know might not have personally stolen anything from you, you know that mobsters are untrustworthy by nature.

Similarly, I wouldn't trust a priest with my kids, or for anything, really. Even though a particular priest may not have molested anyone himself, chances are he's covered up for a molester, making him an accomplice.

Moral arbiters, my foot.

-- joemama

Friday, June 22, 2007 10:16 AM

"You hang around even after the bloom leaves the rose."

Not if you have any sense.

Pedophilia in a friend is not the loss of bloom. It is root rot, canker, and mildew all at once. In my opinion, anyone who valued their children would ditch the pedophile friend at once.

Considering the case at hand, it is sufficient that the Placa acted on behalf of the church to cover up crimes against children of sexual nature. Others have pointed to graver accusations against him. The fact that the statute of limitations has run out does not make Placa innocent.

Now I know that people will respond to my last argument by saying that we should consider him innocent since he has never been proven guilty. What naive nonsense! It is only triers of fact such as judges and juries who must consider the accused to be innocent until proven guilty. The general public need have no such compunction. They can consider him guilty. They can consider him innocent. They can hire him to babysit their children. However, I wouldn't hire him to babysit mine.

-- AKA Smith

Friday, June 22, 2007 10:39 AM

" 'attempt to swear victims to secrecy when possible' "

Anyone familiar with the mechanisms of child sexual abuse understands that swearing victims to secrecy is part of the abuse itself. It is part of what continues to plague victims in their struggle to come to terms with what has happened to them. Silencing victims is a form of abuse. Victims can only become re-empowered by being allowed to exercise their own choices about silence and speaking out.

I did not know that silence imposed upon victims was part of the official policy of the Catholic Church. Thank you for informing me.

-- AKA Smith

Chris W

Have you read this?

Grand jury report from Philadelphia DA's office investigating sex abuse in the Phila. archdiocese:

What is your opinion of the church's handling of these cases after reading it?


Friday, June 22, 2007 11:02 AM

@AKA Smith

No, pedophilia is a disease.

How many times have your heard that sexual preference is not a choice? In the case of pedophilia, the preference is also a disease.

I'm sorry. I can't abandon a friend for having a horrible and incurable disease. It would be convenient, but I can't.

-- Tyler_Mason

Friday, June 22, 2007 11:12 AM

Athiest plot exposed!

Wow, who let that Catholic get on our e-mail list?! You are totally right Mr. Chris W, the last twenty years of well-documented lawsuits against the Catholic church for aiding and abetting pedophile priests was actually a carefully orchestrated scam by us athiests because we hate your freedom. I can't believe you found us out! Damn, after you guys we were going to go after the Hindus (I hear Vishnu has busy hands). Seriously though, it never ceases to amaze me that people can divorce themselves so dramatically from the "reality-based world" when it suits their purposes. As a victim of (non-Catholic) childhood sexual abuse, I'd like to extend a hearty up yours to you, pal.


Friday, June 22, 2007 11:14 AM

Misuse of a grand jury

This article is pretty appalling, bordering on a hit piece.

Grand juries don't mean much at all - they are like Kabuki theater, stage-managed by prosecutors in every respect. There is no cross examination. Prosecutors have complete control over what evidence the grand jury sees or doesn't see.

So what we have hear is a grand jury "statement" of some kind, not an indictment that would have some legal force. Mr. Placa has no way to contest this - there will never be a trial.

Maybe he did harm the one victim quoted in the article. But maybe he didn't - that's why our legal system has these things called "trials" where citizens hear evidence and make judgments.

-- Bill M.

Friday, June 22, 2007 11:19 AM

surprise - "vatican document thing" completly misrepresented

It doesn't really surprise me.

This vatican document cited a few letters before just does not say what is claimed. It describes a specific (and quite appropriate) process to deal wth allegatiions of misconduct (no restriced to abuse) in e very specific cointext: the confessional, where the victim have an absolute and unassailable expectation of completely unlimited privacy.

This process details a way to deal with such accusations while maintaining that privacy. And -to address AKS Sniths's unsubstanciated concern - the document expressedly exempts the victim from any sanctions for breaching that secrecy him- or herself.

So - no big deal. Nothing to see here. Just some manufactured outrage by a slimy Texan lawyer trying to increase the sum he can legally extort from the church (and thus, the poor).

And a gullible newspaper that should (and usually does, one should add) know better than to publish such rubbish unverfied.

-- Chris W

Friday, June 22, 2007 11:24 AM


I'm sorry that Salon isn't the echo chamber you crave.


Friday, June 22, 2007 11:28 AM

No trial because of the church

"Mr. Placa has no way to contest this - there will never be a trial. Maybe he did harm the one victim quoted in the article. But maybe he didn't - that's why our legal system has these things called "trials" where citizens hear evidence and make judgments.

There are so few trials on these cases because the church has worked very hard to deliberately subvert them and to run out the statute of limitations. I don't see priests calling for trials to clear their names.


Friday, June 22, 2007 11:38 AM


So you're saying that, since it is a moral issue then priests should clear their names by requesting a trial to prove they've met a moral standard?

can you recommend a court that will hear the case?


Friday, June 22, 2007 01:05 PM

They could have chosen another course

I am saying that the Church worked very deliberately to avoid having trials. I would be happy for them to receive trials, and for those who are innocent to be cleared.

