NOTE TO THE READER
This is an EXTREMELY revealing document about the internal considerations within the Roman Catholic Church about the problem of clergy sexual abuse. It is also very prophetic. Since it was compiled in 1985, much of what is stated here has come to fruition.
Much is discussed establishing the problem of clergy sexual abuse within the priesthood and certain canon and civil law issues. In addition, there is discussion about possible public opinion, how to control public opinion, and how to suppress information from the public.
This document has been scanned in a manner to preserve its original appearance as much as possible page-by-page. For this reason, nearly all of the line spacings and mis-spellings were left as they are in the original document. Some errors by the scanner are inevitable, but the document is as true to the original as reasonably possible. Furthermore, this is a compilation of documents by different authors. The person scanning this document took editorial liberties to indicate the individual authored portions with chapters. The actual page number (where applicable) from the original document was combined with the corresponding "chapter".
Despite the statement of confidentiality, this document is considered public knowledge as it was used as evidence in the 1997 trial of several plaintiffs vs Fr. Kos and the Diocese of Dallas.
Scanned January 1998
CONFIDENTIAL NOTE: Please treat the contents of this document as confidential. Further, it is my opinion that the contents of this document are my professional and personal remarks and should not be construed as a national plan for the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, for Major Superiors of religious communities. The professional and personal opinions are given individually to each person who has possession of this document for their personal reaction and for one psychiatric approach to dealing with this complex moral, legal, and psychiatric problem.
(Rev) Michael R. Peterson, M.D.
Saint Luke Institute, Inc
This confidential document had its remote beginnings in January of 1985 as a result of the consequences of the unfortunate incidents in Louisiana. The three major parts of the final draft were prepared in May of 1985 and this final draft was compiled on June 8 9, 1985 by Mr. F. Ray Mouton, J.D. and Rev. Thomas P. Doyle, O.P.J.C.D.
INTRODUCTION: The purpose of this document is to provide to Bishops and Major Superiors of Religious Communities information concerning a growing problem of sexual abuse of children and adolescents by clerics and religious brothers. In this document, all references will be made to clerics and it is meant to include all male clerics (permanent deacons, transitional deacons, priests, bishops) and professed religious brothers.
As stated on the previous page, the contents of this document represent the personal and professional opinion of one person, Reverend Michael Peterson, H. Further, this document is not meant to be an advertisement for the Saint Luke Institute or the St. Bernardine Clinic which I head personally. I am also in no way trying to be an advertisement for any other program and I apologize profusely in advance if it appears in any way that I am detracting from any of the existing programs. This is not my purpose. I simply believe that the issues in this area are so complex that we need guidance from the Bishops of the U.S. as well as guidance from many other professional persons, including moralists, attorneys, psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric social workers and many others. This document is a baseline for the beginning of the discussions which I pray will come from presenting some of these issues from my personal viewpoint.
CLINICAL/LEGAL PRESENTATION: In this section of the document, I define for you the three most common sexual problems in clerics that I have seen and that I am aware many of my colleagues have seen:
(a) Compulsive Heterosexual/Homosexual Acting Out
(b) Pedophilia or Sexual Molestation of Minors
I point out in this section common ways in which these three sexual problems present themselves in Roman Catholic clerics.
LEGAL ADVICE: In this section of the document, I mention in an all too superficial manner the following issues with respect to civil law:
(a) Choosing an Attorney for Advice
(b) Reporting Laws in Your State
(c) What Advice Will Your Attorney Give You
(d) I Am Not An Attorney
This is a very important section that has a much more comprehensive treatment in the section called "Confidential Crisis Proposal" in this document.
CLINICAL EVALUATION OF THE CLERIC:
In this section of the document, I give my personal opinion as to what should be essential components of any evaluation of a cleric who is suspected of having a sexual problem as severe as pedophilia or exhibitionism. This is quit specific and again a personal and professional opinion. Mention is made of four Roman Catholic evaluation facilities which could be used.INPATIENT TREATMENT PROGRAM: In this section of the document, I again give a professional opinion as to the components of inpatient treatment programs that should be present if you are planning to send any cleric for treatment of this complex paraphilia disorders.
AFTERCARE PLANNING: In this section of the document, I list six possible areas of discussion for Aftercare Planning, which is one of the most important aspects of any treatment program. This psychiatric disease is a lifelong disease and the treatment of it in the cleric, though there is new hope in some treatment modalities, must also be a lifelong treatment plan. It is here that much discussion will be generated and where you can be most helpful to us at the Saint Luke Institute and perhaps at the other programs where you have clerics now in treatment.
JOHNS HOPKINS PROGRAM: En this section, I have copied for you the literature packet that is given to potential patients in the Sexual Disorders Clinic which is Co Directed by Dr. John Money and Dr. Fred Berlin; these two mental health professionals are considered by me and most people in the field as the two U.S. experts and ones who have had good success in treatment of the paraphiliac disorders in the past fifteen years.
CLERGY MALPRACTICE: In this section, there is a short article with which you may already be familiar. It is written by an attorney and is entitled "Clergy Malpractice". It is a lead story from a law journal called Case & Comment which is put out by the American Bar Association.
CONFIDENTIAL CRISIS This is a document produced by Reverend Thomas
PROPOSAL: P. Doyle, O.P. (canon lawyer), Mr. Ray Mouton
(trial attorney), and Dr. Michael Peterson.
The "proposal" section is not meant to be a presentation to you. Instead, I felt that it could not be excluded from the document without detracting from the full effect of the document s questions that are posed. Much research went into the production of this document and the same disclaimer mentioned at the beginning of this section must be invoked in your reading it. I would ask that you be careful if you decide to reproduce any parts of these documents which I have assembled for you and that the disclaimer be clearly a part of the reproduction so no misunderstandings can develop among the treatment facilities and among the other Bishops who are not present at this particular meeting when the document was presented to you.CLINICAL AND LEGAL PRESENTATIONS OF SEXUAL PROBLEMS IN CLERICS
There are many ways in which sexual problems in Roman Catholic clerics may present themselves to the cleric himself, the Chancery Staff, or to the Auxiliary or Ordinary Bishops. Further, there are very different kinds of sexual problems which may present to these persons concerning the clerics in the Dioceses.
TYPES OF SEXUAL PROBLEMS
The following are the most co~non sexual problems that have presented to me personally and to my professional colleagues in Roman Catholic clerics.
(1)Compulsive Heterosexual/Homosexual Acting Out
It should first be stated that this is not necessarily a problem unique to Roman Catholic clergy because of our vow of celibacy/chastity; this is a problem among single and married people and is being addressed more and more in the psychiatric world. For example, a new group called S.A. (Sexaholics Anonymous) has begun under the philosophical principles of A.A. (Alcoholics Anonymous) and from the work of Dr. Carnes in his book, Sexual Addictions. In S.A., to which we send all of our patients three times per week, a large number of married and single persons are present in the group trying to deal with compulsive, repetitive heterosexual and homosexual activity, especially in terms of "anonymous " or "one night stands" or basically non relational sexuality.
In Roman Catholic clerics, it is my moral and psychiatric philosophy that the vow of celibacy is what we are called to and that it can be accomplished only as perfectly as one struggles psychologically, spiritually, and with the help of grace in the Sacrament of Reconciliation and Eucharist. We do not usually recommend inpatient treatment in our own Saint Luke Institute for this problem in Roman Catholic clerics because this is not the ''focus~~ or institutional purpose of the Saint Luke Institute. This does not mean that it should not be addressed at times in an inpatient setting. It is mentioned because of its frequency of presentation only in this document.(2)Pedophilia or Sexual Molestation of Minors
This, of course, is the area which is the "newest" in the legal circles and the area that brings most panic and concern to the Bishops with respect to the clerics in their jurisdictions.
First, it should be made clear to all that pedophilia as described in psychiatry may be quite different from psychologists definitions, lawyers' definitions, or your own personal definitions (To add a little levity to this document, 'a pedophile is not, as one of our older clergy stated a few nights ago, a kind of bicycle!)
In the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Third Edition), which is accepted in the United States as the master manual or dictionary for mental disorders defines pedophilia as follows:
"A. The act or fantasy of engaging in sexual activity with prepubertal children as a repeatedly preferred or exclusive method of achieving sexual excitement.
B. If the individual is an adult, the prepubertal children are at least ten years younger than the individual. If the individual is a late adolescent, no precise age difference is required, and clinical judgment must take into account the age difference as well as the sexual maturity of the child."
Adults with the disorder are oriented toward children of the other sex twice as often as toward children of the same sex. The sexual behavior of these two groups is different. Heterosexually oriented males tend to prefer eight to ten year old girls, the desired sexual activity usually being limited to looking or touching. Most incidents are initiated by adults who are in the intimate interpersonal environment of the child. Homosexually oriented males tend to prefer slightly older children. The percentage of couples in this group who know each other only casually is higher than in the heterosexually oriented group. Individuals with undifferentiated sexual object preference tend to prefer younger children than either of the other two groups. Most individuals oriented homosexually have not been married, whereas most individuals oriented heterosexually either have been or are married.I have been surprised by the clinical ignorance of many of my own psychiatric colleagues in this area and by other mental health professionals. I state this to you so that we may put in a kind of context why the problem of sexual molestation of children may be such a "strange phenomenon" to you also. It is not that. we are ignorant people in the area of human behavior; instead, it is that the public has allowed a greater tolerance for all types of sexual behaviors and discussion of different sexual behaviors in the past twenty years. In the past three years, I would say that the area of incest and specifically child sexual abuse has been a topic opened up in the media and now in all states with respect to changes in the law. Please do not feel "preached to" or that your past views and ways of dealing with this disorder have been "wrong." We,in the Roman Catholic Church specifically, have all been surprised by the abuse of the public image of the cleric that is now being challenged and "smeared" by the media in many ways. The purpose of this document and your discussion in Collegeville at Saint John s Abbey this past suxnmer is to educate you as much as we can in our professional capacities and try to help keep you abreast of developments in this sensitive and devastating area of human behavior.
