We’ve known about “the problem” for quite a while, but we didn’t know how really deep it went. Because of the nature of the crime — coming from behind those religious trappings, so to speak — it was all kept on the hush-hush to ostensibly not cast a dark shadow over Catholicism and to not despoil the reputations of all those priests and even higher-level men of the cloth.
But secret no more will they be. In addition to the accusations made by the victims, there is at least one major law firm that has taken on the cause of exposing the guilty at all levels and bringing them to justice.
One headline read, Archdiocese of New York Sued for Maintaining, Concealing the Public Hazard of Sexually Abusive Priests. The subhead read, Fr. Donald Timone and Msgr. John Paddack Remained in Ministry Despite Multiple Prior Reports of Child Sexual Abuse.
Okay, so it might only be in New York for now, but if you tackle the big apples first, tackling the rest of the fruit in the basket will be that much easier, in turn. And the law firm of Jeff Anderson & Associates, from whom this information was obtained, is not hesitant to take them on.
Today was a big day in New York for announcing the filing of a lawsuit against the Archdiocese of New York alleging that the Catholic Church officials engaged in an ongoing pattern of conduct to keep priests in their positions after they discovered their concealed sexually abusive histories. Included in that meeting was a discussion on the harm the Archdiocese was doing by exposing the public, and especially children, to the risk of sexual abuse.
It’s about time we got to the naming of names, and the naming of places where the offending clergy were “stationed.” Today’s discussion was to reveal the history of Fr. Timone, who has worked as a priest in the Archdiocese since approximately 1960. One of the Plaintiffs is the widow of a man who was allegedly sexually abused as a minor by Fr. Timone from approximately 1966 to 1970. Her husband reported the abuse by Fr. Timone to the Archdiocese in about 2003 and the Archdiocese is believed to have received at least one other report of sexual abuse of a minor around that time. The Archdiocese briefly suspended Fr. Timone while those allegations were internally investigated before returning him to work. Plaintiff’s husband suffered greatly from the abuse trauma and died by suicide in 2015. In November 2016, this Plaintiff participated in the Archdiocese’s Independent Reconciliation and Conciliation Program (IRCP). She submitted a claim to the IRCP and accepted a settlement offer on May 24, 2017. The Archdiocese’s IRCP is believed to have awarded at least one other settlement to a Fr. Timone sexual abuse survivor. Despite knowledge of at least two reports and IRCP payments regarding sexual abuse by Fr. Timone in 2017, the Archdiocese allowed Fr. Timone to continue in his assignment at St. Joseph in Middletown, NY.
Subsequently, on December 4, 2018, the Archdiocese certified in a letter to the Diocese of San Diego that Fr. Timone was fit to work in the Diocese and falsely stated that Fr. Timone had never been accused of sexual misconduct involving a minor. As a result, Fr. Timone continued to work in the Diocese of San Diego, California until December 20, 2018, when the Diocese of San Diego learned about Fr. Timone’s history of sexually abusing minors from a December 20, 2018,
news article. It is believed that Fr. Timone remains temporarily suspended by the Archdiocese of New York.
Next on the agenda was revealing the history of Msgr. Paddack, who worked as a priest in the Archdiocese since about 1984. One of the two Plaintiffs alleges that Msgr. Paddack sexually abused him as a minor back in 2001-2002 or so. Then the Archdiocese received a report about five years ago that Msgr. Paddack sexually abused another minor in 1994. Despite this report, the Archdiocese continued Msgr. Paddack in his assignment at the Church of Notre Dame and did not release any information regarding the allegations. Thank goodness that no person, or even collection of priests or higher, can represent the religion as
a whole. While I am not Catholic (although I used to be), I believe religion must not be judged by individuals — even hundreds of them — but by the teachings of the Teacher.
Earlier this year, Jeff Anderson & Associates law firm released a list of 112 names of Archdiocese of New York clergy accused of sexual misconduct of minors. The list included Msgr. Paddack. But in April of this year, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Archbishop of New York, released a list of 126 Archdiocesan clergy credibly accused of sexually abusing minors and Msgr. Paddack was not on that list. Since Jeff Anderson & Associates released its list in February, seven
survivors of sexual abuse by Msgr. Paddack have come forward and reported their abuse to the Archdiocese. Despite these reports, the Archdiocese has taken no action to restrict or prevent Msgr. Paddack from accessing children and has not updated its list to include his name.
Hopefully, the outcome of today’s meeting demanding that the Archdiocese of New York and Cardinal Dolan cease the ongoing practices of hiding the names of all of the offenders and their histories and failing to warn the public about sexually abusive clergy that endangers the safety of the public had the expected and hoped-for conclusion. The only remedy for this horrendous and dangerous situation is for ALL the identities and files pertinent to the offending clergy be made public, not just to the parishioners involved, but to the public at large and the police, so all can know who was complicit in the ongoing concealment of this hazard.
As someone once said, truth does not suffer from close examination. And getting to the truth about the sexual abuse behind the clergy can only clear the air for all concerned, while it will not tarnish the source of Truth itself.
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Maramis Choufani is the Managing Editor of the Las Vegas Tribune. She writes a weekly column in this newspaper. To contact Maramis, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.