By covering up, stalling past the point at which they could be charged, and refusing to accept real responsibility, they have tarnished the reputation of all of the church, not just a few bad eggs. They have played into and affirmed many peoples' worst opinions and biases. Had they acted morally from the start, they would not be in the discredited state they are in today. How some of those men in the leadership sleep at night, I do not know.


Friday, June 22, 2007 01:59 PM

"right and wrong might enter into the matter"

Hi Anonymous,

If the priest is a pedophile, then right or wrong is more like something put on and off like clothing. Most pedophiles have strong narcissitic and sociopathic elements to their personalities. That is why they can sexually abuse children in the first place. Don't you think that a person of conscience would find a way to control such nasty behavior?

To shift the conversation a bit, I was very interested in what Glenn Greenwald had to say about dualism, the notion that there must be good to combat evil. If there is a God then there must be a devil. I have known some truly evil people. I have known some pedophiles. What I have most come away with from my experience is that human behavior is complex indeed. It is not that sociopathic people have no concept of good. They do. They could hardly miss it because concepts of good and evil are so much a part of any civilized society. What sociopaths do is make the concepts of good and evil self-serving. Most pedophiles characterize what they do to children as love and not as exploitation.

Our current administration has decided that a higher purpose -- defeating terrorists -- justifies a reordering of priorities. To fight terrorists, we must set aside certain constitutional rights. The Catholic Church clearly decided that the church itself, its money, reputation, and its priests, should come before the welfare of the children who were molested.

To me, that sort of thinking inevitably, sooner if not later, leads to the violation of people's rights. In this case, the people just happen to be children who are not well-positioned to defend themselves.

Therefore, if a priest is a pedophile, he will not in the first place be concerned with the welfare of children. He will first be concerned with his own needs and his own reputation. Serving his needs requires sex with children. Protecting his reputation requires secrecy. Almost all pedophiles use threats or bribes to enforce secrecy. The church, buy extension, carries out the pedophile mission when it seeks to get victims or the parents of victims to agree to keep the abuse secret. Protecting the church's wealth and the church's reputation is secondary to the needs of victims.

When like-minded people decide to protect each other, then you have something even more sinister going on. I have been telling people for years that pedophiles are organized.

Think about it.

-- AKA Smith

Friday, June 22, 2007 02:16 PM


I think most of us would agree that the pedophiles are not deeply connected to a sense of right and wrong, or as you say, put it on or off or turn it to their own ends.

But I am really talking about the priests, like Cardinal Bevilacqua in Phila., who handled or oversaw the handling of the complaints. Foolishly, it seems, I expect the church leadership to act morally, whatever the civil law. (I believe they have pledged their lives to this very idea, haven't they?)These men not only told people not to say anything, they lied to the complainants and said things had been done when they hadn't, that complaints had been investigated when they hadn't. They moved repeat offenders from parish to parish to parish, with little or no warning to the parish about who was landing in their midst. They stashed them in archdiocesan mental health facilities, and then absolved themselves of responsibility with a note from the psychiatrist. Read the report. Their behavior was truly craven.

They are part and parcel of the pedophilia, as you say, and in my book they are worse in many respects.

What the pedophiles themselves did was truly horrible. And if some are falsely accused, that is awful as well. But what really made me sick upon reading the DA's report was what the leadership did.


Friday, June 22, 2007 02:28 PM

AKA Smith's guantanamo fantasies

Now that was a telling letter. Pedophilia, we read, is not a disease. It's is a "behavior". Now what, pray tell, is a behavior ?

For Smith, it's just a new word. Because, as we read before, she considers them "rotten to the root". If it was just a behavior in the conventional sense, it was something that could be changed. People change habits all the time. But Smith - and with her substantial part of contemporary America - do not think that such behavior, actually, can be changed. And of course she rejects the notion of "disease", because then she would have to treat them with compassion. So, as Mr Bush did when he invented "unlawful Combatants", she invents a new category as a device to deny the objects of her scorn compassion as well as autonomy - both core elements of humanity. In her world view, a pedophile is not only unable to choose his path, but also unworthy of human empathy.

"Rotten to the root", indeed.

Dehumanizing an enemy is always the first step to killing him. When will you start organizing hanging parties, Ms Smith ? Or will you only - being the lawful citizen you are - advocate euthanizing them ?

-- Chris W

Friday, June 22, 2007 02:44 PM

priests abusing kids and covering-up

isn't this the rule rather than the exception?

what can one expect from such a antiquated authoritarian business that is run by an old ex-Wehrmacht macher?

remember what PRIEST stands for:







-- inedal

Friday, June 22, 2007 02:59 PM

@Anonymous - on that report

You asked me if I had read that philadelphia report. No, I haven't. I read parts, but the whole thing is some 400 pages.

What I've read is astonishing in two regards. First, it provides a plethora of insight into what was done and what went wrong in that diocese. Such reports aways make for a facinating reading.

But second, it is astonishing how much this DA saw only half of the picture - or choose to present such - and completely missed the boat in ternms of recommendations.

A few issues I noted: - the whole report is laced with incredulity about the amount of letters and suggestiosn the Bishop received without acting on or believing them. The context missing is that Bishops get a constant trickle of complaint letters about all of their priest, and have learnt over time to treat them sceptically. A good friend of mine - a parish priest in a small village in a border town, once told me that whenever he strays even an inch from what the public believes to be Vatican line in his Sunday sermon, his Bishop will know on Monday afternoon. The reason is - as called it - "letter writing old ladies" - people who frequent church and have enough time on their hand to report whenever someone doe something they disapprove of. And the jump from ratting out your priest for heresy and accusing him to have an awful eye for the ladies is less far than one might think. So anonymous allegations of sexual misconduct will undertandbably be eyed very sceptically, if not outright discarded.

