Ms. magazine  -- more than a magazine a movement

SIGN UP FOR MS. DIGEST, JOBS, NEWS AND ALERTS

FEMINIST WIRE NEWSBRIEFS

ABOUT
SEE CURRENT ISSUE
SHOP MS. STORE
MS. IN THE CLASSROOM
FEMINIST DAILY WIRE
FEMINIST RESOURCES
PRESS
JOBS AT MS.
READ BACK ISSUES
CONTACT
RSS (XML)
 
feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

March-25-02

Lawsuit Names All US Catholic Bishops in Organized Abuse Scandal

Amidst a widening sexual abuse scandal, a former seminarian in Hannibal, Missouri is suing the entire US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) under the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), originally intended to be used in cases involving organized crime rings. A 1980s student at St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary is suing former West Palm Beach, FL Bishop Anthony O’Connor, who was a rector at St. Thomas, and the UCCB for participating in an organized conspiracy to keep abuse claims secret, mainly through hushed financial settlements with victims. O’Connell already admitted in his March 8 resignation letter to sexually abusing Christopher Dixon, another former St. Thomas seminarian in the late 1970s. RICO has been unsuccessfully used in two other cases against the Catholic church, one of which eventually led to a $30 million settlement outside the courts.

The growing sex abuse scandal has prompted mixed responses from Catholic officials. Several seminaries are developing new training manuals to weed out potential pedophiles and sexual abusers. They have already begun to offer new courses on formerly taboo topics like sexuality, addiction and the struggle to remain celibate. The new methods include targeting “homosexual behavior” as grounds for immediate dismissal from seminary. Psychologists note that the new tactics, particularly the attempt to weed out self-identified “practicing homosexuals,” will not identify potential pedophiles or sexual abusers.

Some church members and many in the psychological community, including Rev. Stephen Rossetti, a psychologist and sex abuse consultant to the USCCB, are cautioning the church against an anti-gay “witch hunt,” particularly after the Pope’s spokesperson responded to the current sex scandal by saying that the church needed to prevent gays from becoming priests. According to researchers at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, no evidence suggests that gay people are more likely than straight people to molest children.

Media Resources: NBC News 3/24/02; Associated Press 3/25/02 & 3/22/02 Times 3/25/02


© Feminist Majority Foundation, publisher of Ms. magazine

If you liked this story, consider making a tax-deductible donation to support Ms. magazine.

 

 

Send to a Friend
Their
Your
Comments
(optional)


More Feminist News

4/16/2014 Female Afghan Parliamentarian Injured in Shooting Attack - Maryam Koofi, a member of Afghanistan's Parliament, was wounded in a shooting yesterday. . . .
 
4/16/2014 10-Year Old Girl Banned from Boys Basketball Team Will Now Play - Ten-year old Albuquerque, New Mexico fourth-grader Jaelyn Bates plays on the Frey Academy Basketball team, and her coach, Kevin Frey, thinks she's pretty good. . . .
 
4/15/2014 Virginia Bishops Advocate More Abortion Restrictions for Poor Women - Using the Medicaid expansion debate as a platform, the Virginia Catholic Conference issued a statement Friday calling for the repeal of a Virginia law that allows state funding of abortion care for Medicaid recipients in situations where the fetus exhibits a "gross and totally incapacitating physical deformity" or a "gross and totally incapacitating mental deficiency." Bishop Francis DiLorenzo of the Diocese of Richmond and Bishop Paul Loverde of the Diocese of Arlington authored the statement which urges Virginia lawmakers to act to expand Medicaid to cover more of Virginia's poor. . . .