The Roman Catholic hierarchy just doesn’t get it. In a recently released transcript from a clergy abuse case in the Diocese of Syracuse New York, Bishop Cunningham was quoted as saying: “The boy is culpable…….Well, I mean, without knowing the circumstances completely, did the boy encourage (or) go along with (it) in any way?”
Renowned author, former priest, and psychologist who specialize in sexual trauma matters, Richard Sipe says, the child should not be held responsible for the abuse. “That is so absurd,” Sipe said. “It’s like saying a child who’s beaten is responsible for the beating. It’s prehistoric. I can’t believe a bishop in (2011) said this.”
Another former priest who has testified as an expert in clergy sex abuse cases, and whom the author of this blog has had the privilege to meet and work with in dozens of clergy abuse cases in Philadephia, said the bishop’s claims were “preposterous.” “There’s no way, either in law or in moral theology or in canon law, which Bishop Cunningham is trained in, that a child can consent to that crime,” said Patrick Wall, the expert on clergy abuse in the Syracuse lawsuit.
As a crime victim lawyer and advocate in Pennsylvania who has spoken to over a hundred survivors of child sexual abuse by clergy of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, I have seen the evolution of sexual assault laws across the country. [Read more…]