The Diocese of San Diego: The Land of Smoke and Mirrors

Yesterday, the Diocese of San Diego issued a press release, calling an “all hands on deck” meeting about child sexual abuse.

At the meeting, which is scheduled for Tuesday, August 13,

“All diocesan employees will hear about the steps the diocese is taking to protect children and young people, and on the moral and legal responsibilities shared by all of the diocese’s employees, not just mandated reporters, to report suspicions of child abuse,” said the news release.

Among the “education” employees will receive at the meeting and subsequent presentations:

One [presentation] will explore the church’s response to the sexual abuse crisis. Another will review the obligations of staff members who are mandated by law to report suspected abuse. And a third will underscore every employee’s mission to raise awareness of potential sex abuse and to act to prevent it even if they are not mandated reporters.

Of course, the whole clergy sex abuse cover-up thing happens in the bishop’s office. But I digress.

Out of all of the public relations spin in the article, it was this little nugget that caught my eye:

No priest of the San Diego diocese has been found to have sexually abused a minor since 2004, as determined by the Independent Review Board, said the report.

That’s interesting.

Let’s see. The monsignor who admitted to destroying evidence of child sex abuse was answering the sex abuse hotline in 2015.

A priest who sexually assaulted a 19-year-old and pled guilty was allowed back into a parish. You can read the graphic nature of the assault here.

But San Diego thought it was no big deal. They put him back into his former parish, and only removed him when advocacy groups got upset. Then, they hid him in Oklahoma City and told church officials there that the assault was “just a big misunderstanding” and that there were a bunch of people in the room when it happened. Lies.

Gee, if they were willing to lie about this, what else are they lying about? How about a bankruptcy? When the Diocese declared bankruptcy in 2007, according to the LA Times: 

Judge Louise De Carl Adler ordered the diocese to explain at a hearing next month why she should not throw out the bankruptcy filing. The diocese, she said, has been “lax, ineffective or indifferent” in its oversight of parishes.

“Some parishes are actively and deliberately hiding assets from the diocese or inappropriately designating donations as restricted to circumvent or evade the direction of the diocese and/or the court,” the judge wrote, citing the findings of a court-appointed financial expert who reviewed the diocese’s financial records.

In other words, believe nothing San Diego Bishop McElroy says. Remember, it’s not an employee or volunteer sex abuse crisis. It’s a clergy sex abuse and cover-up crisis. And the problem has its genesis in McElroy’s office.

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