Outside of the Catholic Church, high-risk, sexually violent and repeat sex offenders are required to register on sex offender registries for life, and in California are listed on the Megan’s Law public website. Within the Catholic Church, homosexual priests are offered rehabilitation. Pedophile priests are moved to another parish and avoid prosecution. Why should or would Catholic parents send their children into harms way to Catholic schools inside Catholic parishes run by corrupted Bishops?
The explosive news Tuesday that the long-awaited state grand jury reportinto sexual abuse in six Pennsylvania dioceses has finally been released, with horrifying abuses exposed over many decades.
“The report cites 301 priests, clergy and lay teachers with credible allegations against them,”KDKA-TV Pittsburg reported. “There are 99 in the Diocese of Pittsburgh alone. Of those 99, a group of four groomed and violently sexually assaulted young boys,” Attorney General Josh Shapiro said.
“One boy was forced to stand on a bed in a rectory, strip naked and pose as Christ on the cross for the priests. They took photos of their victim, adding them to a collection of child pornography which they produced and shared on church grounds,” Shapiro said.
The covering up of immoral behavior is wicked; it is shocking and vile when it is diocesan leaders in the Catholic Church managing the carefully orchestrated cover ups.
“While each church district had its idiosyncrasies, the pattern was pretty much the same,” the Grand Jury reported. “The main thing was not to help children, but to avoid ‘scandal.’ That is not our word, but theirs; it appears over and over again in the documents we recovered.”
As one priest recently reported, “Unfortunately, the rot is wide and deep and years of covering up abuse. Everyone knows.”
It’s not just Pennsylvania; something is rotten in Sacramento, California, but it is the men who are wrong, not the Church itself.
In Parts l and ll of my articles on the Conspiracy of Silence in Catholic Dioceses, ( Conspiracy of Silence in Sacramento Catholic Diocese , and Part ll: Conspiracy of in Silence Catholic Dioceses) I wrote about Fr. Jeremy Leatherby, formerly parish priest of Presentation of The Blessed Virgin Mary Parish, who was formally “suspended” by Sacramento Bishop Jaime Soto over dubious allegations of crossing “ministerial boundaries.”
Many of his parishioners believe their charismatic, holy priest was set up and then removed under the hammer of the Bishop’s all-powerful authority to get him out of the way. And they want to know why.
Thus far, there are more questions than answers. In seeking additional answers I spoke with Fr. Jeremy Leatherby’s father, Deacon David Leatherby, Jr.
Deacon Dave Leatherby Jr. corrected a few details in my two previous articles, but said the corrections were was not of material importance. The timeline was off – Fr. Jeremy was not booted two hours, but two weeks after Deacon David Leatherby, Jr. reported an incident where a St. Philomene’s parish employee walked into the bedroom where several priests were engaged in sexual relations. Dave Leatherby Jr. reported the incident to the Sacramento Diocesan Vicar for Clergy Rev. Blaise R. Berg – and instead of the information being received with appropriate solemnity, the Vicar blew up at Deacon Dave Leatherby Jr.
The reaction was odd and is as foul as a parent refusing to believe a child reporting abuse. It makes one think about the Pennsylvania Grand Jury observation, “The main thing was not to help children, but to avoid ‘scandal.’”
Two weeks later, the diocese accused Deacon Leatherby Jr.’s son, Fr. Jeremy, of “ministerial boundary” violations with a woman, ordered him to vacate the rectory where he lived, and placed him on “suspension.”
However, I spoke with several parishioners who, after trying to help the the woman in question, said she was apparently quite troubled, in an abusive marriage, and had developed an obsession with Fr. Jeremy. They said she was always hanging around the church – night and day.
I was told that despite being financially destitute and unable to leave her husband, she abruptly moved out of the state and was able to purchase property in another state. More to come on this…
Deacon Dave Leatherby Jr. said Fr. Jeremy was ordered by Bishop Soto to a meeting at the Dioceseas. Deacon Dave Leatherby Jr., a member of the Church, was asked by Fr. Jeremy to attend the final meeting with Soto. However, Soto would not allow Deacon Leatherby in to his office for the meeting with Fr. Jeremy. So he waited. The result was that Bishop Jaime Soto ordered Fr. Jeremy Leatherby to resign as a pastor, giving up all of this protections. When Fr. Jeremy would not immediately resign, Soto apparently threatened to go public with what he said Fr. Jeremy was accused of, so as not to stain the diocese. But Soto did not go public with the episode of the St. Philomene’s priests engaged in sexual relations, so as not to stain the diocese – or rather because of the deep reluctance to confront clerical sex abusers.
Fr. Jeremy Leatherby, being an obedient priest, resigned.
Soto immediately sent Fr. Jeremy Leatherby to a mental institution in Philadelphia, PA, where he was told he’d be under mental observation for a few weeks. The weeks turned into six months. This is what happens to good priests – they are shunned, and sent away with their mental health in question.
Father Jeremy Leatherby is still under suspension without having a hearing on his case in two and one-half years, and was forced to resign over accusations many say are fraudulent.
According to Deacon David Leatherby Jr., Fr. Jeremy believes great good will come from this because God would never let it happen unless great good for everyone involved will be the result.
Perhaps the great good will be shining light on the Sacramento Diocese. Bishop Soto’s reaction and suspension of Fr. Jeremy Leatherby doesn’t conform or even correspond to the facts. As I wrote in my last article, “there is a network of Bishops priests and Cardinals who are involved in sinful activities, who promote one another.” The good and holy priests who cannot and do not abide by nefarious activities are pushed out, one way or another.
Writer Rod Dreher notes, “Funny, but since the McCarrick thing broke, I’ve been getting a fair number of ‘keep the pressure up’ e-mails — almost all of them come from priests who are sick of what they see on the inside, but feel gagged for the reasons the anonymous priest above does.”
I too have been getting emails, text messages and phone calls asking me to stay on this topic, and keep revealing what I learn.
At The Wanderer, one writer recently wrote, “The laity has to set those wagons on fire. The bishops have followed Ben Franklin’s adage — ‘either we hang together, or we hang separately.’”
What the bishops “didn’t get” is the simple, stark reality that they were the problem. Yes, certainly the priests who molested young people were a huge problem. But the secondary shock—the scandal that rattled public confidence in the Catholic hierarchy—was the realization that many bishops had covered up the scandal. Worse: that many bishops had lied to their people. And not just the bishops: during the “Long Lent” of 2002, Americans had learned about a culture of omerta in the clergy, a habit of mendacity. In Dallas the bishops talked about how to discipline wayward priests; they said very little about how to restore trust in their own leadership.
“Who is going to save our Church? Do not look to the priests. Do not look to the bishops. It’s up to you, the laity, to remind our priests to be priests and our bishops to be bishops.”
Archbishop Fulton Sheen