May 24, 2007

The abuse-and-coverup bill is rising

Today's Los Angeles Times reports (click on this post's title) that L.A. County Superior Court Judge Harvey Fromholz "ruled Wednesday that four people can seek punitive damages [in addition to compensatory damages] against the Los Angeles Archdiocese for [allegedly] failing to protect them from a priest [Lynn Caffoe] they accused of sexual abuse."

The Times article, "Judge opens [C]hurch up to huge payout," says the judge "cited [Cardinal Roger] Mahony's alleged misrepresentation of a videotape that was discovered in Caffoe's bedroom in 1992. The Archdiocese disputes the claim of misrepresentation about the videotape. Here is the Archdiocese's statement of March 21:

The judge, wrote the Times, also said that at least six priests had complained about Fr. Caffoe's "familiarity with children" and that parents and school officials had also complained.

Couldn't someone on the seminary or other archdiocesan staff, somewhere along the way, have discerned that Caffoe, and the quite a few others also later accused, just maybe were not suited to be priests? Granted, hindsight is everything, and no one could catch everyone; but that so many got through to ordination suggests that oversight was flawed.

May the future bring us better news.


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