Posts Tagged “child pornography”

Vatican flag (8583012024)The Roman Catholic Church obviously has a major problem. It’s been decades in the making, and has been on the front burner of occidental society for going on 20 years now. But it doesn’t seem to go away … because Church personnel just won’t stop doing shit they know they’re not supposed to do.

The latest case doesn’t involve abuse of children by a priest … but it’s close. As the New York Times reports, the Vatican has recalled one of their diplomats from their Washington Embassy due to kiddie porn (Archive.Is cached article):

The Vatican has recalled a high-ranking priest working as a diplomat in the Holy See’s embassy in Washington after American authorities sought to strip his immunity and potentially charge him with possession of child pornography, the Vatican said Friday.

In a statement, the Vatican said that it had been notified by the State Department on Aug. 21 of “a possible violation of laws relating to child pornography images” by a member of its diplomatic corps.

The Vatican said the priest would face an investigation and potential trial in Vatican City. But some critics saw in the Vatican’s move a reflexive step to protect its own by whisking a priest away from a justice system in a foreign land.

The statement did not identify the cleric, but Italian news media reports and an American official familiar with the investigation said it was Msgr. Carlo Alberto Capella, who was ordained in Milan in 1993 and entered the diplomatic corps in 2004. He has also worked as a diplomat in Hong Kong and as the Holy See’s liaison to Italy.

The article suggests this is standard practice for diplomats accused of crimes, but let’s be honest here: It fully coincides with the well-worn, and well-known, Church policy of vacuuming up clergy accused of wrongdoing and shuffling them off someplace else. The Times relates a story of another Vatican diplomat — an archbishop, Jozef Wesolowski, nuncio to the Dominican Republic — who was similarly brought back to Vatican City and was supposed to have been “tried” for his crimes, only to die (conveniently) before that trial. I expect something similar to happen in this case; it will languish in the bowels of the Vatican Curia long enough for the just-recalled diplomat to die or to become so old or infirm that he ends up never being tried. Guaranteed.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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St Paul Cathedral 2012Once again, the R.C. Church comports itself as it always has, with regard to allegations of child abuse against its clergy. They repeatedly delay, deny, and obfuscate, often to the point of absurdity (as when lawyers for the archdiocese of Hartford actually argued in open court that the minor victims of a priest “liked it,” so no crime was committed, in direct contradiction of the law). They’ve been playing this game so long, it’s become a habit for them … one they refuse to break. Even when direct, unassailable evidence is slammed down in front of them.

The latest example is reported by the (MN) Star Tribune, and involves an archdiocesan official who was forced to quit (WebCite cached article):

A top lieutenant of Archbishop John Nienstedt resigned suddenly Thursday, saying his departure was necessary following an explosive court development that suggested the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis may have covered up a priest’s possession of child pornography.

The Rev. Peter Laird had served as vicar general and moderator of the curia for the archdiocese, making him junior only to Nienstedt in the hierarchy.

His resignation came shortly after allegations emerged in a St. Paul court that church officials knew a priest had been in possession of child pornography but continued to assign him to parish duties that brought him into contact with children. The allegations were contained in a St. Paul police report made public Thursday in Ramsey County District Court.

What happened here is hard to discern, and the story takes a couple of turns. But the bottom line is, the archdiocese destroyed a computer that might have held evidence of child pornography. What was available to police, by the time they investigated, were some “discs” (I have no idea if these were hard drives, or optical media such as CDs or DVDs); the computers in question had, by the archdiocese’s own admission, been “destroyed.”

Police chose to do nothing about this destruction of evidence; I can only assume this is because, as in so many other places, they simply deferred to the Church, because it’s the Church, after all. If you or I, Dear Reader, had dared destroy a computer belonging to a suspected child-porn collector, we’d have been thrown in jail, for sure. But the normal rules, you see, just don’t apply to God’s Holy Church. Archdiocesan officials are free to get away with crap like that.

In any event, the archdiocese denies Laird’s resignation had anything to do with this revelation (cached). Riiiiiight. As though anyone could possibly be stupid enough to believe that. What idiot truly believes the archdiocese when it says Laird’s resignation, immediately after this revelation, was merely a coincidence?

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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Matthew 7:23 (And then I will declare to them, I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.By now this isn’t surprising. There’s a long tradition of dour, Puritanical Christians loudly decrying homosexuality and sexual freedom in others, while they themselves engage in the very sorts of behaviors they rail against. It’s happened with Jimmy Swaggart, Jim Bakker, Ted Haggard, “Bishop” Eddie Long, George Alan Rekers, and plenty of others. The latest militant Christian to be bitten by her own raging hypocrisy is the Rightist legal activist, affiliated with the Alliance Defending Freedom (aka the Alliance Defense Fund), Lisa Biron. WMUR-TV in Manchester, NH reports she was convicted in a child-porn case (WebCite cached article):

A Manchester lawyer has been found guilty of exploiting a 14-year-old girl to produce child pornography.

