The Passing of a Predator Priest

I don’t post here very often anymore. But when an email arrived in the early morning hours this past Friday with a link to a story on PennLive.com about the death of a prolific Archdiocese of Philadelphia pedophile I felt the need to pass the information along.

brzyskiJames Brzyski, alleged to have had more than 100 victims while a priest in the Archdiocese during the 1970s and 1980s died in Texas a few days ago.   The Archdiocese sent him to “treatment” (read that as hidden from civil authorities by the Archdiocese) after being credibly accused of sexual assault.  He walked out of treatment and left the ministry.  The Archdiocese only told parishioners that he departed for “medical reasons.” Like most predator priests in Pennsylvania, he was neither charged or prosecuted for his sex crimes against children because of the statutes of limitation.

Brzyski was living in the Dallas, Texas area when an investigative reporting team from The Philadelphia Inquirer found him. He declined a request to be interviewed.  Within a month of being discovered, he was found dead at the Super 7 Motel in Fort Worth.  You can read the article from the Inquirer here.

I want to send my condolences to his victims.  The truth and extent of his crimes may have died with him.   I know from personal experience that the death of the priest who raped children brings a broad range of emotions for a survivor.  There is relief that the monster is dead. There is also anger that he made it out of this life without having to answer for his sins,  face his victims or pay for his crimes.  What may be potentially worse for survivors is the knowledge that the Archdiocese is breathing a sigh of relief that another of the pack of wolves they have protected and supported for years is no longer causing a scandal for the church.

When  Robert Gibson died in 2012,  I was numb, confused and angry.  Not so much at him, but at the Diocese of Scranton for choosing to shield him, deny the truth and not make the simple decision to protect children.

The death of James Brzyski tears the scab off the wound for all his victims and their families.  His death does not make the pain any better, it just makes it different. If you were one of his victims, reach out.  Don’t shoulder this burden alone.  What he did to you was not your fault.

I do not believe in heaven or hell. I don’t have the option of wishing he would burn in hell along with the rest of the Roman collar criminals.  I would like to see the wrath of the survivor community come down on those in the hierarchy of the church that protected monsters like James Brzyski.  I really don’t care if that justice is awarded in a courtroom or on the streets.

Link to the section on James Brzyski in the Grand Jury Report on the Archdiocese of Philadelphia

Dallas News Report on Brzyski’s death

 

 

 

Dialed the number. Now I wait…

Since my last post, I have spoken briefly with an investigator.  I am looking forward to a more in-depth interview with him.  He initially offered to meet me here in Virginia until he realized that I was much further south than he expected.  Contact has been made.  He seems to be working a very large case load for the Diocese of Scranton, which is not surprising at all because the bishops there were protecting a number of predator priests.

I will let you know when a more detailed interview is conducted and I will pass any information that is made available to me.

If you share an experience similar to my own within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, I urge you to contact the Attorney General’s hotline at 1-888-538-8541 .

Dial the number…

I have a healthy skepticism when it comes to anyone actually prosecuting the institutions that have made it a business practice to support and protect pedophiles that groom, sexually abuse and rape children within that institution.  There is a risk calculation, no doubt, that guides these institutions to deny claims of abuse, attempt to discredit victims and protect the predators.

In the post prior to this one, I put out information released by the Foundation to Abolish Child Sexual Abuse (FACSA). They are looking for victims of sexual abuse to dial in, regardless of how long ago the abuse took place.  It is imperative that we document the files on the institutions that protected predators and turned a deaf ear on victims.

The Attorney General’s office in Harrisburg has a Sexual Abuse Hotline, 1-888-538-8541. I called the number on Monday morning. I had a recording tell me that the line was not in service.  I tried later in the morning and was surprised to have a live person answer the phone and take my information.  She told me the name of the investigator looking into the Diocese of Scranton and said she would pass my information along.  I will wait and see if anyone contacts me.  If they do I will let you know.  I do not expect much, but I would like to document the file against the Diocese of Scranton.

