Monthly Archives: March 2006

Archdiocese of Chicago in Full Compliance with Sex Abuse Review Board in Spite of Failure

According to the National Review Board set up by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Archdiocese of Chicago was in full compliance with its sexual abuse charter. The charter, designed to protect young children, was implemented in 2002 after the bishops’ meeting in Dallas. In spite of this declaration of “full compliance” the Archdiocese of Chicago failed to act in the case of Fr. Daniel McCormack who supposedly had a checkered past dating back to his days in the seminary.
How effective is the Review Board if it misses such obvious cases as McCormack who’s been indicted on sexual abuse charges as recent as a few years ago? Full compliance is meaningless if it doesn’t protect children.

Episcopal Diocese in Florida Hit with Sex Abuse Lawsuit

The Episcopal Church in Florida is now facing a $5 million lawsuit stemming from the sexual abuse of a young girl by deceased Episcopal priest Fr. Joseph Noll. The abuse occurred at St. Stephen’s Church in Jacksonville in 1969. The victim says it started when she was 11 and that the priest locked the door, showed pictures of naked men, undressed and fondled her. She even alleges that the priest made inappropriate use of ceremonial candle.

Kansas School Consultant Urges Prudence and Public Notification of Taser Use

A consultant for Wichita Kansas public schools is urging school officials to use prudence when deploying taser stun guns on students. It’s just as important to inform the parents of tased students as well as the local community of such use. In Hillsborough County Florida, letters are sent home to school parents when a taser is deployed, even by accident.

The NIMBY Approach to Justice and Compassion

NIMBY stands for Not in My Backyard. William Cardinal Keeler was in town to speak at Sunday night’s Eternal Light Awards dinner in St. Petersburg. The Cardinal had just been presented with the award for his work on behalf of interreligious dialogue among Christians, Jews, and Muslims. Keeler spoke about the importance of bridging the gap between these faith communities. However, his passion for building bridges with other faiths only made the contradiction clearer. Why would a churchman such as Keeler dedicate his life to building bridges and neglect the most important bridge of all-the bridge to victims of sexual abuse?
I have no reason nor intention to impugn the Cardinal’s character. But my question remains-why show so much concern for building bridges between faiths when there is so much repair to be done in your own faith? Why would a man like Keeler lobby the Maryland legislature to drop a proposal that could bring justice and perhaps healing to victims of sexual abuse?
My only answer is NIMBY-Not in My Backyard; let Justice and Compassion spring forth in far off lands-just not in my backyard.
Let peace and reconciliation grow among Jews, Muslims, and Christians-just not in my backyard where some of my flock have been abused by my shepherds.

Legislators Need to Do More than Pay Lip Service to Abuse Victims

Many state legislators including those from Colorado, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Maryland are considering opening up the civil statute of limitations regarding sexual abuse. However, they are all too often doing so in a very restrictive manner. In Colorado, for instance, legislators are considering opening up the statute for those victimized after 1982 when all the evidence points to the fact that many of those abused suffered in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Such proposals don’t help victims. I have to presume the legislators are trying to do something without offending the powerful Catholic hierarchies in their respective states. It is no secret that local bishops have become powerful lobbyists in state capitols and are pressuring legislators to protect the institution of the church. This is entirely unjust and re-victimizes the victims!

Elimination of Joint and Several Liability is not Good for the Consumer

The Florida Legislature seems bent on acquiescing to Governor Bush’s agenda to protect large corporations at the expense of the family and the average consumer. An unfortunate example of this is the current legislation seeking to ban Joint and Several Liabilty. Joint & Several Liability provides a Common Sense approach by which victims’ medical bills are paid when two or more offenders cause an injury. Joint & Several only applies if no injury would have occurred but for the fault of each offender. In such cases, Joint & Several allows each offender to be held responsible for the victim’s full medical bills and lost wages in order to ensure that a victim’s full medical bills are paid. Victims & taxpayers should NEVER be forced to pay for the careless behavior of the guilty. But that precise injustice will occur if Joint & Several Liability is eliminated.

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Amnesty International Renews Its Taser Warnings

As the death toll from Taser use continues to mount across the country, Amnesty International has renewed its call to halt the use of the controversial stun gun. According to the watchdog group, 61 people died after being tasered in the last year. In spite of this, Taser use has increased since 2001. According to the GAO, police officers used the stun gun 70,000 times last year alone.

Guidant’s Own Commission Critical of Flaws

An expert panel commissioned by Guidant Corporation to assess its handling of problems with cardiac medical devices cited the company for failure to properly assess patient safety. The commission noted that Guidant’s decisions were guided by statistical projections provided by engineers rather than medical data provided by doctors. The group urged Guidant to create an outside panel of physicians and others who would regularly monitor the safety of its devices and advise the company about when and how to notify doctors and patients about problems.

Suppressed Society of St. John Resurfaces in South America

The controversial Society of St. John which had been functioning in the Diocese of Scranton until its suppression in 2004, has resurfaced in Paraguay with two priests who’ve been accused of sexual abuse of minors. The Society which had been the subject of an abuse lawsuit in Scranton had been invited to function in the Diocese of Scranton by former Bishop James Timlin. The two priests, Rev. Carlos Urrutigoity and Rev. Eric Ensey, who were forbidden from exercising their priestly duties, are now with the society in Paraguay.