December 9, 2009
by Paul Kendrick
Bishop Richard Malone is still keeping secrets.
That's why we're just finding out that, from July 1, 2008 to June 30, 2009, eleven more child sex abuse victims reported that they were molested by five living and four deceased priests.
Even as he reports the numbers, Bishop Malone won't tell us the names and whereabouts of the credibly accused priests and how many more children each priest abused.
When child abusers are identified, victims may learn for the first time that they were not the only one. Or, if it is now known that a previously accused priest abused a child in a different parish or school, this information may help other victims to feel strong enough to reach out for help.
The bishops go out of their way to advertise and promote Bill Gavin's (Gavin Group, Inc.) past experience in the FBI as if this information, in and by itself, ensures us that diocese audits will be thorough and unbiased. Yet, neither Mr. Gavin nor the bishops will admit that the financial success of Mr. Gavin's company is dependent upon the goodwill of Catholic bishops across the country. If enough bishops become dissatisfied with the results of their child protection compliance audits, then Mr. Gavin will be shown the door in the same manner as was Governor Keating, former head of the National Review Board.
The very definition of "self audit" is "conflict of interest."
As an advocate for the protection of children and those who were abused, I spoke on the phone earlier today with Mr. Gavin. I focused on a single question; "How can you issue a report that states that Bishop Malone is doing everything he can to protect children when an admitted priest child molester, one who is still in the bishop's employ and remains under the bishop's supervision, is living in a Falmouth neighborhood that's full of kids and no one in the community knows about the priest's past history of abusing children?"
Mr. Gavin had a response on the tip of his tongue. He told me he conducts compliance audits that fall within the four corners of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, nothing more, nothing less.
In other words, if the child protection provisions of the Charter don't specifically state that a bishop must not put kids at risk by allowing an admitted priest child abuser to live anonymously in a neighborhood full of children, then Mr. Gavin and his auditors will ignore this child safety violation in their final report.
Thus, a bishop like Richard Malone gets an "A" for "ensuring the safety of children."
Reminds me of a question I asked a long time high school administrator about what has changed most during his many years in education. He used the example of a student who was caught setting fire to books in the school's library. The student was immediately expelled, causing the angry parents to rush to the principal's office. "Where in the school's handbook," the parents wanted to know, "does it explicitly state that a student will be expelled for setting fire to library books?"