One natural question that should emerge as you read this first section would be: "If a priest has recurrent fantasies and/or sexual activity with a fifteen year old boy, does this fit the psychiatric definition of pedophilia?" The answer is not However, it is inappropriate behavior from many viewpoints, not the least of which is that it is illegal in all fifty states. Another question related to this situation might be: "Does this mean that we are dealing with the same 'disease as pedophilia even though it does not strictly fit the definition in the DSM III manual I quoted to you above?" The answer is a difficult one, but generally we could say that we are basically dealing with a similar or parallel disorder with the age preference simply shifted to post pubertal young adolescents instead of prepubertal children. According to the law in most states you are dealing with the same legal liabilities and questions.
Why would clerics or anyone prefer youngsters for fantasy and/or sexually acting out behaviors? To be a purist, I would have to say that this question is just being investigated in a scientific fashion. We have been hampered in our profession by extreme moral judgmeu.talism, if I may use the phrase, and it is only in very few medical schools in this country that the issue is treated or even addressed properly. The Johns Hopkins Hospital Sexual Disorders Clinic run by Dr. John Money and Dr. Fred Berlinis probably the "authority" scientific community. I know personally bath of these highly respected scientists and I am very appreciative of their efforts to bring this psychiatric disorder out of the shadows and into the "scientific daylight" so that we can begin to see the disorder as a psychiatric disease and not a moral weakness. We are at approximately the same point in time with pedophilia in the medical/psychiatric world as we were with alcoholism in the late 1950 s when the American Medical Association finally agreed that alcoholism was a disease of its own right and not a weakness or a"personality disorder" or "personality defect". I am professionally working with Dr. Fred Berlin, both in his research endeavors with this disease and clinically with respect to legal testimony in different jurisdictions to help educate the court jurisdictions about the "hope" for treatment and rehabilitation of persons with this disease.
Despite my disclaimer at the beginning of this page, I would say as a very careful "thinker" in this area and a person well aware of the scientific research in this area that the etiology of this disorder is most likely biological with a strong contribution of premature, early childhood introductions to sexual behaviors as being the environmental co etiologic contributor. In the simplest terms, it is highly likely that in utero a type of programming of the brains of all persons takes place that contributes to the later expression of sexual behaviors in humans. This includes sexual orientation (i.e., heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual), sexual energy level (i.e., libido, a term coined by Sigmund Freud to describe sexual erotic drive), and perhaps even erotic age preference (i.e., pedophilia vs preference for age appropriate partners).If, and when, this biological basis for human sexual behaviors becomes more accepted scientific "fact" in the future years, the Roman Catholic Church is going to have to look very hard at our current "constructs" in moral theology and reassess some of our basic "Statements" which have been codified and accepted without question for many years, if not centuries in some cases. But my point is not one in the area of moral theology; my point is that if there is a biological contribution to the behaviors, such as pedo philia, there is likely to follow biological "helps" to these persons and hope for better treatment modalities can be envisioned. This is already the case in the use of medroxyprogesterone (Depo Provera) which is a drug which has brought new hope to this area of treatment in psychiatry and something that will be discussed in depth in another section of this document.
Finally, I would like to make a point about the "behaviors" that present as pedophilia or present as illegal behaviors to minors on the part of clerics. Obviously, performing oral sex (fellatio) on a minor or child or having anal intercourse with a male child or vaginal intercourse with a female child are sexual acts that fall in the category of pedophilia or sexual molestation of minors.
However, in my clinical experience, this is not the usual presentation of pedophilia or sexual molestation of adolescents. Some of the following would be examples that may surprise you:
(a) A cleric who touches the toes of a minor with a Q Tip, explaining to the young child that it is a scientific experiment, while sexually excited by this, constitutes an unusual presentation of pedophilia.
(b) A cleric who has young children act in plays with their shirts off and playing ostensibly "games", touching the child s chest only or hair may be a presenting form of pedophilia.
(c) A cleric who sleeps in the same bed with a child without touching the genitals is but just holding the child in an affectionate manner is a common presenting, form of pedophilia.
(d) A cleric who touches the hair, chest, buttocks of a sleeping child without the child awakening ever or responding sexually in return or ever being ai of the touching could be a co~on presenting form of pedophilia.
These four unusual examples would represent only the "surface issues" for these clerics in terms of their sexual proclivities or psychiatric disease. It takes a psychiatrist or psychologist with great skill and patience to be able to obtain from such persons the "real story" of their preference for children or adolescents. This disorder may begin at any time in adulthood; most frequently it begins in middle age. In my experience, most of the pedophiliac clerics I have seen and my colleagues have dealt with are homosexual pedophiles and not heterosexual pedophiles; this is surprising since the greater percentage in the general population is the opposite.
As will be discussed later, the recidivism (relapse) rate for pedophilia is second only to exhibitionism, particularly for homosexual pedophilia. This is whether the person has received ''traditional psychiatric treatment or not.
This is a very fascinating disorder and is defined as a psychiatric disease by the DSM III referred to previously:
"The essential feature is repetitive acts of exposing the genitals to an unsuspecting stranger for the purpose of achieving sexual excitement, with no attempt at further sexual activity with the stranger. The wish to surprise or shock the observer is often consciously perceived or close to conscious awareness, but these individuals usually are not physically dangerous to the victim. Sometimes the individual masturbates while exposing himself. The condition apparently occurs only in males, and the victims are female children or adults."
This disorder is not seen that frequently in clerics, but enough that it should be mentioned here in this document. It represents one of the "victimless crimes" but the legal sanctions and prison sentences for these individuals may be long and unfair with reference to the lack of harm it does to the "victim."
It is the most resistant paraphilia to treatment in any form, followed as mentioned above, by homosexual pedophilia as the second paraphilia most resistant to treatment.
TYPES OF PRESENTATION TO THE DIOCESES
The most common way that it is made known to the Ordinary that a cleric may have a sexual disorder such as pedophilia is for a parent of a child to go to their local Pastor, Chancery official or the Bishop himself and express concern or make an accusation against a cleric for sexually touching or molesting their child. To date, this kind of presentation has been the most helpful one for us all since usually the parent is Roman Catholic and confused, concerned about the child and also confused and concerned about the priest or cleric.
Another presentation may be simply an attorney calling the Chancery and informing the Bishop that a criminal action has been filed or a civil suit has been filed against one of his clerics. This is a most distasteful and dangerous way in which the information can come to the attention of the Ordinary. In general, and please make sure you understand me here, it has been my experience that such presentations come only when the Ordinary has already been aware of sexual misbehaviors before and no action has been taken in the past except perhaps to move the cleric to a new assignment.
The least common, but most helpful, presentation is when the cleric himself comes to his Ordinary and admits that he has sexual difficulties that could endanger himself legally as well as jeopardize the Diocese as an entity. We have only seen this in the recent past where Ordinaries have done workshops in their Dioceses educating their clerics and administrators or schools abou the disease of pedophilia, incest, physical child abuse. Clerics have come forward after such compassionate presentations. and asked for help. It is for this reason, and many others, that I would advise that every Diocese in the U.S. in the next year have such a presentation done by an attorney, a psychiatrist who is familiar with this disease (very few psychiatrists know anything about pedophilia), and the Ordinary himself.
SUGGESTED GUIDELINES TO ORDINARIES WHEN REPORTS OF SEXUAL ABUSE OF CHILDREN BY THEIR CLERICS COME TO THE ORDINARIES ATTENTION:
(1) Interview with Parents
My first suggestion is that the parent(s) be asked to see one Chancery official immediately and for the official to be a compassionate, understanding, sympathetic individual who (hopefully) has had some experience in interviewing disturbed parents. Such an individual can without "grilling" the parents get a good feeling for the veracity of the accusation against the cleric. I would not suggest that the child be interviewed immediately as the first step and generally such interviews with potentially molested children should be done only by mental health professionals who are very familiar with the presentation of the disease in different age groups of children.
(2) Interview with Cleric
If the appointed Chancery official feels that there is any possible substance to the accusation of the parent, the Ordinary (and I would exclude personally any Auxiliary Bishops or other Chancery officials), if feasible, should IMMEDIATELY ask the priest to come to see him within a few hours. The Ordinary should make known to the cleric that the accusation has been made against him and that the Diocese will do everything to be helpful to the cleric. Unfortunately truth, guilt, innocence, or procedure are not the issues that we have the leisure to entertain on behalf of the clerics in this point in time in 1985. In general, the adage that "where there is smoke there is fire" is almost always true. I am not saying that it is impossible for a false accusation to be made; I am saying that in general the "tip of the iceberg" is being exposed with a single accusation and that the cleric will generally need some kin4 of professional and legal help in a very short period of time.
(3) Immediate Action of the Ordinary
If the cleric admits to any kind of sexual misconduct, the Ordinary should "reward" him with his support and reinforce the important and "sacred relationship" which we believe exists between the Ordinary a~xd his clerics.
If the cleric does not admit to any type of sexual misconduct to his Ordinary it is my suggestion that the Ordinary tell him of his obligation to support and try to help him. However, he should remind him of the "spiritual bond" and other aspects of the relationship of Ordinary and cleric that we believe exist in grace and exist in Canon Law
*** IT IS MY PERSONAL OPINION that in either case, the Ordinary, if convinced initially by his "trusted" Chancery interviewer of the parent(s) that the allegation has any possible merit or truth, should suspend immediately the cleric. This may be done without a trial and by means of an extra judicial decree (Canon 1342).
The purpose of this "temporary suspension" is to indicate clearly that the Ordinary in his relationship with his cleric believes that an investigation of the accusations are warranted and that the cleric must have a psychiatric evaluation in the near future. This is a form of "protection" for the Ordinary and the Diocese. For example, if the Ordinary is called to the witness stand and asked what he did when he learned of the sexual allegation against that eight year old boy made by a responsible parent, the Ordinary may point to the procedure in the Code of Canon Law and state that he did the first responsible action that the Code allows. Namely, he formally informed the cleric that he could not function as his representative in the diocesan assignment until an investigation revealed his guilt or innocence; this is done to protect the Diocese and to protect the general public, especially the family or families that had the courage to come forward and inform the Ordinary of the possible misconduct.
