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candor, transparency, trust

By Diogenes (articles ) | Oct 12, 2004

Ohio Judge George Reynolds rips the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk for refusing to turn over subpoena'd memos having to do with -- can you guess? -- covering up for chickenhawk clergy:

"You have held those documents hostage to your insistence to control discovery unilaterally. And that doesn't go," Reynolds told archdiocese attorney Kirk Wall at a hearing. "We're in litigation, and you're not supervising it — the court's supervising it. In four weeks, there will be sanctions if I don't get a good report (from opposing counsel Konrad Kircher)."

Access to the documents is critical for Kircher, who alleges Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk and other officials engaged in corrupt activities by covering up child molestation accusations against Albrecht and other priests. Internal documents may support Kircher's allegation that the statute of limitations hasn't expired in the case, Reynolds said.

At the hearing, Kircher testified he saw personnel files of another abusive priest, the Rev. David Kelley, last week and they contained memos that pointed to a "conspiracy conducted at the highest levels, including the archbishop," to cover up child abuse by Kelley.

Remember Kelley? He's the wounded healer that the Archdiocese sent to New Mexico in 1987 for therapy, and who was recently working as a counselor until 38 men brought suit against him for molestation.

Attorney Kircher apparently saw and made notes of relevant Archdiocesan memos, and now wants them submitted as evidence of conspiracy. In Kircher's version, the Church's concern for the safety of children takes a back seat.

As quoted by Kircher, those documents show that a priest personnel director for the archdiocese wrote a memo to Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk in 1986 saying the church would risk being held responsible if a priest advised an abuse victim to go to a counselor outside the church. "The problem: If the young man were to talk to a professional counselor, that person may report the accused priest to civil authorities," says the memo, according to Kircher's written summary.

Fortunately, we at Off The Record have entirely forgotten that Pilarczyk already pleaded no contest last November to failure to report sexual abuse by his priests and paid a $10,000 fine in consequence thereof. Otherwise, we might be inclined to connect the dots between Pilarczyk's incomprehensible support for gay rights, his defiance of the Holy See's instructions on the same subject, his basking in the patronage of Joseph Bernardin, and his mind-boggling insouciance in the face of predatory homosexual priests. But we won't.

Kircher's notes say that, on June 5, 1986, the Rev. Paul Rehling, the priest personnel director, wrote a memo telling Pilarczyk about allegations that Kelley had sexually abused a young man. ... Kircher said Rehling added: "(Kelley) can be reassured that we are not interested in turning up stuff to prove him guilty about. ... I think the stuff that keeps surfacing only says that Dave (Kelley) is another time bomb waiting to go off."

Now if that doesn't speak to aggressive defense of children and vulnerable adolescents, what does? It's obvious that unenlightened parents would be likely to over-react were the information made public -- perhaps to the point of asking tasteless and irrelevant personal questions about their pastors -- and for the good of the victims, actual and potential, the archdiocese wants the memos to remain confidential. What can be fairer than that?

Months later, Kircher's summary says, on Dec. 18, 1986, Pilarczyk wrote a memo to a treatment center concerning Kelley and explained that, in 1983, Elder High School students reported that Kelley had "touched their genitals."

We all know how imprecise high school students can be about body parts and about accurate identification of diocesan clergy, who are frequently confused with infantry sergeants and pro linebackers. Doubtless this explains the Church's claim that specific charges were not made againt Kelley until later:

Last year, the archdiocese told the Enquirer that no specific allegations against Kelley had surfaced until 1994. Andriacco said Monday that the archdiocese still stands behind that statement.

Poor Judge Reynolds -- so slow to believe! We are an Easter People.

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Show 3 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: - Oct. 13, 2004 2:55 PM ET USA

    Recently Abp. Pilarczyk expressed his frustration to the press about how slow the process of defrocking is by the Vatican. He seemed to blame the Holy See. What bothers me is that he should have submitted Ellis Harsham's name years ago. Harsham was the priest whom Steve Cook accused of abuse with Bernardin. Cook never had any problem trusting his memory in regards to Harsham. Harsham works as a counselor with his good friend,rentapriest;Tom Stricker, sometimes at the DePaul Center in Dayton.

  • Posted by: Psalms - Oct. 12, 2004 7:36 PM ET USA

    The only thing that surprises me about this story is that the notes/files in question were not distroyed in a flood or eaten by a dog or accidently shredded. Sometimes records stored in wastebaskets are ignited by a careless cigarette, also.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 12, 2004 7:10 PM ET USA

    Sounds like another prelate who ought to be exiled to Easter Island - or colder points farther south.

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