Is Wempe a victim?
Take Leonard Levine, who is defending Michael Wempe against charges that the ex-priest molested a boy after Cardinal Mahony made Wempe, a known molester who had received "therapy," a chaplain at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
Wempe has admitted molesting 13 boys years earlier, but Levine says one of them who is now describing those crimes is lying. Why? To get even with Wempe for past crimes against the victim's two brothers, whose cases the U.S. Supreme Court torpedoed in a 2003 ruling that struck down a California law allowing prosecution of decades-old sex crimes.
"He wanted to make sure Michael Wempe went to prison, and he wanted to increase the price the defendant and the Church would have to pay," Levine informed the world. The victim, a former altar boy at St. Elizabeth's Mission in Lake Hughes, told the court Wempe committed sex crimes against him on 100-plus occasions.
Eight victims are now revealing what Wempe did to them, although thanks to the Supremes the ex-priest cannot be prosecuted in those cases.
But Cardinal Mahony's creativity matches even lawyer Levine's.
Incredibly, the Cardinal's newspaper, The Tidings (January 20), asserts that in the past "society at large," including our bishops, simply did not know about the "compulsive nature of the sexual abuse of minors." The poor bishops, you see, were innocent victims of those darned therapists who assured the shepherds that they could send "treated" sex criminals back into the ministry. (If the bishops really think therapists were guilty of malpractice, why don't they sue them?)
The article, Treating Priests Who Abuse: Then and Now, goes on to rap Catholic therapists for not telling the world that things are different now.
Anything, it seems, to deflect the blame away from the hierarchy.