The recent news from Pennsylvania wherein an investigation uncovered a sex ring of priests who exploited boys once again thrust the Catholic Church into the limelight regarding an alleged institutional plot to cover such cases. This follows the 2016 release of a book by former Australian police detective Dennis Ryan who was investigating child molestation and other corruption charges against former Priest John Day.
It seems that the proverbial “cat is out of the bag” regarding the Catholic Church’s international attempt to cover up abuse. According to critics, especially Dennis Ryan, the Catholic Church acted as a mafia to protect its brand. A priest was able to commit sex acts with children with impunity because the police would cover for rogue priests. Ryan claims that while he was a detective in Sydney, he pulled over a luxury car one night in a seedy neighborhood because he noticed that two prostitutes were sitting in the front seat. When he approached the car, he found Father John Day, with his pants down, passed out in the car with a bottle of alcohol in his hand. He arrested the trio.
At the station, Ryan claims that a superior told him to release a priest because priests get special treatment. When questioning the fairness of release of a man who committed a crime, the superior told him that it would create a scandal and no one would believe the police when facing the Catholic Church.
Times have changed. Currently, the Catholic Church is embroiled in a number of lawsuits across the globe related to priests molesting children. It paid out billions of dollars in settlements to victims.
In this environment, an accusation of child abuse, particularly if that accusation is against a priest, is automatic guilt. Therefore, if you are a priest facing a child molestation charge, contact a lawyer who will defend your rights.
Do Not Give Statements
Once you are facing an accusation, you are guilty in the court of public opinion. Nothing that you say or do will change this. Therefore, do not give statements asserting your innocence. Such statements will not change people’s opinions. Any statement that you make can and will be used against you.
Instead, politely tell anyone asking for a statement that you are declining comment. Do not provide comments to police or investigators; refer them to your lawyer.
Do Not Accept a Plea Deal
You worked hard all of your life to ascend to the Priesthood. You answered a religious calling. Accepting a plea deal will abruptly end your career. Even though it may seem like the easy way out, do not just accept a deal. Instead, gather evidence that can demonstrate your innocence.
It will likely require testimony from an expert witness that will demonstrate that there is no evidence of a crime. This is a strategy that can be employed to allow you to continue the life that you built; accepting a plea deal will destroy that life.
Accused of child molestation? Contact the criminal defense firm of Christopher Abel.
(image courtesy of Daniel Tseng)