As, one might add, as they should.

Another one is the face value assumption that the diocesan buerocracy is just some kind of well functioning machine. Usually they aren't, they are factioned, struggle of interest groups and alliances are common among priests and laymen, and it is usually about as efficient as any secular buerocracy. Sometimes less.

Then there is the lawsuit issue. The report is (as are many in this debate here) completely blind to the fact how much the threat of ruinous lawsuits contributed to the mishandling problem in the first place. The issue is mentioned in a few places, but the obvious conclusions - an effective shield against such lawsuits - are never draw. To the contrary, the report actually suggests to make lawsuits easier and increase damage sums. The blind American faith in the almighty power of the greedy lawyer and the dream of getting rich quick by lawsuit are at their worst here. There are places in the world where such lawsuits are basically impossible, and they don't have that kind of problem. There have been a few cases of pedophile priests over the years, but they are dealt with promptly and comparatively eficient.

This, of course, is because doing the right thing is not harshly penalized there - you can just talk to the victims and seek an appropriate solution without fearing to bankrupt your diocese tomorrow.

-- Chris W

Friday, June 22, 2007 03:22 PM

Giuliani: a true authoritarian

Giuliani's staunch defense of his childhood friend who not only raped boys but also engineered a mass raping of children is not remotely surprising in that he has always been profoundly loyal to authoritarianism. The Catholic Church operated a child rape operation and justified it by hiding and exploiting the power of religion. Giuliani stands by his child rapist of a friend not because he doesn't believe the allegations are true, but because he doesn't give a damn about the lives destroyed in the priest's wake.

Giuliani used the same callous justification in supporting President Bush in 2004, well after Guantanamo, the invasion of Iraq proved to be a godforsaken mess, and the Abu Ghraib scandal broke. The Bush administration exploited not only the power of religion but also political power to unleash the War on Terror and to shred our Constitution. Giuliani hides behind the cloak of Might is Right and horrifying consequences for the masses be damned.

-- Xavier

Friday, June 22, 2007 04:36 PM

Anonymous, I did skim the report.

I especially liked this part:

"A nun who complained about a priest who was still ministering to children even after he was convicted of receiving child pornography was fired from her position as director of religious education."

Since I used to be a religious education director, I could sympathize. I am not Catholic however. At my own church I was criticized because I "graduated" a 19 year old boy who was showing an inappropriate interest in a 12 year old girl to the adult program. I decided that he did not need to be a youth advisor.

What is really amazing is that, once you know what to look for, these people can be pretty obvious because they are so relentless. This also makes them difficult to treat. On the outside (out of prison) they are supposed to stay away from children, but they will find a way to be near children every time. Tell them that they cannot look at sexual depictions of children and they will find a way to do break this rule. They are really great at ingratiating themselves with families who have children who are the age of their primary sexual interest.

In other words, if they like eight year old girls, then they will attach themselves to a family that has eight year old girls, or to employment that puts them near eight year old girls.

I also was interested in what the report had to say about running out of places to put some pedophile priests. I think prison would be an excellent place. The law requires that people with certain positions of authority -- teaching, childcare, counseling are required to report when they have knowledge of sexual abuse of children. Don't religious authorities have to adhere to the same requirements?

-- AKA Smith

Friday, June 22, 2007 04:47 PM

How Many People's Buttons Have Been Pushed!!

Fellow readers-

The responses support my original point. So many people writing in have referred to Msgr. Placa as a "pedophile!" As other writers have pointed out, a grand jury investigation is organized by a district attorney. It is not a trial, and the accused has no recourse for self-defense. Msgr. Placa was not ever CHARGED with a crime, despite the grand jury "investigation." Readers have reffered in their responses to the abuses of the Catholic Church, to its manipulation of the law and the media and its members. All of this may very well be true. But it has absolutely nothing to do with Msgr. Placa's legal right to the assumption of innocence until proven guilty. It is exactly this sort of personally outraged reaction that the sort of sleazy innuendo-based journalism used in this article hopes to arouse. It is a technique our current Republican government constantly employs in manipulating the public. Good golly, people! Your feelings -even your convictions- are not proven factual truths. The law, and democratic government, can proceed on no other principle but factual truth. If we forget this, we're going to have concentration camps in this country in short order, and into them we will put everyone we disagree with, have suspicions about, or fear -without trial, without recourse to defense, and with nothing that we can call democratic justice. We will say only that they are criminals because we believe they are, based on our magical inner radar. Sound familiar? Do examples of such "camps" and suspension of civil liberties come to mind? Think about it! And use your brains instead of just your feelings!


Friday, June 22, 2007 04:48 PM

Other anonymous

You refer to Placa's right to be assumed innocent until a trial proves he is or isn't. But if the church has maneuvered so that no trial can take place, what kind of justice is that? Where does that leave us?

I do not know anything about Msgr. Placa, let alone his guilt or innocence of pedophilia. But abuses in this area by the Church in multiple cities are very well documented, and Placa apparently ran one of these offices that handled complaints. If he handled them the way the others did, then he is guilty at least of cover up.

