Action Alert!

He may not be guilty

By Diogenes (articles - email) | Jul 09, 2004

A Massachusetts bishop-- who experienced a sudden health crisis that forced his resignation last year just about the time sex-abuse charges were levelled against him-- has declined to testify in the lawsuit against him, citing his Fifth Amendment privileges against self-incrimination.

His lawyer hastens to remind us that we can't assume the bishop is guilty, just because he's taken the 5th. But reasonable people can draw reasonable inferences. It certainly would have looked better if the bishop had denied the allegations against him.

But again, don't jump to conclusions:

Arthur D. Wolf, a law professor at Western New England Law School, said lay people often read too much into invoking the Fifth Amendment.

"Sometimes when someone invokes the Fifth Amendment, people think it looks bad and assume guilt, but it may not be the case at all," Wolf said. "It may be a situation where someone may have acted immorally but not illegally. They may be embarrassed about having it revealed."

Very reassuring.

Richard Cross holds a doctorate in psychology, who has taught at the university level, including at Franciscan University. He is currently an educational researcher and consultant in the field of psychology and related disciplines.
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