Looking north from a hill in Branch Brook Park, at Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart on a sunny midday.Among the R.C. Church’s rationales for protecting abusive clergy within its ranks is a presumption that the victims are to blame for it, and — perversely — that the abusers are the true “victims.” The Church doesn’t say so out loud very often, but once in a while someone lets this presumption slip, here or there. The most recent example of this, as NJ Advanced Media reports, came from a Newark priest who’d fled to his native Ecuador in 2003 when faced with allegations he’d abused a teen (WebCite cached article):

In an extraordinary admission of wrongdoing, a priest sought by authorities in New Jersey has acknowledged engaging in a sexual encounter with a 15-year-old boy, but he deflected blame for the incident by saying the teen “wanted” it and had “evil in his mind.”

In a telephone interview with NJ Advance Media, in email exchanges and in a lengthy post he shared publicly on Twitter, the Rev. Manuel Gallo Espinoza said it was a “mistake” to have sexual contact with the boy in the rectory of a Plainfield church in 2003. He said he fled to his native Ecuador after the victim told a nun and another priest that Gallo Espinoza raped him.

“One thing that I am conscious (of) is he was at that time a teenager, and it is a big mistake for me. But I didn’t force him to do anything he didn’t want,” Gallo Espinoza wrote. “He was older (sic) enough to walk away, but I think that I was attracted to him, that is the only explanation that I can think right now.”

Gallo Espinoza added: “He had something evil in his mind. He approached me many times.”

Amazingly, Gallo Espinoza had been rather public about all of this:

Using the screen name “Unforgetables Unforgettables,” he also wrote an 864-word comment [cached] beneath the July 30 story about him on NJ.com. Gallo Espinoza, who identified himself by name in the comment, later shared a copy of it on Twitter [cached], along with one of his emails to NJ Advance Media.

For the record, here is that July 30 story (cached).

Because the victim sued the archdiocese of Newark, this vile creep even indulged in the “it’s-all-about-greedy-plaintiffs” whine:

Gallo Espinoza made reference to Ramirez’s lawsuit in his correspondence, saying the victim had revived the issue after 12 years to cash in.

“The explanation that I find to begin again with this incident after many years is ‘EASY MONEY,'” Gallo Espinoza wrote.

So in addition to having already admitted he abused a boy, the priest tried to insinuate the incident had been fabricated for money. Nice touch there, fella. Really nice!

Another nice touch in this case is that the victim’s uncle and youth minister, to whom the victim had reported the abuse and who’d confronted Gallo Espinoza about it, warned him an investigation had been started and that he should flee the country:

While the circumstances of Gallo Espinoza’s abrupt departure have never been fully disclosed, he said in the telephone interview it was [youth leader Antonino] Salazar and [victim’s uncle Jeivi] Hercules who told him to run. Hercules, who has since entered the priesthood, is now parochial vicar at Queen of Peace Church in North Arlington.

Wonderful people, eh? How marvelous of these men — whom the victim had trusted enough to report the incident — to take that trust and crush it into the dirt. All in defense of a pedophilic priest and the Mother Church to which he belonged.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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  • MGE

