Orange Bishop Kevin Vann needs a History Lesson, or

Why Independent Compensation Programs are a Sham, Reason 3,298

It was a throwaway quote by Orange Bishop Kevin Vann that gave him away.

Yesterday, six dioceses across the state of California launched what they are calling the Independent Compensation Program (ICP) for Victim-Survivors of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Priests.

The programs, modeled after similar programs in New York and elsewhere, aim to quickly compensate some victims of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church before further civil rights are opened up to them by state legislatures, as happened in New York and New Jersey.

I go into more detail here about California’s plan and why survivors should WAIT and think VERY CAREFULLY about engaging.

Vann’s Throw-Away Quote of Doom

In his letter to parishioners explaining the program, Orange Bishop Kevin Vann tells us everything we need to know about how he feels about history, reform, victims, transparency, child safety, and civil rights for the abused.

Catholic dioceses have also put in place strict policies and programs to protect people and to create safe environments in parishes, schools and other ministries. Hundreds of thousands of adults throughout the state have been trained in abuse prevention and reporting. Hundreds of thousands more in leadership positions have been fingerprinted and undergone background checks. Dioceses have implemented strict reporting requirements, working closely with local law enforcement officials to immediately report abuse allegations and remove accused perpetrators from ministry. The Diocese of Orange was one of the first Dioceses to put all of these in place. (emphasis mine)

Why, pray tell, was the Diocese of Orange the first to put these into place? Was is goodwill? Christian charity? A willingness to live like Jesus?

Nah. It was a sex abuse and cover-up lawsuit. They were FORCED TO AS TERMS OF THE SETTLEMENT.

Even though the Diocese of Orange and Archdiocese of Los Angeles (at the time of the settlement) refused to acknowledge that Fr. Michael Harris was a serial perpetrator (even calling his actions “sins” instead of “crimes”), they, according to the Los Angeles Times, implemented:

[eleven] changes to church procedures provided for in the settlement–which Ryan DiMaria’s attorney dubbed “Ryan’s Law”–include monitoring of schools and parishes, establishing a toll-free phone number and Web site for anonymous abuse complaints and forbidding priests to be alone in social settings with minors. Some of the rules are new, others reinforce existing regulations.

Really? And Kevin Vann is now crowing about being a pioneer? Maybe he should reserve his time to going through priest, volunteer, and employee perpetrator files and making them public and turning everything over to law enforcement.

But pretending that Orange is a leader in reforms is a sham. What Vann should have said is this:

“We were a leader in getting busted for covering up child sex abuse. Victims and the courts forced us into changes that we have never really enforced.”

If you had any questions about the integrity of the ICP, this should nail it for you.

 

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