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Tuesday, June 5, 2012
NewsBusters: Paying Off Abusive Priests 'Fast and Economical'
Topic: NewsBusters

We've detailed how NewsBusters' Dave Pierre threw Jews under the bus to divert attention from Catholic Church sex abuse scandal. Now, Pierre is coming to defense of a bishop who paid off abusive priests rather than punish them for their misdeeds.

In a June 3 NewsBusters post, Pierre complains that the New York Times reported on then-Milwaukee archbishop Timothy Dolan's practice of paying abusive priests to leave the priesthood:

One frequent demand from Catholic Church abuse victims is that abusive clerics be laicized or removed from the priesthood as expeditiously and quickly as possible.

So if the Archdiocese of Milwaukee discovered a fast and economical way to make that happen, wouldn't that be a good thing for both victims and the Church? Not according to the New York Times' Laurie Goodstein.

In her latest Catholic Church-obsessed piece, Goodstein takes issue with the fact that New York's Cardinal Timothy Dolan, when he was the Archbishop of Milwaukee a while back, approved a number of $20,000 settlements to rid the Church of abusive priests in a more time-efficient and expeditious manner – without long, drawn-out canonical or civil proceedings.

Goodstein characterizes these settlements as "payoffs to sexually abusive priests" in an attempt to somehow besmirch Cardinal Dolan. In fact, these were settlement payments designed to save the Church and everyone involved the legal expenses and distraction of engaging in the protracted proceedings necessary to rid the Church of abusive priests.

But shouldn't these abusive priests have faced the criminal justice system for committing illegal acts? Shouldn't justice have been placed before expediency? Pierre makes no mention of what, if anything, the Milwaukee diocese under Dolan did for the victims of those priests.

Pierre doesn't answer those thorny ethical questions. He's too busy  trying to district from those thorny ethical questions by attacking others. First up is the group SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) gets bashed for highlighting the issue; Pierre calls SNAP "anti-Catholic" -- as if being sexually abused by a priest doesn't cause a person to question their faith -- and attacks its leader, David Clohessy, for purportedly having "unseemly contacts with contingency lawyers in Missouri."

(Pierre and NewsBusters have previously attacked Clohessy for bringing attention to the church's sexual abuse scandal.)

Then, Pierre distracts with sexual abuse scandals in schools:

Just a few months ago, the Los Angeles Unified School District paid $40,000 to a third-grade teacher accused of committing numerous lewd acts on children in exchange for him not appealing his firing.

Then there was the teacher in New York City who was accused of ogling eighth-grade girls and collected a whopping $100,049-a-year salary without setting foot in a classroom for over a decade.

In fact, such settlements happen in the education profession all the time.

Just because others do it doesn't make it right. If those school districts jumped off a bridge, does that mean the Catholic Church should too? That's the juvenile argument Pierre is making here.

Defending the Catholic Church is one thing. Defending it against all reason is another. Pierre has chosen the latter path.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:26 PM EDT

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