If you were the victim of sexual abuse as a child (under the age of 18) within the state of Pennsylvania, you should call the hotline and make a report.  The person answering the phone will give you the name of the investigator for the Diocese(s) that are applicable to your particular circumstances.

PA-diocese-map

Within the Dioceses in Pennsylvania there have been at least 292 credibly accused priests. That, to me, seems to be a low number.  In my case, the Diocese of Scranton admits to only (!) four victims of my predator. I know that number is low.  Ridiculously, insultingly low.  These predators were prolific.

If you have a story to tell, now is the time to do so.  Please call the number,  1-888-538-8541 and be heard.

I guess we shall see where, if anywhere, this will lead.

***Disclaimer: the misspelling of “Alltona” on the map was embedded in the .gif file I pulled from the Diocese of Harrisburg’s website.

Action Alert from the Foundation To Abolish Child Sex Abuse (FACSA)

 

This is from an email that FACSA sent out Yesterday.  It was important enough to come out of my self imposed archive.

1-888-538-8541

Last April, the PA Attorney General’s Office established a toll-free phone number for survivors of child sex abuse (who were PA residents, or were abused by someone in PA) to call if they wanted to file a report of being sexually abused or molested as a child under 18 no matter how long ago the abuse happened or no matter who committed the abuse.

The AG’s office is asking victims from all the places/institutions and all the alleged criminals that have literally gotten away with soul murder. Hopefully, the AG’s office will be able to take further steps to expose the criminals and the criminal institutions that aided and abetted the perps.

1-888-538-8541

While your specific abuse may have happened so long ago that there is no criminal or civil charges you can file, by your identifying perps and complicit institutions now, other victims may gain the courage to come forward once they realize they were not the only one abused by their perp.  Additionally, we anticipate there are many institutions over the years that have hidden cases of child sex abuse when it happened and with the children they were supposed to be protecting. The perps and the institutions need to be held accountable for the damage that happened.

1-888-538-8541

Please call this number. Leave a message. Someone will call you back.

Your story could be of help to other victims.

And then SHARE, SHARE, SHARE this email/post!
PS: If you lived in the Allentown Diocese when you were abused, please also contact Rep. Mark Rozzi.
On Facebook: Private Message Rep. Rozzi at https://www.facebook.com/VoteRozzi
Via Email: MRozzi@pahouse.net

FACSA Update 4/18/2014

The following is the content of an email I received yesterday from the Foundation to Abolish Child Sex Abuse (FACSA):

Over the many months of the current PA Legislature’s session our team has continued to monitor for legislative efforts that will protect children from sexual predators and provide some measure of justice for CSA victims. Most recently there were several pieces of legislation signed into law by Gov. Corbett including the following changes:

  • Designated state licensing boards will now be required to provide training on child abuse recognition and reporting.
  • New provisions clarify who is mandated to report child abuse and the reporting process they must follow to report suspected abuse to the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare.
  • Employees will now be protected from discrimination in the workplace as a result of reporting suspected abuse.
  • Penalties will increase for those required to report supposed abuse but fail to do so.

Additionally a bill providing for stable funding of Child Advocacy Centers (CACs) in PA was also signed by Gov. Corbett. CACs are multidisciplinary treatment programs for abused children, which brings together doctors, nurses, prosecutors, social workers and law enforcement. This approach gives abused children the best chance to recover and also provides the most effective way to gather evidence to bring perpetrators to justice. There are currently 21 CACs in PA.

However, although more than one dozen “child protection” laws have been enacted to date, none enable the removal of known pedophiles.

One champion for this much needed legislation is Rep. Mark Rozzi. Rep. Rozzi represents part of Berks County. He and some childhood friends were victims of CSA. Rep. Rozzi has introduced several pieces of legislation to help protect children and promote justice for victims.

  • You are Invited!

Please join us in Harrisburg on Wednesday April 30th to support Rep. Mark Rozzi’s HB 2067 and after the press conference join one of our teams who will be meeting with key legislators to ask for their support of this important legislation.

