Please Be Careful! Google People Around You and Your Kids

On Behalf of | Nov 11, 2020 | Other Sexual Abuse

You care about kids, right? So we beg you: Please Google your staff, your volunteers, your neighbors and your colleagues! Here’s why:

Earlier this week, prominent GOP lawyer Rudy Giuliani held a news conference in Philadelphia. One of the speaker turned out to be a registered sex offender, who was charged with sexual assault, lewdness and endangering the welfare of a minor and jailed for exposing himself to 7 and 11 year old girls.

Giuliani should have been more careful. A simple google search would have turned up this information.

Regardless of what you think of his views, Giuliani’s a smart guy. He was a big time prosecutor. He started his own lucrative business. He became the mayor of America’s biggest city. He ran for the presidency. He has a staff who work for him.

He ought to have known better that to put a proven abuser in front of cameras and reporters.

Had Daryl Brooks not been exposed (thanks to Politico), Giuliani’s reckless action would have given more visibility and credibility to a potentially dangerous predator, thus putting more kids at risk of harm.

On the other hand, this isn’t the first time, Giuliani has acted irresponsibly with a credibly accused child molester.

In 2003, he hired Fr. Alan Placa, knowing full well that Placa had been suspended by his Catholic supervisors on Long Island for allegedly sexually abusing boys in the 1970s at St. Pius X Preparatory Seminary in Uniondale (and sued for such crimes at least twice.)

But this problem goes far beyond one politician or party. Other examples of this callousness or lack of vetting:

—Disney World hired an Irish priest, Fr. Hugh Behan, who was put on leave after being accused of molesting a girl.

—Dr. William Almond, “faced allegations that he sexually violated extremely vulnerable female patients — a suicidal soldier, jail inmates, a mentally ill woman and a child of 14 — in three different settings, and every time was effectively given a pass” and kept getting new jobs.

—Just last year, Kansas City MO Police Chief Richard Smith was exposed as having kept a minister as a police department chaplain, despite his having been sued twice for alleged sexual abuse. The high profile preacher, Rev. Stan Archie, endured a trial at which jurors ordered his church board to pay one victim $350,000.

(This is the same Smith who in 2010 was a member of now-disgraced Bishop Robert Finn’s hand-picked sex abuse panel, which botched the case of Fr. Shawn Ratigan.)

— A New Hampshire Unitarian Church hired an ex-Catholic priest accused of molesting three young boys, a move than one newspaper said may have broken “an agreement that forbade him from having contact with children younger than 16.” Mark Fleming told the newspaper that Unitarian officials were aware of his background.

Remember: each of these promotions, new roles, and subsequent jobs put easily-identified predators in positions of power and prestige, which almost inevitably gives them more access to the vulnerable.

So at the risk of seeming simplistic, you Google hotels and restaurants and camps and movies, right? Why not act more responsibly and Google those around you?