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Occupational Alzheimers in episcopal Phoenix

By Diogenes (articles ) | Jun 04, 2003

Excerpts from a column by Laurie Roberts in the Arizona Republic, December 7, 2002:

The most stunning accusations yet assaulted the Valley this week when the Kulinas and their son, Mesa police Lt. Ben Kulina, went public with their story that Ben was sexually abused by his priest when he was 15. His parents say they met with O'Brien, then the No. 2 man in the diocese, and were advised to keep quiet.

"Father O'Brien told the Kulinas that to disclose what had happened would hurt Benjamin, it would hurt the church and that nobody would believe them," according to the family's attorney. A few months later, Father John Giandelone was transferred to another parish, where he was caught having oral sex with a 15-year-old boy.

Listen again to Betty Shannon, whose three children were abused in 1989. "The bishop himself called me after I reported my children had been molested and said, 'Betty, you need to stop. You need to be quiet,'" Shannon told The Republic's Joe Reaves last month. The priest, Mark Lehman, eventually went to prison for 10 years.

Listen, too, to Doris Kennedy, who says she told O'Brien in 1979 that her son had been molested by Patrick Colleary, the priest arrested Thursday after decades of roaming the diocese. "He stonewalled my husband and all but threw us out of his office. O'Brien asked if I had told anyone about the incident and when I told him yes, he pointed his finger across the desk and thundered at me: 'You shouldn't have done that.'"

But on the other hand:

The Most Rev. Thomas J. O'Brien, through his attorney [said] this: "The bishop has no recollection of any meeting with the Kulina family and there are no documents to suggest such a meeting was scheduled."

Can anybody come up with any instance in which a bishop's memory has, unprompted, worked to his manifest disadvantage?

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