Father James Porter
Exposure of the Porter and Geoghan cases barely exposed the tip of the iceberg where pedophile priests were concerned, and the Catholic Church has been rocked by nonstop scandals ever since. Pope John Paul declared, in January 2002, that the Vatican would hold secret tribunals in future to deal with clerical child molesters, but for much of the world at large, that solution sounded like an extension of the same cover-up policy already endured by victims and their families for generations. Meanwhile, each day seems to bring new reports of pedophile priests across America.
February 2002: The Diocese of Manchester, New Hampshire published the names of 14 priests involved in pedophile activities and turned their cases over to civil authorities. Of the 14, only oneRev. John Poirier in Gorham remained on duty as an active full-time priest. Six others were retired, while seven had been earlier removed as a result of multiple accusations.
February 2002: Rev. Joseph Welsh was removed as a priest from the Abingdon, Massachusetts parish due to what church spokesmen termed credible charges of child molestation. Ordained in 1968, Welsh was the ninth Massachusetts priest removed in February for similar reasons.
February 2002: Philadelphia archdiocese spokesperson Catherine Rossi announced the dismissal of several priests linked to child molestation, admitting that church administrators knew of 35 diocesan priests who had molested approximately 50 children during the last five decades. Rossi refused to identify those dismissed and said none would be identified to police because the archdiocese does not believe they pose a risk to children in the neighborhoods where they might relocate. Ignoring complaints from critics, Rossi declared, We dont have the problems of Boston.
March 2002: Rev. Michael Doucette, parish priest of St. Agatha, Maine, announced to his congregation that he had been intimately involved with a 15-year-old boy at another parish, in 1980. Church officials accepted Doucettes word that the boy was his only victim, allowing parishioners to decide whether Doucette should remain as their priest or withdraw.
March 2002: While critics charged willful blindness or outright deceit, Baltimore Cardinal William Keeler declared his archdiocese free of errant priests. One of those priests, Rev. Jeffrey Dauses, challenged the cardinals blanket claimas did attorneys representing several victims in civil lawsuits against the archdiocese. Public records reveal eight Baltimore-area priests indicted for child molestation between 1980 and 1995. "Critics of the church pronouncement also noted that Rev. Thomas Rydzewski, a Baltimore priest, was arrested by FBI agents in December 2001 for possessing child pornography transmitted on the Internet."
March 2002: Two Jesuit priests employed as teachers at Boston College High School, Revs. Francis McManus and James Talbot, were charged with molesting students during the 1970s and early 1980s. The same month, Boston archdiocese officials settled civil claims arising from the crimes of Father John Geoghan for an estimated $20 million, bringing the total payout in his case along to $35 million for an estimated 186 victims.
March 2002: The Catholic Diocese of Springfield, Massachusetts surrendered files on 90 child-molesting priests to civil authorities, belatedly cooperating in the prosecution of crimes spanning several decades.
March 2002: Law enforcement officers continued an ongoing investigation at Camp Fatima, a New Hampshire youth facility run by the Diocese of Manchester. At least a dozen victims have so far come forward to report molestation by various priests during stays at the camp. Boston attorney Carmen Durso, representing several of the victims, told reporters, Its unquestionable that priests, in the guise of taking kids on trips to New Hampshire, actually used it as an excuse to sexually abuse them.
March 2002: Reporters broke the story of three nuns in the Diocese of Brooklyn, who reported child molestation by a trio of priests in 1996. Bishop Thomas Daily promised aggressive handling of the case, but one priest died in the meantime; another denied the charges and was afterward ignored; the third confessed and was allowed to retire in Florida, without notice to legal authorities.
March 2002: A priest in New Jersey, Rev. Timothy Lambert, complained that Brooklyn Bishop Thomas Daily ignored his complaints of child molestation against a priest who had abused him (Lambert) as a child. Ive certainly been treated like Im the one who is the criminal, Lambert told reporters. Im very upset with how the church has handled this across the board: the dishonesty, the deceit, thinking they are above the law.
March 2002: Cardinal Francis George called for a review of priestly misconduct cases handled by the Archdiocese of Chicago since 1992, including monitoring of known pedophiles still employed by the church. We hear criticism that the monitoring is not adequate, said Rev. Thomas Paprocki, Georges key aide. Were willing to look at it again and make sure it is. The church offered no explanation of why child molesters were still on the payroll, or why their crimes had been concealed from civil authorities.
March 2002: Media reports revealed that the top Catholic cleric in New Hampshire, a one-time aide to Bostons Cardinal Law, failed to warn a California diocese that Rev. Richard Coughlin, transferred west from Massachusetts in 1985, had molested children in the Bay State. Coughlin went on to claim more victims and was banned by the Diocese of Orange (Calif.) in 1993, while his benefactorBishop John McCormackwas promoted to head the Diocese of Manchester in 1998, praised by Cardinal Law for his deep pastoral sensitivity to anyone who has called on him.
March 2002: A San Francisco court dismissed 224 sexual abuse charges lodged against Patrick OShea, once a powerful leader of the local Catholic Church, on grounds that prosecutors waited too long to file their complaints. OShea had spent nearly two years in jail, held in lieu of $5 million bond, while awaiting trial on felony charges dating from the 1960s and 70s.
March 2002: Boston authorities continued negotiations with an adult nephew of ex-priest Paul Mahan, seeking cooperation in their case against Mahan for child molestation. State police have pursued investigations of Mahans sexual activities since 1997, meeting resistance from victims who declined to testify.
March 2002: Another case of child molestation was revealed in the Diocese of Worcester (Mass.), spokesmen denying that the diocese had any knowledge of Rev. Victor Frobass pedophile record when he came to St. Rose of Lima parish in the 1970s. Frobas died in 1993, his crimes unpunished, but civil lawsuits spawned by his activities continue to haunt the church. An attorney for plaintiffs in those cases described the churchs handling of Frobas as painfully common.