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Explication du texte

By Diogenes (articles ) | Jun 03, 2003

This clause from Bishop O'Brien's plea bargain merits reflection:

During the course of the grand jury's investigation, to this date, no credible evidence has been received that would establish that Thomas J. O'Brien personally engaged in criminal sexual misconduct.

By this lawyerly phrasing we are free to infer that :

1. Evidence has been received that would establish that O'Brien personally engaged in criminal sexual misconduct, but the witnesses were not forensically credible.

or, 2. Credible indications have been received that would establish that O'Brien personally engaged in criminal sexual misconduct, but it doesn't qualify as evidence.

or, 3. Credible evidence has been received that would establish that O'Brien personally engaged in sexual misconduct, but such conduct was not criminal.

or, 4. Credible evidence has been received suggesting that O'Brien personally engaged in criminal sexual misconduct, but it fails [note the qualification "to this date"] to establish this as fact.

Is it possible that none of the above is true? If so, what conceivable purpose could there be for including such a sentence? This isn't the DA's press release, remember, this is wording agreed to by both parties, doubtless minutely studied by O'Brien's attorneys, and signed by O'Brien himself. It's unimaginable that O'Brien and his legal team would have consented to such a degrading formulation unless they were under compulsion -- i.e., unless the alternatives were even worse.

So what do we do now? The Phoenix DA -- and, with the DA's pistol to his head, the bishop himself -- have written in six-foot letters for all to see that O'Brien was an active homosexual whose cover-ups were a consequence of sexual complicity or blackmail or both. We can (and most will) continue to pretend that there is a more innocent explanation. If so, we'll hand another tactical victory to the Ziemanns, Weaklands, Ryans, O'Connells and other twisted bishops whose aggression and mendacity gave them decades of cost-free mischief at the Church's expense.

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