The Long Arm of Abuse
A piece in today's Washington Post tries to debunk it.... Families of the Erickson victims -- well, the murdered ones -- are showing up
Sally Ellison does not have an appointment with the leaders of the Roman Catholic Church. She is not even a Catholic. But she is flying 900 miles from her home in Wisconsin to Washington today for a meeting of U.S. bishops, and she thinks they should hear what she has got to say.
"Because of their negligence, my son is dead. I think that's a pretty good reason for them to listen to me, don't you?" she said....
Today, members of the devoutly Catholic O'Connell family and the staunchly Lutheran Ellison family are coming to Washington in hopes of addressing the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which will meet in a downtown hotel for the next three days. The families' goals may sound fuzzy and quixotic; their 10 representatives say they want "accountability from the bishops" and a meeting with the pope.
But they also have drafted steps they think the church should take. They want a mechanism for punishing seminary rectors and bishops "who recklessly ordain troubled seminarians." They want disclosure of the names and whereabouts of "every admitted, proven or credibly accused Catholic cleric." They want each bishop to publicly acknowledge his mistakes, meet with victims and support legislation in all 50 states to lift the criminal and civil statutes of limitations in child sex abuse cases.
They call it the O'Connell-Ellison Five-Point Plan. They take it seriously, and they think the Catholic hierarchy should, too.
"I'm trying to work my way up to the top, because our bishop hasn't called us once. Not once," said Janet O'Connell, 74, mother of one victim. "I want to keep going up the ladder until I get some kind of an answer. It's got to stop."
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