PRESS CONFERENCE INFO:
Rep. Mark Rozzi Press Conference on HB 2067
WHEN: Wed. April 30, 2014 at 10:00 AM
WHERE: Capitol Media Center, Room 1 East Wing of Capitol, Harrisburg, PA

How do you get there? 

MEETING WITH LEGISLATORS:
If you are interested in joining one of our teams who will be meeting with legislators after the press conference, please contact Tammy Lerner at 610-509-9568 or email her at lerner@abolishsexabuse.org to sign on. You will need to arrive at our legislative team’s office across from the Capitol Building in Harrisburg no later than 9:00 AM  to review plans for the day.

MORE INFO RE: HB 2067:
HB 2067 does several things:

  • Going forward, it permanently eliminates the SOL for child sex abuse, both criminally (now to age 50) and civilly (now to age 30)
  • As a compromise, it does allow for previously time-barred victims (up to age 50) to bring suit.
  • If the perpetrator was employed by a public or private entity that owed a duty of care for the victim, damages against the entity may be awarded with a finding of “gross negligence”.
  • Add “child sex abuse” as an exception to immunity laws thereby removing the “sovereign immunity” defense for public officials and institutions.

Why this legislation is important:

  • Victims deserve their day in court.
  • It takes courage (and often decades) for children to acknowledge abuse.
  • Perpetrators and responsible entities have not been held accountable.
  • Perpetrators are still involved with children.
  • Perpetrators have been deliberately shielded from prosecution.
  • The SOL laws are arbitrary and archaic.
  • Only lawmakers have the power to enact laws to protect the public.
  • Although more than one dozen “child protection” laws have been enacted to date, none enable the removal of known pedophiles.
  • HB 2067 is sound public policy.

Below is part of an e-mail Rep. Rozzi recently sent to his colleagues to encourage them to support HB 2067:

“Once again I am appealing to the sense of civic responsibility that leads every one of us to seek public office.  As legislators, we have an obligation to institute laws that safeguard our citizens… especially those who cannot protect themselves.

“We read how venerable institutions, insulated by outdated laws, have not only allowed the victimization of children….but have exposed countless others to the horrors of sexual abuse.   The problem will NEVER GO AWAY as long as perpetrators are shielded.  Witness Sandusky, the Boy Scouts, any religious organization, and any school system…public or private.

“We have learned that victims of child sex abuse often take decades to acknowledge their demons and that they rarely make false claims.  We know that perpetrators can’t stop abusing.  But if we can give survivors of child sex abuse the opportunity to expose predators through accessing records to support their claims, without the constraints of arbitrary statutes of limitations, than this will go a long way to stop the abuse of the next generation of children.

“I implore you to co-sponsor my legislation, House Bill 2067 and call upon the Chairmen of the Judiciary Committee to at least hold a meeting on the merits of the measure.  On behalf of all victims of child sexual abuse, I thank you in advance for your consideration and support.”

FACSA’s mailing address is:

FACSA
740 Cornerstone Lane
Bryn Mawr, Pa 19010

You can make a contribution to FACSA!

 

RCC Playbook III – The Church is the Real Victim!

The Church is the Real Victim

There is nothing more offensive to me personally as the defensive tactics embraced by the hierarchy of the Catholic Church.  In this installment of the “Playbook,” we will take a look at how the RCC spins the sexual crime crisis to make the RCC look like the victim.  Ignore the RCC  sex crisis, banking crisis,  involvement in murders and kidnappings, Vatican leaks, gay witch hunts, reprimand of nuns to deflect attention away from the sex crisis, loss of parishioners, the arbitrary closing of parishes, insensitive detached and out of touch leaders.  Ignore it all!   The real victim here is Catholicism.   (Adjust your sarcasm dials and buckle in.)  And the ALLEGED victims of sexual abuse are the source of all the woes of the church.

1. Alleged Victims are hell-bent on the destruction of the church.  The hierarchy of the church and the ultra-conservative groups that support it are painting the goals of survivors being solely focused on the destruction of the church.  They contend that we will not be placated until the Bishops’ Chryslers, their summer houses, and their extravagant lifestyles are destroyed.   They want to tell the faithful that victims of abuse want to tear down schools and churches, destroy parishes and bankrupt the church until god (lower case intended) is banished from society.

