Let me state at the beginning that I am a graduate of the University of Scranton. I think I can say that I began the process of healing at the U during my time there (1978-1982). I loved my school while I was there and still have many friends with whom I keep in contact.
I was looking at the University of Scranton’s Healing Reconciliation and Hope Task Force website earlier this week. The task force was created by the President of the University in October 2018. I wanted to see what events they are planning for the remainder of the academic year. In the past, I offered my thoughts to the President of my University on where the Task Force could focus their attention. My recommendations were dismissed with a curt letter from the Office of the President.
Something caught my eye. Under the “Upcoming Events” banner was the following information on a lecture coming in March 2020:
Monsignor Thomas Muldowney, Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia, Kathleen Bolinski, LSW, Safe Environment Coordinator and Mary Beth Pacuska, MSN, Victim Assistance Coordinator will present Clergy Sexual Abuse: Lessons Learned in the Diocese of Scranton on March 5th, 2020 in Leahy Hall, Room 235 from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
It looks benign enough. But it is not. The University of Scranton is providing a forum for these Diocesan officials to attempt to rehabilitate the Diocese’s reputation by touting their “efforts” on behalf of survivors without challenge. You will note that there are no survivors listed on the event to give our perspective of what the Diocese of Scranton has done to survivors. The phrase “on behalf of survivors” is laughable.
I went back through the event listing to the start of the Task Force’s work and found only one event where a survivor was a featured speaker. Mr. David Nolan was the sole survivor that I could find in the event history. One survivor, let that sink in. To be fair, I do not know if survivors participated in other discussions at the University. They are not listed.
A forum is being offered to the Diocesan Offices that have historically been involved in the concealment and coverup of sexual crimes committed by priests in the Diocese of Scranton. Bishop Bambera, as a monsignor, held the same office and put Robert Gibson back out in the Diocese with full knowledge that Gibson was a threat. These offices have moved predators around the Diocese to keep predators one step ahead of law enforcement and allowed them to prey on new populations of children. They have even transferred predators to other Diocese, some out of state. They had the opportunity to do the right thing, to protect the children. They chose to protect the Diocese.
They are going to highlight the Victim’s “Assistance” Coordinator. This office, over the years, has provided valuable intelligence to the Bishop on victims and their families, enabling the Bishop and his legal team to format a strategy to silence and marginalize those victims. Yes, this is an excellent group of individuals for the Task Force to foist, unchallenged, on the University Community.
You will find that these people will say they are protecting survivors by not providing complete information on the predators they have protected. As a survivor, let me state clearly that the Diocese has no interest in my well being or that of any other survivor. I have no desire or need to be protected by the Diocese. They need not concern themselves with my comfort now. They never have done so in the past.
I have asked what will happen if I were to gather a group of survivors attend this event. I have been reassured by a member of the Task Force that this event is open to the public. I am a member of the University of Scranton community, am I not? Will the University of Scranton prevent survivors from attending? Will they bar the door?
If I travel up to Scranton from my home in Virginia, are there other survivors who would be interested in coming along to join in questioning the panel? I would love to see this panel address a room full of survivors. My theory is that they will not go through with the event if they know we are coming to call them out on their lies.
I am thinking that the expression used by the University’s fundraisers, “Once a Royal, always a Royal,” is going to be tested.