In a 147-page report that was released by a Pennsylvania grand jury in March 2016, two Roman Catholic bishops, James Hogan and Joseph Adamec were severely criticized for the way they handled sexual abuse allegations.
Decades Of Cover-Ups
Most of the details of how the two men worked to protect the priests in their diocese only came to light due to a previously unknown secret diocesan archive that was discovered after a search warrant was issued in August of 2015. The warrant had been issued because the District Attorney’s office had been asked to look into how the church had dealt with abuse allegations made against an athletic trainer working at Bishop McCort Catholic High School.
In these records, which provided the details of hundreds of allegations, the church itself noted that in certain cases, the priest in question “would have been prosecuted and convicted except that the bishop intervened and he was sent to Michigan for treatment and placed in another parish upon his return.”
The report shows the extreme measure that were taken by the bishops to ensure their fellow clergy were protected. The cover-ups began with Hogan, who was in charge of the diocese from 1966 to 1986 and continued with Adamec who took over when Hogan retired. He too retired in 2011.
Hogan’s solution to the growing problem was to simply transfer the accused priest from one parish to another. In one instance, he even sent a priest accused of child sex abuse to a school for boys.
Adamec’s methods were much more aggressive. He and his staff allegedly threatened the victims and their families with excommunication from the church if they pursued legal justice. He then went so far as to create a chart which showed how much a victim was entitled:
|Type Of Abuse Experienced||The Payout For That Abuse|
|Fondling Over Clothing||$10,000 – $25,000|
|Fondling Under Clothing||$15,000 – $40,000|
|Forced Oral Sex||$25,000 – $75,000|
|Rape||$50,000 – $125,000|
Of the hundreds of allegations he was made aware of, Adamec only forced 14 priests to undergo a psychiatric evaluation. A total of nine men were removed from their posts after the evaluation.
Neither Hogan, who died in 2005, or Adamec have had any criminal charges filed against them at this time.
Why Aren’t Criminal Charges Being Filed?
According to Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane, no criminal charges have been filed at this time for a number of reasons. In many cases, the abusers have already passed away or the statute of limitations has expired. For others, the trauma of the abuse is too much for the victim and they feel unable to testify.
What Is The Difference Between A Criminal Case And A Civil Case?
A person can be involved in both criminal and civil cases at the same time, however, the two cases are completely separate. Criminal charges are brought against someone by the government and are thought of as an accusation of crimes against society or a violation of the law. The charges can be brought by the local, state, or federal government. If found guilty, the defendant may be forced to pay a fine or serve jail time.
When a party is involved in a civil case, the complaint is typically filed by an individual or group who feels that they are owed monetary compensation due to the negligent choices or behavior of the defendant.
Where Can Victims Get Help?
There are numerous organizations that exist to help those who have survived sexual assault.
National Sexual Assault Hotline: Available 24/7 both online and by phone, this hotline exists to provide confidential support to survivors. You can reach the hotline at (800) 656-4673.
RAINN: this network is the largest anti-sexual violence organization in the United States. Learn more about them here.
Safe Horizon: This agency is dedicated to providing victims with the compassion and support they need.
Joyful Heart Foundation: The foundation offers a healing program for the survivors of sexual abuse. You can find more information on their programs here.
1in6: This is a group that exists to help men who have been sexual abused. Follow this link to learn more.
Many local communities also offer support groups.