Lisa Biron, 43, was accused of videotaping the girl having sex with two men. Biron faced eight federal indictments on charges of child sexual exploitation, transporting a child across state lines to produce child pornography and possession of child pornography, and was convicted on all of them after the jury deliberated for less than an hour.

What’s amazing about examples of hypocrisy like this one, is not that they happen. It almost goes without saying that there are people who will fail to live up to their ideals. It happens all the time — in religious venues, and in others. What’s surprising, though, are the lengths people go to in order to defend their hypocrisy, especially when they’re Christians who are not permitted ever to be hypocritical. What’s equally amazing are the other Christian sheep willing to pretend these people have done nothing wrong and that their hypocrisy is OK. Clearly they have no clue about the teachings of their own religion’s founder, in spite of the fact that they loudly trumpet their own Christianity — and this only compounds their error, since expressing one’s piety publicly also violates Jesus’ teachings.

Let’s just hope the 14-year-old victim in this case recovers and is able to transcend it.

Photo credit: PsiCop original (quoting Mt 7:23).

Hat tip: Secular Web News Wire.

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The Roman Catholic Church’s priestly pedophilia and child-abuse scandals are not, as it turns out, limited only to the U.S. and Ireland. Canada has had its share of scandalous behavior by the Catholic Church within its borders. A settlement in a class-action suit against the Diocese of Antigonish, Nova Scotia has been approved, as reported by the CBC:

A $15-million class-action settlement involving Roman Catholic priests accused of abusing young boys in Nova Scotia will proceed.

John McKiggan, the lawyer handling the historic settlement, said both sides of the class action — the Diocese of Antigonish and lead plaintiff Ron Martin — agreed to go ahead with the deal now that the deadline for opting out has expired. …

The settlement was the result of a class-action lawsuit spearheaded by Martin, a Cape Breton man who said he was sexually abused by a priest as a boy. Martin said his brother, David Martin, killed himself in 2002 and left a note stating that he, too, had been abused by a priest in the diocese.

This is not, however, the only bad news endured by the Roman Catholic Church in that province. In October, Richard Lahey, bishop of Antigonish — who (ironically or not) had been key to negotiating this very settlement — was arrested by Ottawa police for possession of child pornography, as the Globe and Mail reported:

A Roman Catholic bishop who oversaw an historic settlement with victims of past sexual abuse by priests in Nova Scotia has been charged with possessing and importing child pornography.

Bishop Raymond Lahey of the archdiocese of Antigonish was searched at the Ottawa airport as he re-entered Canada on Sept. 15. Officers found images “of concern” on his laptop, and seized it along with other media devices. He was released pending further investigation. …

In a statement Saturday, Bishop Lahey said that “after much thought and careful consideration” he had submitted his resignation to Pope Benedict “for personal reasons.”

What’s really stunning about this is that Lahey had been caught with child porn, after having issued the following statement about the (then-pending) settlement (as the G&M went on to say):

At the time [the potential settlement was announced], Bishop Lahey, who was bishop of Antigonish for six years and was not implicated in the allegations, apologized to the victims and noted they were entitled to protection from priests.

“Sexual abuse, indeed any abuse, is wrong. It is a crime and it is a serious sin in the eyes of God. I want to assure you that for some time our diocese, like others throughout Canada, have been taking steps to protect children and youth,” Bishop Lahey told a news conference.

Wow. I mean, just wow. The hypocrisy here is so obvious, and so brazen and stark, there doesn’t appear to be anything left to say about it.

At any rate, anyone who thought that Roman Catholic Church clerical scandals were only here in the U.S. or — as revealed this year — in Ireland, is sadly mistaken. Clerical misdeeds within the Catholic Church are much more widespread than most people suspect. What’s worse is, these are not cases of lone, abhorrent priests doing things they shouldn’t and then getting caught. Quite the opposite: Each of these scandals has featured active involvement by the hierarchy above these priests, to hide their misconduct, cover it up after-the-fact, shield them from secular prosecution, with no discernible effort made to prevent it from happening.

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As a follow-up to my blog entry from last week … evangelist Tony Alamo — whose real name is Bernie Lazar Hoffman — has been convicted. Here’s the report from CNN:

A jury in Arkansas convicted evangelist Tony Alamo on Friday of 10 federal counts of taking minors across state lines for sex, according to the court in the Western District in Arkansas.

Of course, Alamo Hoffman has claimed not to have done anything wrong … and following the usual playbook of the paranoid conspiracy theorist, claims he was set up by the government:

In a phone interview last year with CNN, [Alamo Hoffman] called the accusations a hoax. …

Asked why authorities were searching the property, Alamo compared himself to Christ.

“Why were they after Jesus,” he asked. “It’s the same reason. Jesus is living within me.”

Perhaps you don’t realize it, Mr Alamo Hoffman, but making yourself into a living messiah is heretical … still, I’m sure your Christian sheep won’t be dissuaded from believing in you as ardently as ever. True believers never let insignificant little things like federal criminal convictions get in the way of their irrational metaphysics.

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