I would next suggest that the cleric be moved IMMEDIATELY from the parish rectory and into a retreat house, monastery. Bisbop s residence and not allowed to function in any priestly capacity in that domicile until the next steps of investigation, legal inquiry With a civil attorney, and
*** See Canonical Revision, pp. 61-62, 7-28-86. more information is obtained concerning the allegations in an appropriate fashion.
The cleric should be reassured that because suspension and moving to a "safer place" is being demanded of him immediately that this does not indicate in any fashion that the Ordinary believes he is "guilty". It is simply a legal, social and psychiatric fact that some action must be taken immediately which indicates to the families, legal authorities, reporting agencies, and future litigating attorneys that the Ordinary takes such accusations with great seriousness.
The cleric should be reassured further that legal consultation with an attorney by the Ordinary will be done immediately and the attorney will be notified of those two actions as part of a "standard policy" of the Diocese.
Because the reality of the accusations are so frequently true, the Ordinary should be concerned about suicide and other impulsive self destructive behavior. It is my suggestion that he be moved to a place where a friend could remain with him on a temporary basis until other actions are taken. The "friend" should be sworn to confidentiality so that defamation of character of the accused cleric could never be claimed against the Ordinary by the cleric. Further, the conversation between the Ordinary and the cleric should be immediately documented by the Ordinary in the format of a Memorandum and the suspension should be typed and handed to the cleric as outlined in the Code.LEGAL ADVICE
INTRODUCTION: It is again my personal suggestion that each Ordinary in the coming months consider carefully the development of a Diocesan Internal Policy concerning cleric personnel files and their contents, the procedure to be followed uniformly when sexual accusations are made against clerics in that Diocese, clear legal opinion documented concerning the reporting 1 in your respective States and how the reporting is to be done with reference to a cleric, your guidelines concerning interviewing parents and children, your guidelines concerning evaluation of the cleric, your guidelines concerning suspension, your guidelines concerning treatment programs and other pertinent policies that will be followed when the next unforseen accusation is made against a cleric. It has been my experience that when such policies are determined and written that better treatment of the families, clerics, and the dioceses themselves have better outcomes.
CHOOSING AN ATTORNEY FOR ADVICE:
Frequently, it is common practice for dioceses to have one or more legal firms represent them in different matters. However, ignorance among attorneys be as great in this very specialized field of sexual abuse law as it is am mental health professionals who do not deal with it everyday.
It is my strong personal opinion that you inquire immediately of your legal firm for the name of a CRIMINAL TRIAL ATTORNEY who is either in that same legal firm or another firm who is familiar with child sexual abuse laws in your State. In dioceses in the U.S. which are very small or who have very infrequent problems in this area, it may be necessary to request immediate legal advice from the USCC or the Papal Pro Nuncio. There are a number of trial lawyers in the U.S. who have handled many of these complex cases who can immediately be of help to any attorney who is willing to listen..[section missing]
I cannot emphasize strongly enough the importance of being confident that the attorney you turn to immediately as the Ordinary will give you the most current and correct and prudent advice on your behalf and that of the cleric at least in the beginning. It may be necessary, as your attorney will inform you, that if criminal proceedings are initiated against the cleric himself that a separate attorney should be sought for the cleric so that there can be no conflict of interest with the attorney who is representing the diocesan entity.
REPORTING LAWS IN YOUR STATE:
One of the most difficult concepts for all of us to understand at this time is that reporting laws concerning physical, psychological and sexual abuse of children are changing rapidly in most states and that clerics are NEVER an exception to the reporting laws. Our dependence in the past on Roman Catholic judges and attorneys protecting the Dioceses and clerics is GONE.
You should immediately have a trial attorney write for you personally the reporting laws in your State concerning sexual abuse of children. You will find, almost without exception, that very few persons are ever exempt from reporting SUSPECTED CHILD ABUSE. In the case of diocesan agencies, Catholic Charities routinely in most jurisdictions have attorneys that they work with everyday with respect to reporting suspected physical or sexual child abuse to the appropriate agency. If the perpetrator or accused person is a cleric, this means nothing in the law in almost all jurisdictions.
However, THERE IS REPORTING......AND THERE IS REPORTING! This adage which I have coined means that there are different ways in which the Diocese or the diocesan agency (including the Ordinary himself) can make the report and fulfill the law. Failure to report the child abuse suspicion by a cleric by the Diocese is probably the most common error and greatest vulnerability in the long term with respect to civil suit against the Diocese and Ordinary in the future.
WHAT ADVICE WILL YOUR ATTORNEY GIVE YOU:
I DON'T KNOW: However, it is my personal experience again that 'seasoned trial attorneys will give you advice instantly and competently and I would STRONGLY suggest that you follow their advice to the letter for your protection and that of the cleric.
It would be my suggestion that the attorney meet with the cleric IMMEDIATELY following the meeting the cleric has with his Ordinary. Such a meeting is PRIVILEGED and he may learn from the cleric much more factual information that will be helpful within 24 hours concerning decisions of evaluation of the cleric, how and when to report to the state agency or local law enforcement agency, etc. The attorney may not, however, be able to reveal to you any of the information gained during that PRIVILEGED interview with the accused cleric, but his advice may be stronger and give you a better time line or time frame.
Certainly the attorney should be asked if he has a psychologist or psychiatrist who is familiar with child abuse cases and interviewing the victims. Such a person should be sought rather quickly so that the family will be reassured that the Diocese is beginning to take action on the accusation and that it is on behalf of the child. The reporting laws and procedures, however, may make this not feasible and this is the reason why the attorney s advice should be sought first.
It has been our experience that following an interview with a trial attorney of the cleric, referral for evaluation is generally the next step and is almos always looked on favorably by the state or local agencies as a positive step by the Diocese to help the cleric as well as responding positively to the family cry for help in the identifying of the cleric as a potential child molester.I AM NOT AN ATTORNEY: This is obvious to you all. I would only implore that you rather quickly investigate and have a written opinion by a trial attorney for you personally on behalf of your Diocese about reporting laws for diocesan school teachers, janitors, employees in schools, other clerics (outside of the Seal of Confession) who "counsel" in their rectories or give advice to Principals of their schools.
You might also remind the civil attorney that "transitional deacons" and "permanent deacons" are now considered in the new Code as clerics and that 'legal responsibility for these individuals is something that will inevitably have to be dealt with at some time time in the future.
You will note in the "Confidential Crisis Proposal" that there is a rather complete canonical treatment of these issues and you might find that section rather interesting reading when you have a free moment. There is also a ver interesting civil law section written by one attorney who has had a very "famous" cleric recently indicted for pedophilia and he asks many questions that your civil attorney may be interested in. The case law in this area, as you may already know, is not very well developed, but the legal article in the last section of this document called "Clergy Malpractice" promises us all that they are seeing in particular the Roman Catholic Church in the U.S. as a potential "deep pocket" now that the trial lawyers have begun to exhaust medical malpractice. I am sure you have all seen the article, but it sent "shivers" down my spine since I have lived personally through the development of case law in medical malpractice and have watched it in some instances destroy fine physicians. I pray daily that we will not be treated is such a fashion by our legal system in the future, but the article would imply otherwise.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
History of Proposal 2
Confidentiality of This Document 3
Illustration of One Case 5
General Discussion 9
DESCRIPTIONS OF POSSIBLE CASE SCENARIOS 14
Criminal Law Questions 16
Civil Law Questions 18
Canon Law Questions 22
Clinical/Medical Questions 26
SUMMARY OF CONSIDERATION 32
Insurance Considerations 32
Civil Law Considerations 34
Criminal Law Considerations 42
Clinical/Medical Considerations 47
Canonical Considerations 58
Selected Spiritual Concerns 74
Public Relations Concerns 77
PROJECT PROPOSAL 80
The Committee 80
The Group of Four Bishops 80
The Crisis Control Team 81
The Policy and Planninq Group 82
SCOPE OF SERVICES 84
The Crisis Control Team 84
The Policy and Planning Group 87
CONCLUSION 93 FORWARD
This document contains a discussion of an extremely serious situation and a proposal to establish and fund a Special Project to be comprised of a Crisis Control Team and a Policy and Planning Group.
Both the Team and the Group would work under the direct control and supervision of an ad hoc Committee of four Bishops, all of whom have civil law degrees. This Committee of four shall control every aspect of the Special Project, subject to the supervision of a Committee formed out of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, under whose auspices they shall be appointed, receive authority, and serve.
The Project itself, both the Team and the Group, shall be comprised of professionals and consultants who possess a significant degree of experience and expertise in their given fields. Some of this group of experts from different disciplines shall devote the entirety of their professional endeavor to the Project during its existence. Other experts shall be retained as required. However, a group of professionals shall be working full time on the Project.
It is contemplated that the minimum life of the Special Project shall be five years. It is believed that following the completion of that term, it would be beneficial to retain some of the elements of the Project in place as Opposed to dismantling the entire structure. The cost of the Project is dependent upon the caliber of consultants retained, their degree of expertise and experience, and the portion of their professional life to be devoted to the Project. The cost shall be substantial.
HISTORY OF PROPOSAL:
Some extremely serious issues have arisen which issues presently place
the Church in the posture of facing extremely serious financial consequences
as well as significant injury to its image. As a result of sexual molestation
of children by Clerics (Priests, Permanent Deacons, Transient Deacons),
non ordained Religious, lay employees and seminarians, for many months there
has been continuous confidential communication amongst some expert consultants
and Clergy, all of whom possess hands on experience with the more serious
cases of sexual molestation. Through those discussions, the idea of this
Project was born. The scope of the Project has been defined and re defined
until it reached the final form presented herein. It is contemplated that
the very nature of the Project shall cause further re definition during
The Criminal Considerations, Civil Considerations, Canonical Considerations, and Clinical Considerations are of such magnitude, not to mention the other substantial considerations such as Insurance and Public Relations, that it was decided that thepresentation of these extraordinary issues necessitated an extraordinary response, a response which would affirmatively and aggressively attack the problems. This is a very new and narrow area of legal jurisprudence which is developing with a very adverse effect upon the Church s interests. In addition to the legal issues, there are unique Canonical Considerations and extremely complex Clinical Considerations which cannot or should not be addressed in a piecemeal manner.
It is submitted that time is of the essence. At the moment this is being read, problems with which the Project will deal are continuously arising. Many of these problems appear to be old problems, and indeed some are. However, all now carry consequences never before experienced.
