The incompetence defense

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Mar 16, 2005

So Bernard Ebbers will take the rap for the massive accounting fraud committed under his leadership at WorldCom. Testifying in his own defense during his trial, Ebbers said that he didn't realize what was going on among his subordinates. The jury didn't buy it.

Why, then, have jurors-- or rather, prosecutors-- been so ready to accept the same defense when it's offered by American bishops? Maybe it's because we presume competence on the part of corporate CEOs.

Bernard Ebbers was in business to make money, and he'd made a lot of it. Bernard Law was in business to spread the faith, and after his departure, the Boston archdiocese began closing parishes-- because there weren't enough people to fill the pews.

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