Sunday, July 29, 2012

Priestly Victims

Father James Valladares, who describe himself as a "survivors' advocate of sexual abuse," spent three months in the U.S. in his research into false accusations against the priesthood.

While he acknowledged there were many legitimate victims of sexual abuse by the priesthood, there was an equal number of claims made by those seeking financial gain, he said.

In this book, Hope Springs Eternal in the Priestly Breast,  Father Valladares examines the problem of false allegations and urges the church to adopt a set procedure that would protect accuser and accused until an investigation was complete.  He found about half the accusations against priests were false, mostly because accusers were seeking money.

"False allegations do occur and such allegations are devastating to the accused," he said.

"Having said that, I do not wish to denigrate any of the harm that has been done - for that we are all very sincerely sorry. Our whole purpose now is to create a climate of trust and openness, transparency and accountability."

Father Valladares said the pendulum had swung too far from the church protecting an accused priest to the church immediately acting on behalf of an accuser since 2002 when a huge cover-up of sexual offenses became public.  "I conducted this study to show that society is effectively tarring all priests with the same brush, using the allegations against a select few to discredit others," he said.

He said a priest falsely accused of sexual abuse or molestation was ruined for life.  "During my research, I found there are 1000 priests in America who are in limbo," he said.
(Read entire post.)


julygirl said...

The whole thing is too tragic to contemplate!

Flambeaux said...

More than limbo. Many are being actively persecuted by their bishops and denied justice.

With bishops as the authors of injustice, the Church doesn't need enemies.