We love our home state but have to ask: What’s wrong with Florida?
We just blogged about how Florida’s Attorney General is – to put it kindly – ‘behind the curve’ on releasing information about Catholic wrongdoers, both offenders and ‘enablers.’
Now, a new investigation confirms what we at Horowitz Law have long said: Florida’s bishops are also ‘behind the curve’ in disclosing what they know about their staff and colleagues who assault kids and hide the crimes.
Here’s the take-away: Five of seven dioceses in Florida, home to many millions of Catholics, STILL have not released names of credibly accused child molesting clerics. (Most bishops across the US have done so, about 170 of them, have done this already, some as far back as 2002.)
What’s the excuse from Florida’s bishops?
Essentially, they’re saying “Well, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody is investigating us, so we’ll sit tight for now.” That might be acceptable in lots of other contexts. But remember: we’re talking about clerics who commit and conceal heinous crimes against children. Many of those clerics are still alive. Some, maybe most, have never been identified publicly (much less , much less criminally charged or convicted).
So there’s a very real and very urgent need to, at the very least, immediately reveal the names of the living priests who are ‘credibly accused’ of assaulting kids. Every day a predator enjoys secrecy, he or she has a much better chance of being able to assault someone else. It’s little consolation, of course, but Pro Publica’s report shows that partial, deceptive and self-serving disclosures are happening all across the country.
–The Boston Archdiocese, for instance lists 171 ‘credibly accused’ clerics. But a far more impartial source, BishopAccountability.org, lists 279, including dozens of religious order priests omitted from the official archdiocesan list.
–The Rockville Centre diocese, home of 1.5 million Catholics (and one of the nation’s most scandal-ridden dioceses) still has listed no names whatsoever.
–Roughly 90% of all bishops refuse to reveal how many victims each of their predator priests has hurt.
Back to Florida’s bishops. A note of irony: These prelates are lobbying for a bill in Tallahassee to restrict payday lending, also called “predatory lending.”
That’s a noble cause, of course. But they should keep their eyes on the prize