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Letters to the Editor

Cardinal Lawless?

Sent to the Editor of The Day, New London CT on April 25, 2002 and published on April 29, 2002.

To the Editor:

Cardinal Law of Boston was quoted in The Day as saying," ... what he did was wrong and immoral by shuffling pedophile priests from one parish to another." Yes, it was, and possibly also .... a crime? Cardinal Edward Egan, while bishop of Bridgeport, failed to respond to a mother who wrote him a letter to report a priest who tried to molest her son. The media runs countless stories on meetings with the pope, and the opinion and feelings of the Catholic public.

Somebody tell me quick! Has Rod Serling come back from beyond? Are we all residents of the Twilight Zone? Do the words evade, deflect, eschew, circumvent, sidestep or subterfuge come to mind when you hear about church reaction, actions and comments?

Confused? Got that, "We're in the Twilight Zone" feeling? Maybe this will help:

  1. Sexual abuse and molestation are crimes. (CGS 46b-120)
  2. Allegations of sexual abuse and molestation of minors is the business of law enforcement and the agencies mandated to investigate.
  3. Clergy are mandated reporters under Connecticut General Statutes. CGS Section 17a-101, considers persons employed as the following as mandated reporters: "... physician, intern, registered nurse, licensed practical nurse, medical examiner, dentist, dental hygienist, psychologist, school teacher, school principal, school guidance counselor, school paraprofessional, social worker, police officer, clergy, pharmacist, physical therapist, osteopath, chiropractor, podiatrist, mental health professional, physician assistant, certified substance abuse counselor, marital and family therapist, sexual assault counselor, domestic violence counselors and persons paid for caring for children in any public or private facility, day care center or family day care home."
  4. Clergy are not exempt from reporting suspected abuse by clergy.
  5. Clergy are not exempt from being prosecuted by the State of Connecticut (or any other state) for alleged sexual abuse or molestation.

So, Rod, if you are out there, why are we talking about what the pope will or will not do? Good story? Great footage? Rome's a dramatic background? Or maybe, we are waiting to see where the buck will stop? Rod, please tell me that the law is blind to rank and religious affiliation, and that the application of the law is inclusive, not exclusive - even in the Twilight Zone.

Let's stop wondering what the pope will do. Let's stop the talk about whether a cardinal who is alleged to have broken the law should be fired. Let's wonder aloud, instead, if and when the alleged perpetrators will be held accountable by law.
STATUTORY REFERENCES:17a-28; 17a-101 et.seq.; 46b-120.
Joyce Thomas, MCW