The RC church is a top-down organization, to say the least, and it is a pretty safe bet that no diocese, especially one as large as NY, is out doing its own thing. He most likely took the same kinds of steps the others did.

Clearly, thanks to the actions of the church, these matters cannot be litigated, and many of these priests will be neither held to account nor cleared. So we are left to make our best judgment. In this case, speaking only of the cover up aspect, which is heinous enough, if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck...


Friday, June 22, 2007 04:58 PM

"Msgr. Placa's legal right to the assumption of innocence until proven guilty."

The right to the assumption of innocence exists for people being tried in a court of law. Placa has no record of conviction. However, that does not mean that people cannot hold opinions about him. It also does not mean that people may not infer opinions about Guiliani based upon his friendship with Placa and the annulment which Placa facilitated.

When we can no longer hold opinions about people and when we cannot express those opinions is when we are really in danger. This hysterical emotionalism about "camps" for people we disagree with is nonsense. It's only purpose is to stifle free expression.

It is my opinion that priests and church authorities who covered up for pedophile priests were complicit in child sexual abuse because without such cover fewer children would have been molested.

As to Guiliani, before I ever read this article, I did not like him. I have long been of the opinion that he is a narcissistic authoritarian who is no friend of constitutional rights. Having him as president would be worse than keeping Bush in office. My nightmare ticket includes Guiliani or Liberman. I would have McCain. At least he has some ethics.

-- AKA Smith

Friday, June 22, 2007 05:22 PM

Under the constitution, you have to PROVE it's a duck

Dear other other anonymous-

No. Everything you say is speculation. It is possible that you are right, but in this country we don't condemn people on possibilities. You are engaging in exactly the sort of thinking I described: "Well, I believe my position is morally correct, I can't really prove anything, but I certainly think child abuse is bad, and IF THIS GUY did it, he is a bad person, so I'll go ahead and say he is a bad person. And the Church has tried to cover this stuff up, and IF he was part of that, then I can ASSUME he behaved without personal integrity, even though it is possible that he was an exception to what I believe is the rule. I have a lot of information about cases that seem similar to this, even though I can't directly relate that information to this case because I have no FACTS about this case. But, by association, and because it satisfies my inner urge to feel that justice has been done (even though there has been no just process here) I feel that I can safely assume this guy is an evil pedophile and condemn him without trial or any concrete evidence. And I can condemn Giuliani for abetting this unproven behavior." Imagine for a moment that YOU were falsely accused of sexual harrasment at work. You would want people to assume your innocence, wouldn't you? And what if they didn't? What if they said, "Well, where there's smoke, there's fire?" And what if people who just didn't like you USED the accusations against you and began to build upon them? You think it doesn't happen? Think again. Everyone is innocent until proven guilty, and when we lose sight of that, we are heading right back to the Salem witch trials. And it could mean the end of democracy as we have liked to imagine we know it. Sorry, can't agree with you. And please consider the above scenario seriously.


Friday, June 22, 2007 05:35 PM

"Assumption of innocence"

AKA Smith -

The assumption of innocence is a constitutional right, not just a judicial policy. You can express any opinion you want, which is also a constiturional right, and no one is saying you shouldn't. I can also disagree with you vehemently, and that is NOT an impingement on your freedom of expression. I have as much right to express my opinions as you have to express yours, although you seem to disagree by saying that I am trying to stop YOUR right to free expression. One thing you should consider: any opinion you express is also covered by laws concerning slander and libel. If someone expresses an opinion about another person that is not legally proven to be true, the accused has legal recourse. Yes, I know, you will now say, "Then why doesn't Placa use that recourse, and doesn't that PROVE his guilt?" Perhaps he will use that recourse: that is an expensive. lengthy, and exhausting process. The concept of freedom of speech does not guarantee freedom of irresponsible public conjecture, and there is a difference between expressing an opinion for public consideration and trying to USE that opinion as fact to generate action. Again, look at the Duke case and the "facts" stated publically by the District Attorney. They certainly felt good and right to a lot of people. And they were totally wrong and only caused destruction.

-- theseus

Friday, June 22, 2007 05:49 PM

Interesting Sidenote

The boys attended Bishop Loughlin High School in Brooklyn together, where Giuliani, Placa and Peter Powers, later to become chief aide to Giuliani during his first term as mayor of New York City, were in an opera club together...... Giuliani, Powers and Placa later attended Manhattan College together and were fraternity brothers at Phi Rho Pi.

NEW YORK, NY, February 11, 2003 The Fox Entertainment Group (NYSE: FOX) today announced that Peter J. Powers, President and Chief Executive Officer of Powers Global Strategies LLC, has been elected to the Company's Board of Directors. Mr. Powers, a former First Deputy Mayor of the City of New York, has also been appointed to the Company's Audit Committee.

Announcing Mr. Powers' election to the Board, Rupert Murdoch, Fox Entertainment Group's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, said: "Peter's creative energy, strategic expertise and veteran knowledge of corporate finance will be as valuable to Fox as they have been to city governments and businesses for more than three decades. We look forward to having Peter's counsel as we continue to build the strength of our Fox brand and operations.".........

Mr. Powers, 58, currently serves on the Board of Directors of NDS Group plc, as Chairman of that company's Remuneration Committee and as a member of its Audit Committee. In addition, he is a member of the Boards of Directors of the Partnership for New York City, the Association for a Better New York, the Central Park Conservancy, City Center, Safe Horizon and NYC & Co. Mr. Powers is also a member of the Board of Trustees of Manhattan College and of the Advisory Board of the School of Public Affairs at Baruch College of the City of New York. During his career, Mr. Powers has served as an outside director on the audit, independent evaluation and investigatory committees of various publicly and privately held companies.