CONFIDENTIALITY OF THIS DOCUMENT:
The necessity for protecting the confidentiality of this document cannot
The document was drafted by retained counsel hired for the specific purpose of communicating to the reader, however, though much of the language is that of counsel, the document is reflective of the thoughts of Clergy and other professionals in different disciplines, professionals who have worked closely with counsel throughout the development of these ideas. An effort has been made to have this document afforded the protection and privilege provided under our law for confidential communications. That privilege shall not apply should the reader discuss same with anyone other than a recipient of this document.
In an abundance of caution and in consideration of the reader, great
care has been given to protect the anonymity of any case mentioned or alluded
to, and further there is no specific reference herinbelow nor is there any
allusion to any fact in litigation which has not been publicly reported
in the press. This has been done to protect the reader so that the reader
may not be placed in a position of having received any specific knowledge
not generally known to the public and thereby become the target of a subpoena
or other discovery device.
The national press has an active interest in items discussed herein, and therefore, an abundance of caution is required. It is requested that each reader return the document to the person from whom they received same, without copying. It is requested that no copy be retained by the reader. The rationale for this request is the great interest of the press. Over the last two weeks there has been national press coverage of the problem and that coverage is increasing. Security for the entire Project is extremely important.
AN ILLUSTRATION OF ONE CASE:
Over ONE HUNDRED MILLION DOLLARS (S100,000,000.00) in claims have been made against one Diocese as a result of sexual contact between one Priest and a number of minor children. To date the cost of this catastrophe exceeds FIVE MILLION DOLLARS ($5,000,000.00) and the projected cost of concluding the civil cases in that Diocese alone is in excess of TEN MILLION DOLLARS (Sl0,000,000.00).(1)
It is not hyperbolic to state that the dramatic description of the actual case contained hereinabove is indicative that a real, present danger exists. That other cases exist and are arising with increased frequency is evidenced by reports of same. If one could accurately predict, with actuarial soundness, that our exposure to similar claims (i.e. one offender and fifteen or so claimants) over the next ten years could be restricted and limited to the occurrence of one hundred such cases against the Church,
(1) Settlements for seven cases and fees and expenses exceeded $5,000,000.00.
The average settlement for each case was nearly $500,000.00. Ten cases remain
to be settled.then an estimate of the total projected losses for the decade
could be established with a limit of ONE BILLIION DOLLARS ($1,000,000,000.00).(2)
A TEN BILLION DOLLAR (SlO,OOO.,OOO,OOO.OO) class action lawsuit has been threatened, which threat is documented, and others who have not threatened same in writing, including Melvin Belli of San Francisco, are contemplating same. The suit would be brought on behalf of a number of children who are alleged victims of sexual abuse by priests and would be filed against the entirety of the Church. The effort would be to embroil the whole structure in the controversy and conduct discovery in each and every Diocese in this country in an effort to discover all damaging information.
The financial factors mentioned in the preceding paragraphs are actual and illustrative of what is now occurring in sexual molestation cases across the country.
In the case cited above, the priest has been charged in a thirty four count criminal indictment by a Grand Jury and the crimes with which he is charged carry a sentence upon conviction of life imprisonment without benefit of pardon or parole. The estimated cost of criminal defense is one half million dollars and with the prospect of a lengthy trial.
(2) Approximately thirty cases have been reported in the press involving
approximately one hundred children. At the rate the cases were settled in
the first paragraph, over $400,000,000.00 will be needed just for these
cases. As this was being typed on June 8, 1985, the Associated Press reported
the arrest of a priest in Florida. At the rate cases are developing, $1,000,000,000.00
over ten years is a conservative cost projection. The Priest is presently
housed at a private mental institution approved by the Court where he shall
remain pending trial at a cost of ten thousand dollars monthly.
There are a number of civil trials from that case which have been set to commence beginning September 10, 1985.
Each development of that case has carried with it attendant adverse publicity. That publicity was local in nature originally but has now become national.
There are presently a significant number of other sexual molestation cases involving Priests which exist in other jurisdictions. This document shall not allude to those out of deference to the reader as many aspects of same have not been widely reported.
Presently all three major networks (ABC, NBC, CBS) and sub divisions of same (20/20, 60 Minutes), as well as CNN NEWS have reporters assigned to developing stories. Some have had crews on location shooting second unit (background) footage for inclusion in segments to be shown later. All national radio networks, as well as CBS Evening News and NBC Evening News have shot filmed reports.
A minimum of six national print publications (NEW YORK TIMES, THE WASHINGTON POST, NATIONAL CATHOLIC REPORTER, VANITY FAIR, MOTHER JONES and ROLLING STONE) have reporters in place trying to tie the isolated, regional episodes into a national story, presumably one of scandalous proportions. Several of these publications have already published lengthy articles (See NCR 7 June 1985). Two previously published authors, Mr; Jason Berry (author of Amazing Grace and regular contributor to many magazines of national import) and Mr. Chris Segura (author of Marshland Brace, which was nominated for the Pulitzer and a former wire reporter covering European Affairs), are attempting to place book proposals with publishers on this topic. At least one writer has applied to the Fund for Investigative Journalism for a grant to do a full length work on Pedophilia, Priests and the Catholic Church. All major wire services are now distributing articles and national commentators such as Paul Harvey have done pieces.
The American Bar Association and other groups comprised primarily of plaintiff lawyers are conducting studies, scheduling panel conferences, and devising other methods of disseminating information about this newly developing area of law. Thus far three plaintiff lawyers representing children who have sued the Church have agreed to make a presentation at two national meetings of the Bar to educate other lawyers on methods of successfully suing the Church.
Our Diocesan lawyers have themsleves addressed this situation and some of its ramifications as recently as their April meeting in Chicago and there presently exists an ongoing effort by some to study the problems. Though these efforts may produce significant studies, it is believed that the retention of full time professionals and expert consultants is preferable to relying upon those whose responsibilities are already full time to takethis task and exert the requisite effort. It is contemplated that the Project, where feasible, shall avail itself of already existing resources and in Some instances a coalition between those within the official structure of the Church and outside consultants on the Project shall be formed, i.e. where competent professionals exist within the USCC and other organizations and have work loads requiring less than their full attention, then, in those situations it is possible the Project personnel may reach to those resources for assistance.
A GENERAL DISCUSSION:
There are many newly developing areas of jurisprudence which deserve
our attention. An example is the newly developing area of Clergy malpractice.
Suits are being filed against Protestant Ministers and Catholic Clergy.
These malpractice cases involve situations where clerics give advice which
is considered by the civil courts to be beyond their sphere of expertise
or competence. This advice allegedly causes catastrophic consequences (divorce,
suicide) resulting in civil suits. This document recognizes that a vast
number of such issues exist separate and apart from sexual molestation,
have been discussed in the confidential consultations and meetings referred
to above. It is contemplated that the Projectwill deal with those issues
as well as all other issues referred to it. However, this document has largely
been restricted to a discussion of what has been perceived as the pressing
problem, the possible cost to the Catholic Church of many millions of dollars
and the potential devastating injury to its image as a result of inappropriate
or felonious sexual activity between Priests and parishioners, lay employees
of Religious Institutions and third parties, and related areas involving
consequential civil responsibility and criminal sanctions . . . which situations
give rise to Canonical and Clinical Considerations equal in import to the
This is the "age of litigation." The potential exposure to the Catholic Church for the continuation of claimants coming forward in legal jurisdictions across the country is very great. Already, a large number of damage claims have been made and more are certain. It might have been unthinkable a few years ago for a Catholic parent to sue the Church. Similarly, there was a time when it was unthinkable for a patient to sue a physician. The analogy with medical malpractice is well taken. This area of jurisprudence, i.e. the Church s financial responsibility for damages caused by the sexual conduct of a Priest, is presently situated where medical malpractice litigation was a quarter century ago. There are absolutely no definitive appellate court decisions which exist at present on the substantive questions. The law is waiting to be made! And it will be made, with or without the Church s involvementin the process. presently the Church is prepared to participate in the process through the non uniform, random actions of individuals (local Diocesan lawyers and others) with the result being a divergent application of the Canonical, Clinical, Civil and Criminal Considerations. This Special Project seeks to rectify that immediately by making uniform assistance available to those Bishops and local lawyers who wish to avail themselves of this offered assistance.
In this age of litigation plantiff lawyers are constantly breaking barriers down, finding new causes of action, and searching for deep pockets, defendants to sue who possess great financial wealth. The Catholic Church is undoubtedly perceived by plaint~ lawyers to have very deep pockets, to have a very serious interest in its image, and therefore should become the biggest target in this newly developing field of jurisprudence, i.e. seeking comp~ sation for an allegedly abused child from the employer or parent organization of the wrongdoer.
"Pedophilia" and related deviant disorders is an area which has been closeted in Western Civilization for centuries. Most individuals and organizations, including the Church and Bishops, who were ever confronted with the issue of illicit sexual relationships between adults and children responded in a manner they thought to be responsible in an effort to protect the injured child and aid the offending Priest. It is now known because of strides in the Clinical field, that perhaps those actions insofar as they aided, comforted or enabled the sex offender to continue his secretlife were irresponsible and injurious to the sex offender. Though psychological study is still in its infancy in some respects, much more is known about the long and short term traumatic injury inflicted on the victim.
In any event, the entire issue of "Child Sexual Abuse," whether same be categorized as pedophiliac, homosexual or heterosexual, is displayed prominently across the front pages of newspapers where it shall remain for at least the balance of the decade (having replaced the sexual issue of the seventies, homosexuality).
The general awareness and consciousness of the public in regard to sexual abuse of children has reached a previously unattained level and shall continue to escalate with each new revelation of discovered cases of sexual molestation. This increased awareness, widespread publicity, and the excellent educational programs available to children, which we all support, shall increase the reporting of such incidents and increase the likelihood that both civil and criminal actions shall be instituted against the offender and those sought to be held legally responsible with the wrongdoer.
For well over a decade the news media of this country has exhibited a tendency to attack institutions presently or previously held in high esteem by the public, including the Presidency. The tendency is ever escalating, particularly in instances where the press can characterize a situation as scandalous.
