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The learning curve

By Diogenes (articles ) | Mar 27, 2003

In case you missed the item in today's News Bytes, Massachusetts prosecutors are hoping to revive their case against Richard Lavigne, a suspended priest who has always been the prime suspect in the 1972 murder of an altar boy.

Twenty years-- 20 years!-- after the murder, Lavigne was finally suspended from priestly ministry. The Springfield diocese is still coping with a few dozen sex-abuse lawsuits that testify to his conduct in the intervening years.

But sex-abuse accusations have become commonplace. Murder is something else.

We've heard bishops say that the hierarchy is on a "learning curve"-- that 20 years ago, they didn't fully understand the sex-abuse phenomenon. Now he's a different case, posing a different question: 20 years ago, would he have expected a bishop to realize that a suspected murderer might pose a danger to society?

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