No big surprise there to those of us who are New Yorkers. Giuliani has gotten more than one payback from Murdoch for having threatened Time Warner Cable with revocation of its license while he was mayor of NYC, when Time Warner initially declined to carry Fox News in New York. Since they were already carrying CNN, MSNBC, CNBC and NY1 24 hour news channels, Time Warner said they didn't have room for it. No fear, Rudy got his way, eventually. And quite a few FOR (Friends of Rudy) got some Fox baksheesh, including Pete Snyder the CEO of New Media Strategies, a "former political media consultant and a pollster to New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani" who coincidentally had Time Warner AOL as a client of his New Media Strategies organization. Pete Snyder "regularly appears as a commentator on the Fox News Channel and has served as a marketing and political expert on CNBC, The News with Brian Williams, the CBS Evening News with Dan Rather, Fox News Channel's Your World with Neil Cavuto, Hannity and Colmes and Fox and Friends."

It's good to be Rudy's friend, no?


Friday, June 22, 2007 05:55 PM

Other anonymous

There is more than smoke. The church itself has placed Placa on extended leave. That is not exactly a vote of confidence. In fact, it is almost as close as they get to a condemnation.

By contrast, the guy here in Phila who ran these investigations is now sitting pretty as head of a local parish. Many parishioners are disgusted by him (due in part to more of those mealy-mouthed pseudo apologies), but he is not on leave, but in a plum position.

Also, as I tried to make clear before, but may have failed, I do not say Placa personally molested children. I do not know enough about him and the accusations to venture an opinion, and I of course agree that he is entitled to a trial to clear his name. (Oh, except he has helped see to it that he can't be tried.) Rather, I accuse him of covering up these scnadals, and I view that action as at least as bad. (Conveniently for them, no one will ever be tried for that either.)


Friday, June 22, 2007 05:55 PM

To theseus:

Do you believe Richard Tollner has a right to express his opinion?

-- AKA Smith

Friday, June 22, 2007 06:30 PM

To theseus:

So if I were to say that I believed OJ killed his wife just what law would I be breaking? What would I be charged with and under which statute would I be prosecuted?

By the way, are you aware that the presumption of innocence is not even explicit in the constitution? Go ahead. Do the research. I suggest you use Google and begin with the line "What isn't in the Constitution." You might be surprised.

I am not saying that for legal purposes that there shouldn't be a presumption of innocence. I am merely saying that that presumption does not mean that individuals give up their right to express a contrary opinion.

If a woman is raped by someone she knows well -- let us say her next door neighbor -- but because she used to be a hooker, the jury finds her testimony not plausible, does that mean that she can never again assert that she was raped? Must she forever remain silent about the injustice done to her?

-- AKA Smith

Friday, June 22, 2007 07:09 PM

Another who worships loyalty

Mr. Giuliani presents a frightening prospect as he runs for the Republican nomination for the presidency. He wants to follow into that office another man who values loyalty above all else. President Bush's emphasis on personal loyalty and his unwillingness to replace those who exhibit loyalty has provided incompetence aplenty.

We can view the Justice Department (Harriet Miers and Alberto Gonzales), the Department of Defense (Paul Wolfowitz and Doug Feith), and FEMA ("Brownie") as examples of the perils of incompetence in loyal supporters. Let's not elect another president with a similar viewpoint.

-- phal4875

Friday, June 22, 2007 08:08 PM

To other anonymous

I would like to know (seriously, not sarcastically) what you think of Placa and the other priests who are accused but can't be tried. It is all well and good to say they are innocent until proven guilty. Hard to argue with that. But in this case we cannot have that type of resolution, in part because of the accused's own actions.

So what would you have a person think? Is it really possible to have no opinion, indefinitely? To oversimplify, would you entrust your children to one of these priests? It might seem like a ridiculous question, but as the parent of an altar server, it sure crosses my mind when I drop him off at church.

As for the Duke case, I did some reading on that at the time, (I think it might have been Rolling Stone) and the reporter cast quite a bit of doubt on the case. It seemed highly likely from that report that the "victim" was at best very unreliable, and that while the lacrosse players may not have been paragons of virtue, it was quite possible they had not committed that or any other crime. You might have had to read more than one article, but it was possible to find out about the growing "case" against the prosecutor, so to speak. I have not come across any similar defenses for the bulk of these priests, or these dioceses.