Cases of this nature have all of the necessary elements for press reporters and plaintiff lawyers; there is a significantinjury, psychological in nature, to a sympathetic victim of tender age, an odious and heinous circumstance surrounding the infliction of injury which engenders prejudice and punitive awards from juries against the defendant Church, an organization perceived by many to be possessed of great wealth.
Also, the secular press attempts to portray the Church as hypocritical, as an organization preaching morality and providing sanctuary to perverts . . the attempts are in evidence today and shall escalate.
DESCRIPTION OF POSSIBLE CASE SCENARIOS
Experience has shown that sexual misconduct by the clergy takes a variety
of forms. While the cases have common threads running through them, there
are many dimensions and tangential aspects that could occur. All of the
elements of each case must be given careful study.
Though many hypothetical cases could be considered, the fol lowing are brief descriptions of five realistic yet hypothetical occurances. The listing is illustrative only, and intended to provide a basis for the pertinent questions which follow.
HYPOTHETICAL CASE NO. 1:
As Bishop, it comes to your attention, as a result of a visit from a parishioner, that an associate Pastor is suspected of having had sexual relations with one or more children not related to complaintant.
HYPOTHETICAL CASE NO. 2:
As a Bishop, you have confirmed a suspicion that a parish priest has,
over a long period of time, been involved sexually with juveniles.
HYPOTHETICAL CASE NO. 3:
As a Bishop, you have confirmed a suspicion that a parish priest has, over a long period of time, been involved sexually with juveniles and further that some of the parents have retained lawyers, some have gone to the criminal prosecutor and others have contacted various media representatives.
HYPOTHETICAL CASE NO. 4:
A case involving a pedophile priest arises in a jurisdiction where the
criminal Prosecutor has great animosity against the Church. This Prosecutor
has the most devastating of legal weapons in his arsenal, the Grand Jury
Subpoena, which allows him to bring all of the Diocesan records and personnel
he desires into a closed room, subject to cross examination, without counsel
to advise them. It is the setting for a witchhunt that the vindictive plaintiff
lawyer referred to above tried to institute in a civil case, i.e. it was
his announced intention to prove a
pervasive pattern of widespread sexual dysfunction and by implication argue same has been condoned by the Clergy. A case is now developing where these explosive elements are present.
HYPOTHETICAL CASE NO. 5:
A case involving a homosexual priest who has been suspended by a Bishop following the discovery of his sexual activity with a juvenile or adolescent. In this hypothet, the priest is a Gay Liberationist and as such retains the services of a Gay lawyer, the support of Gay organizations . . . and strikes back at us, suing to show, among other things, all sexual skeletons in our closet across the country. There is a strong Gay ministry movement as evidenced by the literature and this hypothetical confrontation can occur.
The following are select questions which should be considered in dealing with these kinds of cases. They are divided into the following categories: criminal law questions; civil law questions; canon law questions; clinical or medical questions.
CRIMINAL LAW QUESTIONS
1. Does sexual contact with minor children constitute a criminal offense?
Which types of sexual contact are considered felonious (involving maximum
imprisonment at hard labor) and which are classified as misdemeanors (involving
fines and minimum incarceration)?
2. At what age is a child considered to be an adult? At what young age is a child considered to be so tender as to cause a sexual crime to be considered by criminal law to be an aggravated crime, one which carries the most serious sentences such as life imprisonment?
3. What is the requirement in criminal law for one who has knowledge that a sexual crime has been committed to report that knowledge to the authorities? To which authorities (District Attorney, State Child Welfare Agency) must the report be made? What criminal law penalty, fine or jail term, would be given to a Bishop who failed to comply with the reporting law?
4. Is there any privilege which attaches to the communication between the Bishop and the Priest under criminal law? Can the Bishop be made to testify before a Grand Jury, give statements to police detectives or give evidence in a criminal trial against the priest?
S. Does the criminal law provide that the Bishop s files or other diocesan
records can be subpoened and utilized in a police investigation, Grand Jury
hearing, or a criminal trial?
6. Is there an obligation to provide constitutional due process to the Priest accused of sexual crimes, and furnish an attorney for the Priest prior to eliciting any incriminatory information? Must the Priest be provided this protection and can the priest reasonably refuse to answer questions posed by his Ordinary?
7. Should a criminal lawyer be retained for the Priest or by the Priest? A lawyer separate from Diocesan Counsel? At what stage should this be done? What financial obligations exist for payment of legal fees, expenses, bonding costs, etc?
CIVIL LAW QUESTIONS
1. What specific provisions for insurance coverage exist in regard to the civil law consequences of the sexual conduct between the Priest and child?
2. What contractual obligation, if any, exists in regard to notification of insurer? At what point should the insurance companies be told of the exposure?
3. What rights, if any, does the Bishop have in relationship to the civil law defense of the Diocese? Can the Bishop eitherselect or reject the particular attorneys to be utilized? Can the Bishop dictate any aspect of the handling of the case to ensure that the image of the Church is protected from injury?
4. If the Bishop is aware of sexual misconduct, or a propensity for sexual misconduct, that took place at an earlier date, does this fact become a critical question in subsequent litigation involving child molestation? In other words, if the Bishop has knowledge that a Priest sexually abused a child in 1970, does this knowledge affect his liability in the event of a similar incident in 1980? Does this prior knowledge by the Bishop constitute negligence on his part independent of Diocesan negligence? Can the Bishop be financially liable to the suing parties, independent of, or in addition to, liability of the Diocese?
5. What civil law obligations exist toward the child victim and the family of the child?
6. Can suits be brought against only the Corporate Entity, i.e. the Diocese, or can the superiors, including the hierarchical superiors (Pastor, Vicar General, Bishop, Metropolitan Archbishop, Papal Representative, Holy Father, Holy See) be named in the suits as well with some possibility, of success?7. Can the civil law suit be restricted to the one Priest and his actions, or will the suing parties be able to expose all other sexual misconduct of every other priest in the Diocese? Can the civil law courts cause the Bishop to give information regarding all aberrant sexual practices of Priests in the Diocese? Can all this information be subpoened, and will the Diocese be forced by civil law to provide the information?
8. Which parties can bring a civil law suit? Will the child be the only person entitled under civil law to a recovery of money? Can the parents sue and recover money?
9. What are the factors in civil law which determine what damages were incurred by the parties and what sums they shall receive?
10. Is there any provision in civil law for restricting the access of the press to the civil proceedings? Will all of the civil law proceedings be reported?
11. Which Canonical and Clinical procedures instituted at this juncture
shall be later viewed favorably by the civil law courts and which shall
be viewed unfavorably and why?
12. Which initially instituted measures will later be deemed prudent and reasonable by the civil law courts and which will be classified as imprudent and negligent?
13. In which civil law cases should the Diocese attempt to force its insurance companies to either settle cases quietly without public disclosure or, in the alternative, admit liability to prevent public disclosure or damaging information? What are the civil law effects of such settlements or admissions? What are the key factors which cause a Bishop to consider these alternatives? What effect will settlements and admissions have on future insurance premiums?
14. Which civil law cases should be defended through trial and appeal courts? What factors are to be considered in determining whether a case should settle or be tried? Most importantly, at what stage should the decision be made?
15. Does the Diocesan attorney have expertise and experience in trial law generally, and specifically does the Diocesan attorney have civil law and criminal law experience in the area of these sexual conduct cases? Should additional lawyers be hired? Should counsel be sought from lawyers with expertise and hands on experience in this field?16. What civil law precedents, if any, exist? What was the experience of prior cases and trial court decisions? What data bank, if any, exists which might contain accurate information from prior cases and circumstances in Dioceses across the country? Which individuals (lawyers, psychiatrists, canon lawyers, etc.) have expertise, experience, and information on the civil law cases and how does the Bishop contact the people and gain access to the information?
CANON LAW QUESTIONS
1. Should the bishop investigate the incident?
2. Does he have an obligation to conduct an investigation?
3. Does Canon Law provide a format for any type of investigation?
4. Is it necessary that an investigation preceed the Bishop s confrontation of the Cleric?
5. If there is a confrontation, are there any canonical procedures that should or must be followed?
6. If the Priest admits the allegations, and he is the only priest in the parish, how should the Bishop proceed?Page 23 ? Missing16. Is the Bishop canonically responsible for the Priest s support while he is suspended? If he is living in another diocese? If he is laicized?
17. Is such a priest suspected of any canonical delicts and liable to canonical penalties?
18. Does the Bishop have any canonical/moral/pastoral obligations toward the victims and their families?
19. Should the Bishop inform the Metropolitan and/or the Apostolic pro-Nuncio?
20. Does the canon law clearly define the Bishop s relationship to his Priests and Deacons (permanent and transient)?
21. What will the civil law perceive this relationship to be, based on ecclesiastical documentation available to the courts?
22. Should an expert in canon law be retained to assist in the case, possibly by helping prepare witnesses or appearing as an expert witness himself?
23. Where can such a canonical expert be found? Should he be affiliated with the NCCB, Nunciature, Holy See, etc.?24. Does the law provide for any general method of vigilance over the activities of Priests and other church employees?
25. Does the law provide for any method of investigation and consequent action in cases of complaints of misconduct?
26. Is there a canonical entity known as the Roman Catholic Church in the United States?
27. If a class action were so filed, would the National Bishops' Conference qualify as the canonical entity?
28. What is the canonical relationship of each Diocese and its Bishop to other ecclesiastical entities such as the Metropolitan See and Archbishop; the National Conference of Catholic Bishops; the United States Catholic Conference; the Apostolic Nunciature and the Pro-Nuncio; the Holy See and the Holy Father?
29. What is the canonical authority of the NCCB over individual Bishops and their dioceses?
30. Is there any protection for diocesan files, secret archives and tribunal records? CLINICAL/MEDICAL QUESTIONS
1. Are psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers equally qualified, both professionally and legally, to examine Clerics who have a suspected problem of sexual molestation of children?
2. If you ask a social worker, psychologist, or psychiatrist to examine and evaluate your Cleric, is he obliged under your state law to report this to the District Attorney or the Child Abuse Agency?
