It is done. I have spent hours filling out the ISCP questionnaire from the Diocese of Scranton. Despite the documentation already provided and the written acknowledgment from the Chancery, I had to answer the following questions:
- Where did the abuse occur? I provided a list.
- Age when first sexually abused? Thirteen
- When did the abuse occur?
- On approximately how many occasions were you sexually abused?
- To the best of your ability, describe the nature of the sexual abuse
- Did you receive a prior Financial Settlement from the Diocese?
- Do you currently have a civil lawsuit against the Diocese?
- Did anyone witness the abuse or circumstances surrounding the abuse?
- To the best of your ability, please describe the impact (emotional, spiritual, financial, etc.) you believe the abuse had on you:
This questionnaire is flawed. It is focused on a specific parish. I had to color outside of the lines because Robert Gibson was not my parish priest. He was my 8th-grade religion teacher at Notre Dame Jr/Sr High School in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. Gibson was a faculty advisor for the play done by the junior high school that year. He was the priest advising my mother with her marital difficulties. There was no alternative to the parish question. So I inserted the school information. I imagine some survivors would need to put the Fatima Retreat Center or one of the camps run by the Diocese in the past. I described his cars, the temporary rectory at Our Lady Queen of Peace in Brodheadsville he occupied while the ridiculously large permanent rectory was under construction in 1974. I described the threats, the abuse, the physical violence. Nine pages, single-spaced, recounting the repeated manipulations, being taken across state lines and the amount of booze he would consume to get his courage up. Fortunately, at times, the alcohol would only allow his courage to get up.
It took me months to get this all down in a Word file. For months I felt like I was getting pulled through the keyhole. This questionnaire was designed to make survivors relive sexual abuse again. They probably intended it to make survivors give up in frustration. I know I walked away from it on more than one occasion. Now that I am done with this, my team in Harrisburg is editing and formatting and adding potentially hundreds of pages of documents, emails, and blog posts.
The Diocese is not required to fill out any paperwork of which I am aware. The Bishops will not have consequences to deal with, no matter what offer comes my way from Mr. Feinberg and Ms. Biros, the “independent administrators of the ISCP.” After all, the money will come either directly or indirectly from the parishioners in the Diocese of Scranton. If you are buying Bishop Bambera’s particular flavor of B.S., the money will come from donations to pay survivors off. I guess the taste doesn’t matter, it is still just B.S. There are things I want to know. I know I will not get the truth from Bishop Bambera and the Diocese of Scranton. As a Catholic prelate, Joseph Bambera is incapable of telling the truth.
So here are my questions for the bishop and Diocese of Scranton:
- Why was protecting Robert Gibson or any of the other priests who enjoyed the protection of the Diocese more important than children?
- What gives the Bishop and his minions the right to circumvent the law and endanger the most innocent of your parishioners?
- How much of the parishioner’s money have you spent over the years to:
- Buy the silence of victims and their families?
- Pay lawyers to intimidate, demean and silence victims?
- Pay lobbyist to derail legislation designed to protect children and vulnerable adults and hold accountable the predators and the institutions that protect them?
- Pay child support for children fathered by priests (the next crisis in the wings)?
- Pay for abortions for women impregnated by priests?
- Buy silence to prevent the release of information about priests arrestedin prostitution stings or to silence heterosexual or gay lovers?
These are questions that will not be answered. Well, at least in the short term. The only people required to allocute are the survivors or the families of the victims that are no longer with us. There is really no justice in this process. When it comes right down to it, everyone loses except the bishops and their henchmen.
Church Militant is happy to announce — excited to announce — the launch of what we are calling the Church Militant Action Arm, a broad-based effort to get the goods on these rotten men through secret investigations where we turn over what we unearth to law enforcement and help police and prosecutors get these Judases out of office.
Click on the link and watch the video. If you are a Chancery employee or anyone with information, get in touch with these people I may have to throw some money at this effort!
While I tend to avoid conservative Catholics because of the vitriol they have thrown my way for the past dozen years, I find this concept to be intriguing. I am all for exposing the men in the red and purple vestments for what they indeed are, Roman Collar Criminals.
For now, I will wait for the folks in Washington managing the ISCP to get back to me. As with anything concerning the Diocese of Scranton, I will assume the worst and watch as they get away unscathed.