Friday, June 22, 2007 08:13 PM

Expressing opinions

AKA Smith -

Yes, sure, Richard Tollner has a right to express his opinion, and he did. You have a right to express yours, and you did. What you don't have the right to do is to proceed with arguments that assume guilt, or to say that someone who disagrees with you is trying to silence your voice. Saying someone is trying to silence your voice these days is all too often a refuge for one's own attempts to silence other voices. Anne Coulter has become a master at this. You can say, "If this man is guilty, then....etc." but you are pushing the limits if you say, "There is every reason, based on associated evidence from other cases, to believe this man is guilty, and therefore, he should be .....whatever," or that, "even though the law assumes innocence until proven guilty, that should not prevent us from pursuing this man outside the mandated legal channels." There is a leap in thinking in both these examples that is prohibited by law. The same also applies in the O.J. Simpson case. He was found innocent. You can say you don't believe he was innocent. But you can't demand that something you wish to happen to him be done, because he is protected from your personal judgement by law. Perhaps there WAS an error in judgement by a jury of other Americans with rights equal to yours, who had access to all the evidence. You may say you disagree with them, but you are not privileged to say that YOUR personal opinion is more significant than that of those twelve other duly appointed citizens. Your individual points in your postings are not without support, but your arguments and logic are. You also seem to be a last word freak, so this will by last posting on this issue. Write whatever else you want. You're not hearing anything I have said, so wrap it up to your own satisfaction. I am glad you have such a clear and unshakeable view of reality, the world, and your own unerring judgement in making pronouncements about how all of it should proceed. It must be very comforting.

-- theseus

Friday, June 22, 2007 09:12 PM

To Other anonymous

There is plenty of contradictory information published about the abuse of children in the Catholic Church. Just look for it and you'll find it. As other writers have pointed out, there is a very simple process for a victim of abuse to seek redress: file a civil suit. Parents of victims are not restricted to seeking redress solely within the curch: the justice system is there to help, as it always was. That we now have cases surfacing years after the statute of limitations has expired may be tragic, but it would be unjust to assume that all "recollected" cases are true. Psychologists have shown that "recollections" of abuse are sometimes "reinterpretations" of experience, so it would be irresponsible to assume that ALL claims of recollecte abuse are true. This is a great, messy, difficult area, and I acknowledge that. But we must make every effort not to be unfair to anyone accused of such horrendous behavior, just as we must not be unfair to an individual who alleges that he/she was victimized. Some things do not resolve easily, and in our deisre to find clear and easy resolution, we must not relinquish our painful responsibility to justice for ALL. Civilization and decency are at stake here.


Friday, June 22, 2007 09:29 PM

about placa et al

How do I personally feel about them? I wish they were in jail and excommunicated. I wish the church was hammered even harder for the cover up. I wish the enablers had been thrown out of their positions with the church.

I'm still angry with the church about this. My family is still bothered that I openly support the people who locally attacked the church and shamed the priests.

I also am not willing to damn the possibly innocent because all those guilty as hell pieces of shit are still free. If we bend the law to get the guys who we want to get, then we damn ourselves.


Friday, June 22, 2007 09:45 PM

Thanks anonymous for answering

I do not at all advocate doing anything outside the law. (The one operating outside the law is the church.)

Anyway, interesting discussion. I would love to have an RC priest weigh in on this in a non-official, candid way. It seems to be one side of the story that is never heard publicly. Aren't they outraged?


Friday, June 22, 2007 10:09 PM

regarding loyalty

Loyalty is a good trait unless it lead to illegality or immorality. giuliani's loyalty to his friends should be an indicator that he will be loyal to his core values.

Sadly, his core values seem to include facism.

-- Tyler_Mason

Friday, June 22, 2007 10:12 PM

Giuliani's loyalty to an accused priest

The title of the article says it all, doesn't it? Doesn't it? If it don't, then all our souls are damned to hell, ain't they....


Friday, June 22, 2007 11:20 PM


Dear Editor, An Absolutely brilliant Investigative reporting on a person who is contesting for one of the TOP JOBS in the WORLD! I sincerely every single American gets to read this.

It is quite unbelievable that such a strong, developed country like United States of America have so MANY ERRING officials as their "HEROES"! Consistently, so many skeletons are coming out of the box, about so many HIGH RANKING Officials, that it is indeed quite frightening and depressing!

I actually feel very sad for the common American, who seems to have been manipulated and fooled on every single instance, for the past 7-10 years, wherein all such Jokers have come into power and abused it to the tee! Thanks to the President himself being so arrogant, rude and a born liar!

My SINCERE PLEA TO ALL AMERICANS : PLEASE LIFT YOURSELF ABOVE ALL PARTIES, CASTE, RELIGION AND CREED & APPRECIATE / ANALYSE WHAT IS HAPPENING AROUND YOU! If it continues, it will be a DISASTER for the country and the only people to be blamed would have to be each of you. The WORLD needs you too and it is indeed shocking that each of you are still allowing such ERRING BUREAUCRATS to RULE YOUR LIFE!!

May God bless US of A and the world!

Dinesh Bhaskar (India)

-- dineshbhaskar

Friday, June 22, 2007 11:52 PM

closing ranks

This story, which I've never told before, may serve to illuminate the way the Catholic church operates when faced with accusations of child sexual abuse. I'd like to tell someone since I am unhappy with my own role in events - if I could go back and do things over, I would.

In the late 80's, when I was in college, I dated a Catholic guy. I had never really known anyone Catholic before. His family were very active in their parish. My boyfriend's little brother attended afterschool activities at Boys' Town. One of the volunteers there was another guy in seminary, and also a close friend and neighbor of my boyfriend's family, who had grown up and gone to school with my boyfriend. I'll call the volunteer "Mike" and the little brother "Andy." Mike used to drive Andy, who was 11 if I remember correctly (in any case, pre-pubescent), home from Boys' Town, since it was all the way across town and Mike lived two doors down.

One day my boyfriend's mother came home from work early and walked into Andy's room. He and Mike both had their pants down. They had shocked expressions - Mike stammered some sort of medical excuse - and left the house quickly. She asked Andy what was going on, and he burst into tears and told her that Mike had been molesting him over a period of several months.