3. What is the difference between pedophilia, homosexuality and the sexual abuse of adolescent males or females?
4. Does the age of the offending Priest (older or younger) create a significant difference in his diagnosis and treatment?
5. Are there mitigating psychiatric disorders of which it would be important to be aware before proceeding with a decision on a treatment facility or a treatment program?
6. If there is a problem of alcohol or drug abuse complicating the problem of sexual abuse of children or adolescents, would any alcohol treatment center be capable nf treatinq both the alcohol or drug abuse and the sexual abuse issues?
7. Are the treatment centers presently used for Catholic Clergy and Religious, i.e. the Houses of Affirmation, Guest House, St. Luke Institute, the institutions of the Servants of the Paraclete L and Southdown (near Toronto) equally qualified to treat both the alcohol/drug abuse and dependence as well as cases of sexual abuse of children or adolescents? Do they all have follow up programs for two or more years that would monitor the Cleric s activity and report to the Ordinary?
8. If the case involves a repeat offender and prior psychiatric or psychological intervention has been useless, what drug therapy would be considered in the treatment of the sex offender, whether or not alcohol or other mitigating psychiatric disorders were present?
9. What constitutes sexual abuse? Does touching the buttocks of a fully clothed nine year old child constitute sexual abuse either in the law or from a psychiatrist s viewpoint? Does touching the covered genitalia of a fully clothed youngster constitute sexual abuse? Does masturbation of the child by the Priest or of the Priest by the child constitute sexual abuse?
10. Does the age of the child at the time of the abuse and the extent of the abuse have any effect on long term function or dysfunction of this child with adults?
11. At what age would an abused child be expected to fully comprehend and be cognizant of the long term effects of prolonged and severe sexual abuse by a lay person or by a Cleric?
12. If the juvenile were a sixteen year old boy, would this imply that the abuse would have a lesser impact in the adult life of this victim?
13. If the teenager appeared to initiate the sexual contact and seemed to Continue to enjoy it over a period of time, would this change the offense in the eyes of the law or in the eyes of a psychiatrist?
14. If the sexual contact is mainly with juvenile boys or adolescent boys, does this imply that the boys are more likely to be homosexually oriented in their future adult life as compared to abuse of pre pubertal children?
15. Clinically, in cases involving Cleric sexual offenders, is there a difference if the offender regularly abused children as opposed to adolescents? Is there a difference if the victims are pre pubertal girls as opposed to adolescent girls?
16. Would there be more likelihood that the adolescent boy or girl would "not tell the truth" as compared to a pre pubertal child?17. If there is a "mitigating" psychiatric disorder or psychological disorder, would it make any difference in where you would send this priest for treatment?
18. Of the facilities listed in number 7 above, which offers a complete neurological and neuropsychological as well as complete physical and medical evaluations as well as psychological testing? Would the facility and the variety of evaluations be important in determining the presence of mitigating medical or psychiatric disorders?
19. What kind of pre-intervention strategy should the ordinary consider?
20. How soon should a complete evaluation be done?
21. Should the alleged Priest offender see anyone else before the evaluation?
22. What are the causes of sexual abuse by Roman Catholic clergy?
23. What should an Ordinary look for and expect in an adequate evaluation of a cleric?
24. How can an Ordinary know which treatment center is best for the needs of the alleged offender?
25. Can a Priest/cleric ever return and function in the Diocese?
26. What should the Ordinary do with regard to the families of
SIGNIFICANT CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LAW CONSIDERATIONS
The following criminal and civil law considerations follow upon the pertinent
question in the same area, posed elsewhere. These are not to be construed
as answers to these questions. Rather, they expand upon the questions and
suggest the importance in dealing effectively with the various aspects of
these two dimensions of this problem.
SUMMARY OF CONSIDERATIONS
1. Loss of Liability Insurance Coverage to Each and Every Diocese. It is highly probable that specific, exclusionary language shall begin to appear following a few years experience in all Diocesan liability policies which shall exclude coverage to the Diocese, the Bishop, Vicars, Clergy and other personnel for "coverage of claims arising as a result of sexual contact between a Priest and parishioner, an employee and any member of the public
Such an exclusion was adopted as an insurance industry standard on January 1, 1985 for the psychiatric and psychological profession. Coveraqe for those professions and the entities, partnerships, corporations, and associations which employ them is no longer available for "claims arising as a result of sexual contact between patient and therapist or other employee.
The exclusion was a reaction to payment of large claims by insurance companies over several years and an inability actuarily to predict the risk that a physician might have sexual contact with a patient.
The estimated cost of the loss of coverage correlates to the remarks contained in the introduction. The cost could be hundreds of millions.
This threatens the very economic viability of the Church s mission in many areas.
2. Interim Increased Cost of Liability Insurance Coverage.
Following the experience by insurance companies of a number of claims resulting in large monetary court awards or cash settlements involving insurance funds and prior to the cancellation of coverage referred to above, a significantly higher acturial value would be assigned to the risk, resulting in a significantly increased premium cost.
One Diocese which experienced insurance losses as a result of a Priest sexually molesting children has been notified that the insurance premium shall increase more than 25 percent.
According to Time Magazine (June 3, 1985) a day care center which suffered a child molestation experience was forced to pay a liability premium which increased nearly 750 percent, from $600 dollars per year to $8,000 dollars per year.
This individual increase to each Diocese, weighted in aggregate will cost many millions.
I. Liability of Bishops.
Some debate exists in the civil law s understanding of the relationship between a Bishop and his Priests and major religious superiors and their subjects.
The extent of responsibility a Bishop or religious superior has in regard
to tortious or felonious conduct of his Priests/subjects has not been defined
in the original sense by the higher courts of the civil law system, and
thus, the exceptions to such original definition do not exist. There are
absolutely no reported civil court decisions on the issues. This body of
law is just beginning to develop with the filing of these cases.
The Bishop s responsibility beyond incardinated Priests, for the actions of non incardinated Priests assigned for study, special work, visiting (or having been suspended by another) as well as a Bishop s responsibility for one whom he has suspended who is residing elsewhere, including a treatment center without appropriate supervision . . . the questions await definition.
2. Impact of Code of Canon Law on Civil Courts.
The Canon Law shall play an important part of the Civil damage cases. The interpretation of Canon Law by plaintiff lawyers in litigation has already been experienced. No court has yet made rulings in this regard.
It is well founded in civil cases that operation manuals, policy and procedure memoranda, and other documents generated as guidelines by the civil defendant may be utilized in evidence.
That the Code of Canon Law actually has the effect of Law over our personnel
shall make it more relevant than some civil document which constitutes no
more than a guideline.
The impact may be negative or positive depending on the preparation of the civil lawyer and the participation o~ a canon lawyer in cases where the issue presents itself.
3. Liability of Larger Ecclesiastical Entities
Presently there are efforts to sue, successfully, not only a diocese but also a bishop, diocesan vicars, the metopolitan archdiocese, the Holy See s representative in the United States and the Holy Father himself. These cases are being partially settled by the insurance companies without first attempting to settle the question for the civil jurisdiction in question.
The trend to expand the circle of responsibility beyond the diocese of the priests in question but to the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Apostolic Pro Nuncio and the Holy Father himself shall continue.
In great measure the courts shall look to both the civil law and the canon law to comprehend the relationship of these other ecclesiastical entities with the diocese in question, the bishop and the priest-offender himself.
It is highly probable, nearly certain, that each and every Ordinary in the United states shall be made a party defendant in a federal class action suit, the threat of which has been documented in correspondence to the General counsel's office of the USCC NCCB. In a class action every Ordinary in the country would have to testify about every instance of aberrrant sexual conduct in their diocese, produce all records relating to aberrant sexual practices, and defend their actions or inaction in each instance.
The Papal representative in the United States, the Holy Father, and the NCCB will be the primary target of lawsuits seeking to establish their direct responsibility for the grave injury suffered by the child victims. In these efforts plaintiff lawyers will utilize, possibly to their advantage, the structures set forth in the Code of Canon Law describing the inter relationship and inter dependence of these various ecclesiastical entities. The project proposed herein shall address these extremely serious issues, and attempt to provide acceptable solutions.
4. Responsibility for Seminarians
The responsibility for seminarians is two-edged in that there is a responsibility on the part of the Ordinary for things done by the seminarian and things done to the seminarian.
Depending on the geographic location of the seminary as well as the canonical
and corporate structure, more than
one bishop may be involved in answering the questions of responsibility. It is also possible that the wider ecclesiastical entities may be involved if the seminary has some direct connections to the Holy See. (i.e., a Pontifical seminary, inter diocesan seminary etc.)
5. Responsibility of Bishops for Visiting Clergy
A bishop may extend hospitality to a priest who is not incardinated to his diocese and allow said priest to live and work as a priest in his own diocese. If the priest has a history of problems involving sexual misconduct and the bishop is aware of this and allows the priest to live and work in his diocese anyway, there are serious questions regarding his responsibility to act in the event of a subsequent incident.
A legal agreement between the host bishop and the priest s own Ordinary may provide a partial remedy to problems per suant to an incident.
6. Maintenance of Diocesan Records
A paramount concern is the security of diocesan records and the limits of confidentiality that may be successfully claimed by church authorities. This issue is governed by complex discovery decisions in the state and Federal law.
In civil law the courts allow lawyers who bring suits, to use the process called discovery to make the defendant (in these cases, bishops and/or dioceses) produce records and personnel who may be compelled to give sworn testimony.
In the event of a class action suit such as the one that is threatened, the lawyers bringing the suit shall try to obtam records from each and every diocese in the country. They shall also try to obtain testimony from each and every bishop. All this shall be an attempt to document each and every known instance of sexual misconduct by a priest.
It is important to know what matter should be contained in a priest s personnel file, considering the very probable discoverability of these files.
The idea of sanitizing or purging files of potentially damaging material has been brought up. This would be in contempt of court and an obstruction of justice if the files had already been subpoened by the courts. Even if there has been no such subpoena, such actions could be construed as a Violation of the law in the event of a class action suit. On a canonical level, to sanitize the personnel files could pose a problem of continuity from one diocesan administration to another.
One other suggestion regarding files has been to move them to the Apostolic Nunciature where it is believed they would remain secure, in immune territory. In all likelihood such action would ensure that the immunity of the Nunciature would be damaged or destroyed by the civil courts.
