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Trick questions

By Diogenes (articles ) | May 14, 2003

Cardinal Mahony's former flatmate Fr.Carl Sutphin is accused of abusing six boys in the 1960s and 1970s, according to a recent article:

Attorneys for Sutphin argued that it is unfair and unconstitutional for the government to file sex abuse charges after so many years. "It is difficult for anyone to recall what they did at specific times on specific days so long ago," lawyer Kay Duffy said after the hearing in Ventura County Superior Court. "We have charges from 30 years ago. We have a very elderly defendant. It's difficult to prepare a defense."

Well, I can't honestly recall what I was doing this day 30 years ago. But I can be very, very sure there were certain things I didn't do. My favorite specimen of clerical indignation at the outrageous temerity of trick questions is that of Msgr. Frederick Ryan, who was alleged to have abused a 14-year-old boy in the chancery office (Ryan was at the time vice-chancellor of the Archdiocese):

Asked if he had sexually abused Garland, Ryan replied: "I don't think that's a fair question. Let me find out what this is about."

Good point, Fred. They should at least let you have a look at your desk calendar.

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