If the mother hadn't caught the two of them together, she would have thought her son was making it up. As it was, she was emotionally unable to grasp the idea that a young man who had grown up playing with her oldest son was molesting her younger son. So before telling anyone else, the mom took the boy to the family doctor - also a Catholic and a member of the parish, who frequently gave the family free care. The doctor examined the boy and found physical evidence indicative of repeated anal intercourse. So, mom told dad, dad called his grown son (my boyfriend) and that's when I heard about it.

What happened next was interesting. My boyfriend and I went over to his parents' house for a family meeting. The subject of the meeting was, not to put too fine a point on it, lynching Mike. My boyfriend's dad was in agony; he couldn't believe that for years he had trusted and befriended this young man, even invited him into his house to prey on his son. As far as he was concerned, the appropriate response was to load his pistol, walk to the neighbor's house, and shoot Mike. We tried to persuade him that this would be a bad idea, since he would be jailed for murder. At some point, his wife suggested that they should call their parish priest and talk to him for guidance. The call was made, the meeting adjourned.

I wasn't present for the meeting with the priest, but I learned what happened later from my boyfriend.

It wasn't one priest who showed up, but three - the bishop, the parish priest, and the retired priest of the parish (regarded within the community as practically a saint). In addition, several influential neighbors and members of the community came along. Basically, their message was this: if you don't want to be ostracized by everyone you've ever known and loved, you'll let this drop.

This family's entire life was based around the church. They had half a dozen kids because they didn't believe in birth control. They spent money on tithing when they barely had enough for the rent. Almost every person they knew - both professionally and socially - was a member of their parish. Their kids attended Catholic schools. Breaking with the church would have meant losing their entire network.

In addition, they were told that if they reported the abuse to the police, "Nothing will get done, and it will just hurt the reputation of Boys' Town." They were told that the church would deal with Mike.

The next time I saw my boyfriend's parents, they were completely different people. His father in particular - the experience just took the starch out of him. He was pretty much gutted, unable to maintain any level of self-respect after his own complicity in his child's abuse.

When I heard that my boyfriend's parents weren't going to do anything, I ranted and raved for a while, even suggested going to the police myself. My boyfriend told me that the police wouldn't be able to do anything as long as his parents weren't willing to cooperate, and I let it drop, which I greatly regret.

I broke up with my boyfriend shortly afterward. As far as I am aware, nothing happened to Mike. He continued to work at Boys' Town, and I heard that later he became a priest. He's probably molesting children today, but there's nothing I can do about it, since at the time I didn't know him by his last name, so I couldn't find him if I wanted to. The retired priest (who was the driving force behind the closing of ranks against the family) died a few years later and was given a write-up in the paper worthy of a saint. The bishop, on the other hand, has finally been indicted for child molesting and covering up for bad priests.

I'd like to mention that I've written a letter before about another incident involving a young man in seminary school who had a stash of child porn in his attic. That was a different young man - I encountered TWO pedophiles attending seminary during less than a year of dating a Catholic.

It seems to me, based on two experiences within such a short time, that either my city in particular was a hotbed of child molesters (which is possible, since a federally-indicted high-profile criminal was bishop here), or molestation must be so endemic in the Catholic community that practically every Catholic knows a bad priest.


Saturday, June 23, 2007 03:14 AM

I was an alter boy

Never was molested, never fended off any kind of pass, never even suspected that sort of thing went on.

Having said that, I'll say this. We are talking about a guy who made a career of covering for molesters and has been suspended from his priestly duties due to the grand jury testimony of his victims, one of whom has taken the extraordinarily courageous step of going public. A previous poster pointed out the unreliability of "recovered memories." I would agree with that, but there is absolutely no indication that that is what we are dealing with here. We can be reasonably confident that there was more than one victim because church authorities had access to the victim testimony before even the grand jury. It is unlikely in the extreme that this priest was suspended because he put his hand on one boy's leg. If I were on a jury, I'd have to have a lot more than logic and inference to convict this bastard and throw him in jail or even find him liable in a civil suit. But we know what the deal is - except for a few apologists who seem to be in complete denial.

There is a lot of smoke here; and Rudy knows there is an underlying fire - just as he did with Bernie Kerik. Imagine the uproar in the press if a Democratic presidential candidate was so closely associated with a such seamy cast of characters! "Innocent until proven guilty" is applicable if there is to be a trial. There is not, but this priest has been judged by his peers and suspended from his duties. They saw what we are denied - evidence of his guilt. So I have no problem convicting him in the court of public opinion and more at issue here, convicting Guiliani for his association with the creep.

-- UnEasyOne

Saturday, June 23, 2007 06:27 AM

Los Angeles archdiocese's spokesman lies

In the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, however, spokesman Todd Tamberg said that archdiocesan policy would prevent a priest on administrative leave for allegations of sexual abuse from being a "priest in residence. "If you've been put on administrative leave you not only are restricted from functioning as a priest or dressing as a priest but also from living on church property."

The spokesman is being disingenuous and is propagandizing in an attempt to cover up an ongoing case in Los Angeles.

Rev. Carl Sutphin was a seminary classmate of the now Cardinal of Los Angeles, Roger Mahony, and they have been close friends for decades. When Sutphin was accused by dozens of his victims, he fled to sanctuary in Archbishop Mahony's apartments and stayed there for two years, out of reach of the district attorny and police who were actively trying to question him. Mahony kept Sutphin in his own domicile, which is owned by the Church. So while Sutphin may not have been dressing or functioning as a priest, he was a publicly accused child molester and was living on Church property. He is still free to this day.