The canon law law speaks of secret archives. Are these safe from civil discovery whereas ordinary files might not be? Thus far it appears that the secret archives afford no more security from discovery than regular diocesan archives.
7. Uniformity of Case Management
At this time there is no uniformity of case management. It is desireable that such uniformity be developed in order to provide optimum assistance to bishops and diocesan lawyers. The same issues are present in similar cases in the different diocese such as:
*The confidentiality of diocesan records
*Legal arguments against liability
*The criminal defense posture to be developed for a priest-offender
*The responsibility of insurance companies to act in a manner that is
not detrimental to Church interests
*Legal pleadings to be filed on behalf of all defendants and their
*Potential conflicts between defendants and with insurors
*The public posture of all parties in relationship to the general
public and the wider church community as presented in press announcements and stories, statements of the bishop and other authorities related to the case as well as pulpit announcement.
All of the above legal efforts and the many others that arise should be coordinated so that a single, carefully choreographed theme is presented. This theme or posture should be consistent in character and design and produce a result that is advantageious for the Church, victims and the public.
8. The Discovery of Information that is Circulated About This Problem
If all of the possible questions related to this problem are posed and a suitable and complete set of answers drawn up and set forth in the form of a policy manual or procedural guideline, it would not be advisable to release such a manual/document to the Bishops of the country or to the diocesan lawyers.
Such information could fall into the hands of either the plaintiffs or the press and the document itself could be deemed discoverable and used as evidence.
Nevertheless it is virtually impossible at this time to compose a document
or manual which a) adequately addresses the problem with all of its vitally
important aspects and b) would not cause damage if it fell into the hands
of the press or plaintiffs.
Only two major insurance considerations and eight civil law considerations have been noted for the sake of brevity. This is because the purpose of this entire document is to provide a basis for understanding both the enormity and the gravity of the total situation. To continue to list the hundreds of civil law considerations and the many insurance issues would expand this document beyond its intended format. Accordingly a limited listing of the criminal law considerations, clinical and medical considerations and canon law issues follows.
CRIMINAL LAW CONSIDERATIONS
Every civil jurisdiction (usually by states) has statutes which impose civil and criminal penalties on persons who engage in illicit sexual activities with children and/or adolescents. If a cleric is charged with sexual misconduct civil law suits can be lodged against him and his Ordinary for monetary damages to the victim and families resulting from felonious conduct. The offender could also be charged with criminal activity. If a sworn complaint is received by a police agency or a prosecutor (DA) it is inevitable that criminal charges will be filed causing the press to publish reports of the charges. This would lead investigative reporters to delve into the details of the case.
What follows the pressing of criminal charges is this: upon completion of the criminal investigation by the police authorities and the D.A., an indictment is obtained, the priest or cleric will be apprehended and arrested, placed in custody i.e., jail pending
a bond hearing where it will be required that some individual or entity (Ordinary or Diocese) assume substantial financial obligations which will 8110w the priest offender to remain free (in treatment) pending trial. A very expensive criminal defense will be required prior to and through the course of the trial. At the conclusion of the trial the priest will either be acquitted or convicted. Upon conviction the priest will be sentenced to imprisonment at a state penitentiary. A judge usually has no choice (depending on the jurisdiction and what the priest is found guilty of) but to sentence a convicted offender to prison.
1. In most or all jurisdictions there are statutes which require that instances of child abuse be reported to the civil authorities. The failure to do so can result in civil and/or criminal penalties.
2. Providing a Criminal Defense
Every instance of sexual molestation of a child is a criminal offense. A judge must sentence a convicted offender to prison. Though this is more properly the domain of the canon law, an Ordinary has some degree of obligation to provide an offender with a competent trial lawyer in order that he be adequately defended as is his right.
3. Conflict Presented by Civil Cases
The fifth amendment of the U.S. Constitution provides the right to all who are accused of committing crimes to remain silent and say nothing to anyone which might
later be used against the subject in a court of law. Therefore, should or must the Ordinary provide a criminal lawyer to the priest prior or in advance of having the initial conversation with the priest about the complaint. Can the priest refuse to answer the questions posed by the Ordinary based on his civil constitutional rights in anticipation of criminal charges being filed against him? Can the Ordinary be forced to reveal or convey any communication he receives from the priest to police or prosecution authorities which information would either be utilized to provide corroborating evidence of the priest s guilt or provide the very basis for the prosecution. The basic conflict that exists here is whether or not the priest should honestly communicate with his Ordinary or not.
Though the accused priest is obviously the one in the best position to
provide all of the basic information about the alleged incidents. This essential
information is needed in order to determine how best to proceed with such
matters as treatment plans for the offender; identifying all of the victims
and their families so that adequate intervention can be planned etc. Nevertheless
if the priest, in all good faith provides this information to his Ordinary
it may derogate from his fifth amendment privilege. This could, in some
jurisdictions, literally finish him in terms of a defense in criminal prosecution.
The choice of a criminal attorney at the earliest stage and the creation of the mutually cooperative relationship between the criminal attorney and counsel in the civil cases as well as insurance counsel is very important.
4. Unavailability of Plea Bargaining Process
Plea bargaining is process whereby a district attorney and a criminal defense lawyer reach a binding agreement providing that there shall be no trial. The defendant, as a result of the plea bargain, admits guilt to a crime, and receives a minimal sentence, much lighter than the maximum which might well have been imposed following a trial.
Plea bargains are unavailable in criminal cases where there is the commission of a heinous and odious crime against a young and defenseless victim. These cases are very high profile, attracting wide spread media attention and these cases enrage communities, all of which creates obvious and subtle political pressure bearing down on the prosecutor or D.A. This forces him to bring the cases to trial. District attorneys in these cases want to make certain that there is no perception in the public or opinion in the community that because the Church was involved that the D.A. has treated the priest in a deferential or preferential manner. To prove his political independence the tendency of most D.A. s would be to prosecute fully.
5. Extreme Criminal Law Possibilities for Superiors
There have been situations wherein District Attorneys almost pressed criminal charges against the priest s Ordinary which criminal charges would have resulted in the indictment, arrest, incarceration, bonding, trial or the Ordinary. Had this process occurred, upon conviction, the ordinary would have been faced with the possibility of serving a severe sentence in the penitentiary.
There are a lot of criminal laws which pertain to an Ordinary in instances of sexual molestation of children by their subjects. Primarily there are two broad areas under which this criminal responsibility falls. First, the area of reporting. Failure to report information regarding sexual molestation of a child by a priest when such information is available or in the possession of the Ordinary, is considered a criminal offense in some states. Secondly, to allow a priest to continue to function, endangering the health of children, following the receipt of private, confidential knowledge that this priest victimized a child is considered to be "criminal neglect" (a crime in many states).
The proposal contained herein seeks to deal with this very serious question.
SIGNIFICANT CLINICAL/MEDICAL CONSIDERATIONS
The section entitled "Clinical/Medical Questions" posed many
of the importance questions which face an Ordinary in dealing with a cleric
who is alleged to have committed sexual abuse or a related act on a Child
or adolescent. The following considerations in this same area expand on
the problems which the alleged offense poses to the Ordinary. It is intended
that they provide essential information at the outset. These considerations
in no way respond to all of the pertinent questions.
SIGNIFICANT CLINICAL/MEDICAL CONSIDERATIONS
Pre-Intervention Strategy by the Ordinary
The Ordinary, rather than a subordinant or vicar, should confront the
cleric as soon as an allegation of a sexual offense is made about the cleric.
The Bishop- Priest relationship for instance, is a very special one and
should be utilized to the fullest both canonically and psychologically,
to intervene immediately if there is a suspicion or allegation of sexual
abuse by a priest.
Prior to speaking with the priest (or cleric) the Ordinary (usually the bishop except in the case of religious clerics) should speak with a priest-psychologist who is knowledgeable about this particular problem. This should be done before the Bishop confronts or speaks with the priest so that the bishop can obtain some "pointers" on the intervention itself. The priest-psychologist can also assist the bishop in designing some personalized strategies according to the nature of the allegations made and the personality of the priest involved.
The Ordinary should make it clear to the priest before even stating the allegations that it is vitally important that truthfulness exist between them. The Ordinary should reassure the priest or cleric that he will support him legally and financially and that he will also help him to obtain evaluation and treatment for his problems. However if the priest chooses not to be fully honest in the initial intervention, the Ordinaty may still be obliged to be helpful but he could/should let the priest know that he would be disturbed by the lack of truthfulness in the initial interview.
This initial conversation between the Ordinary and the priest may be one of the most important moments in the sequence of events that will follow. It is assumed that most Ordinaries in the United States have not had a great dealof experience with child abuse by the clergy and for that reason they need some professional re-assurance for the initial encounter with the accused. Each priest or cleric brings a different set of problems and a different set of circumstances concerning the sexual abuse. The initial intervention should be tailored accordingly.
What Are the Causes of Sexual Abuse by Roman Catholic Clergy
Once the priest or cleric admits to any type of sexual contact with children or adolescents it is not appropriate for the Ordinary to delve into the causes of this sexual abuse. This is best left to the professionals who have had a good deal of experience in this area and who understand Rornan Catholic clergy.
Nevertheless it is important that the Ordinary have some idea as to what these causes are so that an appropriate place can be chosen for the evaluation and treatment of the priest.
A concrete example best: illustrates the question: A 32 year old priest had been seen by a psychiatrist in private out-patient therapy for 2« [two and a half] years which included the administration of psytropic medications. For over a three year period this priest had inappropriately committed sexual crimes in a public granmar school yard in three different locales. He was on his way to jail. He had been evaluated by two "excellent" mental health centers which stated that the inappropriate sexual behavior was due to early childhood experiences that required intense psychotherapy and perhaps group therapy.
When the priest was sent to another evaluation center with the capability of looking at medical, neurological and substance abuse problems as well as psychiatric and psychological problems, it was found that the priest hadbeen drinking over one quart of bourbon a day over the past five years but was unable to admit to having an alcohol problem. In such a case it would have been inappropriate to have this priest continue to see the private psychiatrist. Rather alcoholism, the primary disorder, would have to be treated and then the inappropriate sexual behaviors evaluated after the patient had been sober for a number of months.
