Action Alert!

the man for the job

By Diogenes (articles ) | Apr 01, 2008

The San Jose Mercury News has a story on clerical sex abuse in Oakland county focusing not on diocesan clergy but priests belonging to religious orders. The Salesians come in for some unflattering attention:

[Salesian Father Richard] Presenti admitted in a 2005 deposition to molesting the accuser and two other boys between 1970 and 1973, though he denied the 1962 molestation, Simons said.

When the victim from 1972 complained to another priest at the camp shortly after the abuse occurred, the Rev. Harry Rasmussen, a priest in the Salesian provincial office, was called in to investigate, court records show. Rasmussen visited the victim's family, who asked that Presenti be removed from Salesian High School, according to the records.

One year later, Presenti was transferred to St. John Bosco High School in Bellflower and promoted to school principal.

Rasmussen testified in a deposition that he didn't tell anyone in Bellflower about the complaint against Presenti and that no record explaining the reasons for the move was placed in his personnel file.

Not pretty, but the account above is more or less within the familiar story line of clerical cover-up: superiors bounce-passed the known offender to a new locale and kept mum about his mischief. Then comes this choice bit of uplift from the deposition Father Investigator gave under oath:

"I'm not sure I knew it was a crime," Rasmussen testified regarding the abuse.

Now there's a man with a future in his profession.

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  • Posted by: - Apr. 01, 2008 2:27 PM ET USA

    St. John Bosco must be very, very disappointed. :(