Saturday, June 23, 2007 02:45 PM

It kind of begs the question though about WHICH crimes you're willing to forgive.

I mean other than the politically polarizing point about whether a candidate smokes weed, it's still a crime or at least a violation in most places. Where I live simple possession of even one joint is punishable typically by up to 60 days in jail. In real terms that's converted to 12 months probation. So if a candidate gives a vague answer about recreational drug use do we forgive it? Or do we apply the Salon Giulliani rule for zero tolerance?

-- RealName

Sunday, June 24, 2007 10:41 AM

@ RealName

Use of recreational marijuana by adults when not in the presence of children only impacts the person using in terms of harmfulness as long as that person is not operating machinery (car) in the public sphere.

Therefore, that analogy is weak in my opinion. Suppose we had a president that smoked weed every evening much in the same way that others will have a glass of wine. This is no problem for me. Sure he/she sets a better example by obeying the law, but that is a private activity that exploits no one.

In fact, I don't care if the president, the vice president, and the entire cabinet smoke pot in moderation as long as they govern well. (I think it would Bush's VP Cheney some good!) Marijuana use is against the law because the government takes an interest in it and not because it is immoral in and of itself. The exploitation of children for sexual purposes is immoral. Covering up crimes of the exploitation of children for sexual purposes is immoral. Here we have the difference between a crime without a victim and a crime with a victim.

Or did I misunderstand your post?

(I also don't care if the president wears a Versace evening gown with Manolos and glittery eyeshadow every evening.)

-- AKA Smith

Sunday, June 24, 2007 01:04 PM

It's not a moral question it's a legal one

What two people, a German shepherd some heat shrink tubing and a hair dryer do behind closed doors is their problem. But the point here is that someone Rudy is abusing his position if not to break a law certainly bend one. So if that's a no-no I want to know what's excusable and what's not? What if a candidate is a scofflaw or behind on his child support or he uses his office get his wife a special parking space?

-- RealName

Sunday, June 24, 2007 03:27 PM


Are you really equating child sexual abuse with being behind on child support or parking tickets?

Look at the thread that took Clinton to task for having someone on her team has ties with a company that does public relations against unions. This is a legitmate issue, but it is no crime. Since Placa apparently worked for the Catholic Church to hide the truth about these pedophile priests, it is certainly legimate to raise issues concerning his character. Not only that, but one of the people mentioned in the article accuses Placa of sexually abusing him. What people seem to be missing here is that Placa missed his day in court due to a statute of limitations on that particular crime. While he has not been found guilty at trial, he most certainly has not been found innocent either.

As voters, we can consider anything we wish a factor in our ultimate vote. Someone who employs someone like Placa would be way down on my list. (Leaving aside other reasons I find Guiliani unacceptable.)

Let us look at your list:

A. Someone in their employ with overdue parking tickets.

B. Someone in their employ with overdue child support.

C. Someone in their employ who uses recreational drugs.

D. Someone in their employ who aids child molesters.

I know which would be a deal breaker for me. Which one would you choose?

-- AKA Smith

Sunday, June 24, 2007 04:04 PM

@ RealName

We don't seem to be having a dialogue here. You seem to be in soliloquy mode. I think I am pretty clear that I am talking about moral issues here and not legal ones. If you are only interested in legal issues, then I suppose you think what the Bush folks have done is mostly okay since they seem to have no trouble getting some sort of legal stamp on most of their behavior. I don't see any of them running from the law.

You, meantime, seem to not want to discuss at all the harm that certain behavior causes. I am beginning to think that you are trying to evade grappling with the harm that molestation does to children. Why is that exactly?

-- AKA Smith

Sunday, June 24, 2007 05:42 PM


To think that I was raised under the auspices of Pope Pious (there is an oxymoran waiting to be discussed), spoon fed massive quantities of brainwashing hypocritical hogwash in the form of Catachism (sp?) and find 50 years later that it is all about power and f--king little boys makes me glad that I have nothing to do with these thieves' of souls. Sure there is some nice art to reflect on and some interesting architecture but at what cost??? If Jesus is/was god and came back to see this he would puke, in fact, when I hear about these pedophilic monsters I want to puke. Guiliani, indeed...The only good news here is that once the popularity contest is over and the real Republicans get ahold of him, he will be sausage. Ciao Rudi, you are an immensely disturbing human being and your lack of critical judgement about who you surround yourself will defeat you. We may all be stupid Americans, but after 8 years of Rove and Cheney, even we, dumb as we are, know that you rely directly on the same scare and fear tactics. We also know that you can't make us safer, and in your bluster and potentially idiotic actions will only make us more vulnerable to the hateful fringe elements of terror.

Retire to the speaking circuit and vacation in the Poconos

-- cbzd

Sunday, June 24, 2007 10:02 PM

Unintended Hilarity

UneasyOne wrote: "...I was an alter boy-- UnEasyOne..."

You're lucky; many young boys were "altered" by being abused by Roman Catholic priests; consider yourself damned lucky.

The hilarity, btw, is that the word is "altar", but, it's actually funnier if you WERE an "altered boy".

I'm just sayin'...

-- AnaHadWolves

Thursday, June 28, 2007 06:01 AM


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