Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Silvia: Duty to Report

A few thoughts on the following of the following recent article from the Ottawa Citizen:

18 May 2016:  Ottawa diocese repeatedly warned about local clergy’s most notorious abuser

(1) Four priest knew

What strikes me here is the fact that, according to the article, and starting in the 60s, Ottawa clergy were warned at least seven times about Father Crampton’s “sexual misconduct.”  At least four priests were told.  We don’t know the names of all four priest, but we do have the names of two:  (1)  Father Barry McGrory, and (2) Father John Beahan (later an auxiliary bishop )  Both were themselves sexual predators, and both were good friends of Crampton’s.  It is no surprise, then, is it, that neither neither McGrory nor Beahan took any action?

Who were the other two priests who knew and failed to action to protect children?

(2)  Duty to report

“In 2011, the Archdiocese of Ottawa issued a protocol that requires all clergy members and church employees to report any allegation of child sexual abuse to the Office of the Archbishop and to the Children’s Aid Society.”

In Ontario the duty to report to CAS has been obligatory for many many years.  Lawyers are exempt.   Dioceses are not.

That aside, I do not understand why there is no obligation to report to police.  If there is suspicion that there is criminal activity,common sense says report to police.

Sexual abuse of children and youth are crimes. By all means, report to CAS to ensure that other children are protected, but for goodness sake report suspected criminal activity to police.

I have never understood why the duty to report in most if not all provinces and territories in Canada is not to police but to the CAS.  Why is there not mandatory reporting to police of such a reprehensible crime ?  That I suppose is another matter, but it seems to me that there is nothing to prevent a bishop from insisting that all sexual abuse allegations levelled against a priest must be reported to police.  Why not?  Yes, I can understand that victims may have concerns, but I also have faith in the victims, and I believe to the depth of my being that there is not one victim out there who wants to see other children or youth abused. I fear too that it serves Church officials well to allow victims to remain riddled with shame and fear. Perhaps a little time to explain the necessity of contacting police and a  promise of support is in order, along with assurances that the shame belongs squarely on the shoulders of their abuser?



Part of a broader problem:

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