    Anna Marie Sturgis My prayer are with you-you did nothing wrong remember that!! God ess you and keep the Faith!!
    Like · Reply · 1 · July 30 at 10:52pm
    Ms. Anna Marie Sturgis
    I am really with you and please pray for me.
    I have dedicated my entire life to do good for others, but all what is said is a lie. This young man was not Catholic when he came to our church. Having three priests more in our church he never met them. I used to work in another building and he used to show up looking always for a chance to meet me one week and then he disappeared for two. Again he used to show up smiling, but he never looked for the other priests that I used to work with.
    He waited for twelve years to say that I have raped him. I think that a rape has to be very painful and at his age he should have run, screamed out or sought for help; thing that never happened because anything of this really occurred.
    In the church at that time usually used to live three more priests and nobody heard anything the day he said it happened.
    That is a vicious lie of this young man.
    WHY HE DOESN’T SAY THAT WAS HIS UNCLE, his mother's brother the one who raped HIM WHEN HE WAS 8 YEARS OLDS, AND HE CHANGES THE VERSION SAYING THAT WAS HIS COUSIN WHO DID THAT TO HIM.
    Nobody talks about that and EVERYBODY has criticized a lie THAT HAS NO EVIDENCE. IT IS A NEW WAY OF GETTING EASY MONEY nowadays.
    This young guy has not been studying; he has been dedicated to waste his time. Ask him what is the title he’s gotten from the university or colleague, I am certain he does not have anything and he doesn’t like to work that’s why he is doing all of this.
    To put some money in your packet is hard no matter what you do. My entire life I have worked and I am still doing it, I know what I am talking about.
    I've worked all my life and have been in the United States nine years working as a teacher, and I was very well considered and respected by the authorities and students in Maryland and Virginia.
    No one investigates and asks for references about whom was Mr. Gallo was as a teacher.
    Even to Mr. Mueller the journalist that began with this lie, I wrote because he changed the meaning of my words. Maybe he misunderstood them, misinterpreted them or I misexpressed them in English. Therefore, I am writing in Spanish and using a translator to express my thoughts as accurate as possible to avoid leaving room for doubts.
    I think that people giving their commentaries on the web are full of anger, hate and revenge (No Jesus’ teaching /No normal human beings feelings.
    To talk about an incident like this I have put myself in the other’s person shoes to analyze if this incident should happened to one of mine. But this boy was raped by his uncle and then he had consent sexual acts with a large majority of his classmates. Why don’t you ask him?
    His uncle made him a homosexual not the Father Manuel.
    Father Manuel was me; I am now a Spanish and English teacher: my first career before becoming a priest.
    I want to thank with my all my heart to the only person that prays for me and motivates me to keep my faith in God. GOD BLESS YOU BEAUTIFUL FRIEND: Ms. Anna Marie Sturgis.
    IN YOUR SMILE I CAN SEE THE LOVE OF GOD AND AT YOUR AGE YOU LOOK DIVINE BECAUSE YOU ARE FULL OF THE LOVE OF GOD.
    Thanks again for making me feel a valuable and appreciated PERSON, ONCE MORE.
    GOD BLESS YOU WITH ALL HIS/HER POWER!
    Manuel de Jesús Gallo Espinoza

    • MGE

      You just publisch what you want.

      • I plan to leave it as-is. It's a marvelous example of a rambling, sniveling, self-indulgent, whiney diatribe by a sociopath who's too cowardly to face the consequences of his own actions. If he were a real man, not a coward, he'd return to New Jersey, submit to authorities, and be tried.

    • So, in one long screed we have multiple objections offered by Gallo Espinoza:

      1. "His uncle raped him, not me." Terrific! If Gallo Espinoza has evidence of this, I wonder why he hasn't managed to forward it to New Jersey authorities at some point in the last 12 years? He could have done so any time he wished, even from Ecuador.

      2. "The victim doesn't work and is after money." Unfortunately this is fallacious thinking. That a plaintiff sues for money does NOT automatically mean s/he wasn't wronged.

      3. "There couldn't have been a rape because the victim didn't cry out in the rectory as it happened." Seriously, this is a fucked-up contention. Lots of victims are silent during violent crimes. It wasn't mean they weren't assaulted.

      4. "He had sex with his classmates too." Unfortunately, this has no bearing on anything. Whether or not the victim had consensual sex with anyone else is irrelevant to whether or not Gallo Espinoza raped him.

      5. Gallo Espinoza, in his own words, claimed the victim "wanted it" and "had evil on his mind." To what event, precisely, can Gallo Espinoza be referring, if not to a sexual encounter with the victim? Now you post his ridiculous screed denying he did so. Which is true? Did the two have an encounter, or did they not? The two possibilities are mutually exclusive. One or the other can be truth, but they can't both be.