From The Deposition

Chicago Tribune

August 16, 2008,0,536101.story

Cardinal Francis George was asked about Norbert Maday, a former priest serving a 20-year prison sentence for sexual abuse, and letters from the cardinal to Maday were introduced:

Letter from George to Maday dated March 6, 2000: "As you know, we are trying to make some definite effort to have a sentence reduction in your case. Hopefully, some good souls will see that the 6 years of incarceration you have already endured are enough to satisfy the state and any sense of justice."

Letter from George to Maday dated Feb. 4, 2002: "We have tried a number of avenues to see if your sentence might be reduced or parole be given early. So far, we have not had any success but we'll keep trying and I personally hope that you will not lose hope."

Q: Did it ever occur to you in 2002 what it would mean to the victims . . . if you had been successful in facilitating early release of this convicted offender?

George: That fact that he would never function as a priest again was what most of the victims I spoke to were most concerned about, not whether he was in prison or not.

Q: Why is it, Cardinal, that you can write directly to the perpetrators . . . when you don't write directly to these victims at the beginning of the process?

George: Because somebody has to tell me information that I might base a letter on and it isn't always sure what a victim will make of such a letter. Sometimes, victims resent being addressed by a bishop out of the blue. We ask the victim when can the cardinal apologize, when can the cardinal come into the process. That is asked right at the beginning.

Why the cardinal changed his mind about Maday: "We were getting a number of allegations and I began to realize that this man had seriously abused many, many innocent children. . . . [and] his continued denial."


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