Last year, we pointed out that a Catholic religious order, the Christian Brothers, posted the worst list of child molesting clerics we have ever seen. They listed predators only because they had to. They provided ZERO information about the accused: not where they are or were, not when they were ordained, not whether they pled guilty or admitted guilt or if they were sued dozens of times. . .NOTHING. They also restricted their list to just those clerics who faced two or more abuse reports. We are happy to report that a little more light has been shone upon this secretive outfit. But the new information has surfaced not because of, but in spite of, the order’s top officials.
It comes via the same source which has done so much to protect kids and expose criminals: the secular, mainstream media. Specifically, in a series of articles over the past few months, reporter Robert Herguth has dug deep to learn more about several US Catholic religious orders. (There are roughly 200 of them.) What Herguth found about the Christian Brothers seems far more damaging than what he discovered in other orders.
Among the Sun Times’ Findings:
- At least eight proven admitted or credibly accused Christian Brothers have been left off the order’s list. (Among them is Karl Walczak, who resigned as head of a Seattle school when he was publicly accused. At least one of his victims has been paid by the order.)
- Six accused molesters are still with the order.
- Roughly 27 of the men on the list are dead, and 16 are listed as former brothers.
- The status and last known whereabouts of one particularly active predator, Br. Edward Courtney, couldn’t be determined. Courtney was accused of abusing more than 50 children in Illinois, Michigan, and Washington.
- A prolific abuser died last year, having never been defrocked or even kicked out of the Christian Brothers. Brother Ronald Lasik grew up in Chicago, was convicted of molesting Canadian students, went to prison, and was later deported to the US. Lasik’s been called among the most prolific and savage sex abusers in the order.
But let’s take a step back and look again at the list in a broader light. Two simple points:
- Under its court agreement, the Brothers must keep the online list of its accused for a decade — until 2024. (Want to put money on whether the list will disappear on Jan. 1, 2024?)
- The Brothers make a startling admission alongside the very flawed list they provided: “The merits of most of the claims were not tested.”
So they’re essentially saying, “We named these men because we were forced to but aren’t admitting that ANY of them are guilty.” And in a move that we have seen NOWHERE else in the Catholic world, again, the Christian Brothers name only those clerics who faced two or more accusations of sexual abuse.
How do the Christian Brothers explain or justify this decision that is so helpful to them (by minimizing the abuse crisis) and so hurtful to survivors (by denying their reality)? The Brothers claim “it wasn’t the order’s decision alone but “a collaborative effort” of, among others, “the unsecured creditors’ committee” representing abuse victims in the bankruptcy case and “with the approval” of the judge.
Well, heads up, Brothers: Bankruptcy is over. No judge or committee is now involved. You have the ability – and we at Horowitz Law would say the duty – to tell (excuse the cliche) the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
Here’s a simple, short-term compromise: Why not list the alleged abusers who face just one accusation but who admitted their crimes? And the alleged abusers who faced just one accusation but were found guilty in a criminal or civil court? Surely that tiny step towards transparency would not be hard, expensive, or controversial.
Or here’s another simple, short-term compromise: Why not list the living accused clerics, those who literally may be coaching soccer this morning, tutoring struggling students this afternoon, or even babysitting their still-in-the-dark sisters’ or brothers’ kids tonight? The Irish Christian Brothers say its mission is to address “the needs of today’s most vulnerable members of society.” Then why aren’t they living out their mission?