Statistically, at least in regard to adolescent sexual abuse by priests, drugs and alcohol are the primary complicating problem or "mitigating" factor that the treatment professionals must deal with. Even though alcohol or drug abuse is present it does not mean that the sexual problem will necessarily disappear following treatment. There is however, a greater likelihood that the individual will be able to exert control and prudence if he is sober and is monitored over a prolonged period of time. Naturally treatment should be given for the sexual issues as well as the substance abuse issues.
Further, there are a number of rarer or more unusual disorders that can cause unusual behavior over a prolonged period of time. These include such disorders as manic-depressive illness, frontal lobe dysfunction, temporal lobe epilepsy, brain tumors etc. These problems will never come to light if a priest of cleric is evaluated at a center that looks only at the psychological dynamics of the patients family, his adult and religious life as the source of all problems, using the sane model for treatment. Refer again to the 32 year old priest with two competent evaluation, neither of which uncovered the problem of alcohol abuse.
How Soon Should the Evaluation Take Place
IMMEDIATELY. As soon as the Ordinary has ascertained that there is sometruth to the allegations of sexual abuse by a cleric, arrangements should be made the same day or the following day at the latest for the priest s transfer to an evaluation center. The Ordinary may be familiar with a competent evaluation center or may have discussed such a center with the priest-psychologist.
It is especially important to understand that evaluation centers may be located in states having reporting laws which might prove problematic for the Ordinary. For examples some states have enacted legislation that does not extend privilege of communication between a patient and his psychologist or psychiatrist to cases involving child abuse, including sexual abuse of children. In Massachusetts a therapist, no matter what his training, must report the incident to the local authorities if there is any indication that the incident occurred within the state of Massachusetts. It is also possible that this extends to people who were involved with other adults who were involved with the incident in the state of Massachusetts. For this reason this state would be a hazardous area to send a priest for evaluation because of the stringency and extent of the reporting laws. Almost all states require and suspend the privileged communication between mental health professionals and the child if the child is the patient. A sexually or physically abused child seen by such a mental health professional must be reported in all 50 states along with the names of the persons offered by the child.
The point here is that the Ordinary should determine the reporting laws in the states of possible evaluation centers. It would be wise to consult with attorneys knowledgeable of these issues prior to sending the priest for evaluation.
The nature of the disorder dictates why the evaluation should be immediate. We are dealing with compulsive sexual habits which the priest may temporarily suspend in the face of legal or canonical pressure, but not in all instances. There are many examples wherein sexual abuse took place very soon after thethe confrontation between the priest and his Ordinary had taken place. The priest must clearly be seen as one suffering from a psychiatric disorder that is beyond his ability to control. For this reason...the compulsion of the disorder... evaluation of the disorder and the separation from temptation should be immediate and stated as such to the priest by the Ordinary without the Ordinary experiencing any feelings of misplaced guilt or lack of charity. This will emphasize to the priest the importance of his being truthful both to the bishop and to the evaluating mental health professionals.
Should the Alleged Offender See Anyone else Prior to Evaluation
The Ordinary may perceive, as he converses with the priest, that the latter is not taking the allegations very seriously. If this is true it is strongly urged that the Ordinary have the priest meet with competent attorneys conversant in dealing with the issue (whether or not there is an immediate legal threat). This should be arranged immediately. The attorneys should outline in detail all of the possible consequences in criminal law as well as the civil law liability of the priest and the diocese. This will also be helpful to the evaluation center since the priest will have a better appreciation of the significance and consequences of his behavior, and perhaps even of the effect it may have had on the victims.
What About Canonical Suspension
A suspension of the cleric, especially if he is a priest, should happen in all cases. This makes a clear separation between the Ordinary and the cleric. It is a statement that the man is not capable of carrying out his sacred functions or ministry until an evaluation is completed and a determination of his fitness for ministry is made.How Long Does an Evaluation Take
Some mention should be made of the open ended nature of the evaluation. Many times it takes a week or two for the evaluating center to arrive at a good picture and feel for the total situation involved with the priest as well as his diocese or religious community. Most centers will do an evaluation in five days but usually will extend it in order to better get to know the priest and his diocese/community. Thus they are in a position to make a better recommendation to the Ordinary when the evaluation is completed.
What Should an Adequate Evaluation Include
This is a very important question. In the final report the following should be looked for as part of the evaluation from any competent center.
a. Clear evaluation by the psychologist or psychiatrist who has had experience in dealing with sex offenders of different types.
b. An evaluation by a chemical dependency counsellor or someone with equivalent experience in substance abuse to make certain that the person does not have a history of abuse of alcohol or drugs which would be contributing to sexual problems.
c. A complete physical and neurological examination completed by an internist or neurologist.
d. A electroencephelogram done both in the sleep state and with pharengel leads.
e. A CT brain scan with and without contrast dye study to rule out the possibility of intercerebral tumors or other cerebral pathology.
f. Blood and urine laboratory tests that rule out the presence of alcohol and/or other illicit substances. The lab test should include an evaluation of liver, kidney, endocrine, lung, heart, and other vital functioning, all ofwhich may give clues as to the presence of "mitigating: problems that must be explored.
g. Some neurological assessment including an intelligence test .which will give an idea of the "functional" capacity of the patient.
h. Appropriate psychological tests including projective testing which may give clues as to the stability of the character structure of the priest or the pathology of the character structure.
This is not an exhautive but a basic list of tests which should be completed on a priest who is accused of sexual offenses. In other words, it is important to have an holistic approach to the problem which helps to discover mitigating factors which will assist in moving in the correct direction for the appropriate modality and treatment facility.
How To Choose an Appropriate Treatment Center
This is a most difficult and at the same time important question for the Ordinary. He may have a center where he has been pleased with the treatment of priests with other problems. However the "favorite treatment center" may not be the appropriate center for clerics with sexual problems, especially if the problem is pedophilia. The following is a partial list of appropriate questions to be answered.
a. Have the therapists and other professionals of the center had significant past experience in dealing with sexual abuse/sexual offenders/pedophiles. Will the priest be supervised by professionals with such experience?
b. What kinds of physical and environmental restrictions will be placed while the priest is in therapy. Will he be allowed use of a car at any times? Will there be non-supervised periods in a 24 hour period each day? Will he be allowed to go out to dinner, entertainments, churches where he might encounterchildren in the course of his treatment program.
c. Will he be allowed to consume alcohol of any kind. No sex offender should ever be allowed use of alcohol or drugs in a recreational or social setting because of the possibility of relaxing inhibitions or relapse of sexual acts. Total abstinance is a must in order for there to be hope for abstinance and control of the sexual problem.
d. What are the criteria used to determine the fitness of the priest for discharge, possible return to ministry. How are these criteria tested during the treatment program.
e. What self-help group will the priest be required to attend while in the treatment program as well as after he leaves. It is essential that there be some form of mandatory self-help group such as AA or a sex offender group for the rest of this person s life. This should be started during in-patient treatment and encouraged, to the degree that the patient is taken to the group if necessary.
f. What concrete follow-up plans are made for the patient after treatment is concluded. Does he return on a period basis for an aftercare program. What kind of aftercare programs are set up in the diocese if the priest is to return to function there. What are the guidelines that will be given to the Ordinary with reference to future functioning in the diocese.
All of these plus many more questions must be answered. Every treatment center is not the same nor do all have the same treatment philosophy. It must be stated unequivocally that a pure psychoanalytic or psychodynamically based program is inadequate for the treatment of sex offenders. There must be a multi-disciplinary and multi-dimensional approach to the treatment of these very special people and it is essential that the Ordinary find out exactlywhat is offered in and by the different treatment programs and centers before a decision is made to place the priest in a center for a prolonged period of time.
Can the Priest Ever Return to Ministry in the Diocese
Individual factors, the extent of the sexual abuse, the extent of the notoriety involved and the extent of knowedge of the problem are but some of the factors that go into this question.
The treatment center chosen should be one that works on a "family model" approach. This means that members of the religious family involved with the priest prior to treatment should be involved in the treatment and in the post treatment plans. There should be close communication and coordination with the diocese or religious community so that when this question arises during in-patient treatment, it can be answered directly and specifically and the treatment program moved in such a way as to assist the priest in looking at his fitness for ministry or finding new ministries or occupations.
It is inadequate to treat a sex offender in the diocese on a private psycho therapy model. It should be emphasized that in-patient treatment, preferably with peers, is the most preferable mode and the one which will have the best results.
What About the Families of the Victims
This is a very delicate area. While the welfare of the priest-offender is considered very important to the church officials, the welfare both at the time of the abuse and well into the future, of the victims is most important and should be given a priority by Ordinaries. The effects of sexual abuse of children by adults are long lasting and go well into adulthood. This is well documented though it may well be difficult to predict the extent of theeffects in particular cases. We are speaking not only of psychological effects but also the spiritual effects since the perpetrators of the abuse are priests or clerics. This will no doubt have a profound effect on the faith life of the victims, their families and others in the community.
A rather direct approach should be made to the family (in conjunction with consultation with competent civil attorneys). Psychological help and other needed assistance should be offered to the victims and their families. If the family seems disposed to such a move, there should be some form of healing, if possible, between the priest and the family, possibly in terms of monitored communication or perhaps even a family meeting with the priest at some point when the priest, Ordinary and family are disposed to it.
We have been rather ignorant of the effects of sexual abuse of children by Catholic clergy over the years.because it has never been investigated or studied in a systematic manner. However from a professional viewpoint, enough adult persons who have been in therapy in the past several years have discussed abuse by priests that it seems clear that such abuse has a profound effect even when it does not come to the attention of parents, familiy members or the civil or church authorities.
The extent and degree of the sexual abuse, the age of the child at the time of outset of the abuse, when it was discovered and finished, the manner in which it was discovered, any other dimensions of relationship of the priest with the family... these are all factors involved in treating the victims and their families. Special mental health professionals, trained and competent in this particular area, should be called on by the Ordinary to provide help and support as soon as is feasible. This is also a healthy preventive measure with respect to civil litigation since most families are eager to help their children and themselves in these embarrassing and complex psychosocial problems.