The Gold Standard

By Diogenes (articles ) | Dec 21, 2004

Thank God the bad old days are behind us, aren't they?

A body of judges, lawyers and experts in child sexual abuse has accused Seattle Archbishop Alex Brunett of being unrealistic, and possibly misleading, in assuring the public that priests here are unlikely to molest minors in the future. Further, the archbishop's insistence that priest sexual abuse is an old issue, long ago resolved -- in addition to his refusal to make public a list of accused clerics -- has led six of the 10 members of his independent Case Review Board to write Brunett a letter denouncing his approach.

"We cannot go into the night silently," said Mike McKay, former U.S. attorney for Western Washington and a member of the board who spent more than a year examining allegations of priest abuse. "This suggests a lack of diligence that concerns me deeply."

Brunett, he added in an interview, had fought the board members at every turn, attempting to modulate the critical tone of their final report and refusing to publish it until they threatened to quit in protest.

Terrence Carroll, a retired Superior Court judge and chairman of the Case Review Board, said that on the issue of child sexual abuse Brunett had shown a troubling "tendency to minimize things."

The article states that Brunett himself convened this board in April 2003, and "initially made much of its independent, high-powered membership." Having squeezed the positive PR out of that particular move, it was business as usual.

Greg Magnoni, a spokesman for Brunett, said that despite differences between Brunett and board members, the archbishop understood the necessity of constant vigilance. "I think he recognizes that we will never be done with the work of providing a safe environment for children," Magnoni said. "The Seattle Archdiocese has kind of set the gold standard for addressing clergy-child sexual abuse from the very beginning."

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  • Posted by: - Dec. 23, 2004 2:48 PM ET USA

    "...the archbishop understood the necessity of constant vigilance. 'I think he recognizes that we will never be done with the work of providing a safe environment for children,' Magnoni said." It is nice to know we live in the Springtime of Spiritual Gigantism. Forget about working for the sanctification and salvation of souls. Far too many of the clergy sweat bullets over just providing a safe place for children to play. Clean the stables that stink.

  • Posted by: - Dec. 21, 2004 12:38 PM ET USA

    Instead of authorizing self-congratulatory press releases, the Archbishop should reinstitute the 40 hours devotion and walk barefoot down the streets of Seattle, without cope or miter, as an example of penance.

  • Posted by: opraem - Dec. 21, 2004 11:50 AM ET USA

    you don't understand, the bishops have said their sexual abuse crisis is 'history', therefore it is. the election of their spokane colleague, who comes with quite alot of baggage, proves their stance to be correct. the reincarnation of king canute in bishop's robes? brunett exemplifies the l'etat c'est moi attitude of his brother bishops. they should use the past several years as a learning experience. pray, seek holiness and lead by example. not by edict.