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Not guilty. But innocent?

By Diogenes (articles ) | Feb 15, 2008

A Cincinnati priest has been reinstated after a long suspension. He had been accused of raping a boy, but both an Ohio prosecutor and a Vatican panel agreed that the accusations were not credible.

"I believe in Father Larger's innocence and am thankful that the clearing of his name makes possible his return to a ministerial role," Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk said in a statement.

Well now, "innocence" is a strong word. In a separate case, Father Larger had pleaded no contest to charges that he solicited sexual favors from an undercover policeman. A no-contest plea means that the defendant has decide not to contest the charges. It doesn't mean he's guilty, but it sure doesn't mean he's innocent.

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  • Posted by: - Feb. 15, 2008 9:08 PM ET USA

    Also, a "no-contest" plea means that the plea cannot be used to show culpability in a civil case, which will very likely follow, I suspect.

  • Posted by: - Feb. 15, 2008 3:08 PM ET USA

    Woody is right. The operative word being "perhaps."

  • Posted by: - Feb. 15, 2008 11:41 AM ET USA

    In moral terms, there would seem to be a big difference between raping a boy and soliciting sexual favours from an adult. Perhaps Fr Larger has seen the error of his ways and has a firm purpose of amendment!

  • Posted by: - Feb. 15, 2008 11:19 AM ET USA

    One of the effects of building your house on the shifting sands of injustice, like the bishops did in Dallas: when the injustice doesn't play out, we think right away of innocence. If we were determining the validity of an accusation rather than guilt or innocence, the way the “zero tolerance” garbage does, then we could keep this in perspective.

  • Posted by: - Feb. 15, 2008 9:21 AM ET USA

    Fr Larger would make a good bookkeeper for Archbishop Pilarczyk, don't you think?

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