Groups like the Catholic League spit out statistics in support of such claims on a regular basis.  Those statistics, for the most part, are unsubstantiated.  When I wrote to the point of contact at the Catholic league to fact check a particularly virulent rant from Bill Donohue (Catholic Hater in Chief), there was just no reply.  I guess when you are spinning propaganda to support your local Archbishop the truth is not required.

2. The media is picking on the Catholic Church.  You hear this everywhere a church leader or the head of some ultra-conservative church organization or group of church apologists get together in front of a microphone. This is all a vast left-wing conspiracy. The best article I have read in this vein is by John P. Martin called “Church scandal hits close to home.” The article stands on its own merit.  I first read this article while keeping up with Susan Mathew’s Blog,  Catholics4Change.  It first appeared on Philly.com.

Bloggers Note:  Do you think if the hierarchy of the Catholic Church and it’s shills would be getting negative media attention if they were not so wholly inept, involved in protecting predator pedophiles, running corrupt banking systems, punishing nuns for doing good work, covering up kidnappings of teenagers and funding the extravagant excess of the princes of the church?

3. Trial Lawyers are keeping this issue alive!   If you read the Catholic apologists’ blogs and press releases from groups like the Catholic League, you would discover that the “scandal” is being perpetuated by the likes of Jeff Anderson and Marci Hamilton. Their spin is that the trial lawyers and scholars are trying to keep the scandal alive for their own personal enrichment.   “There is really good money in those settlements.”    Anyone look at the stable of lawyers, PR guys, media consultants and risk management types in the employ of various dioceses, religious orders and Catholic organizations lately?  By some accounts, the cost of defending Monsignor Lynn ran upwards of $11 Million!  I think, in fact, the hierarchy of the Catholic Church is keeping Trial Lawyers (and PR guys and media consultants) alive.  Just a thought…

4. These crimes are the work of homosexuals bent on the destruction of the church.  Let’s just blame it on gay priests.  I have covered this before.  Simply put, just before you are gay, does not mean you are a pedophile.    The church would like you to believe that the “gay subculture” in the priesthood is from where this deviant behavior emanates.   But, if this was true, can someone explain to me about the priests who have preyed on girls?  You see, with the excuse generators that operate in many of the Chancery buildings around the world it is really true that the devil is in the details.  I would imagine that there are gay priests in the church who are doing God’s work and looking after parishioners without trying to slide their hands inside an altar boy’s cassock.

5. The behavior of these pedophiles is a direct result of the excesses of Vatican II and the liberalization of Catholicism.  Once again the boys in the curia are counting on the gullibility of parishioners that blindly follow their roman collared handlers.    People, if there are documented cases of pedophilia in the church dating back before Vatican II, which ran from 11 October 1962 until 8 December 1965, how can blame the “liberalization of the church”?  Put down the church bulletin and the letter from the bishop on the annual fund drive and think.  Canon law has articles covering crimes against children by clergy going back hundreds of years.   This crisis is not a post-Vatican II product.  This kind of behavior and the cover-ups by the church have been going on for centuries.  It is built into the fabric of the clergy to protect their institution and avoid scandal at all costs.   Even if it is at the expense of a child.  The big difference today is that we have social networks that can reveal the true nature of those who will commit heinous crimes against children and those institutions that will protect those predators.

The next installment will cover the methods employed by the bishops of the church to keep priests one step ahead of the sheriff or two steps outside of the jurisdictions that could prosecute them.

RCC Playbook II — There is nothing we can do about it.

This is the second in a series of posts on the tactics in play from the hierarchy of the Catholic Church and its apologists (the Catholic League of Extraordinary Idiots comes to mind).

There is Nothing We Can Do About It

There are  three variants on this one.  All have the same effect of the church assuming the “Heisman” position in an attempt to keep victims away.

The church is using these tactics to wash their hands of responsibility for the actions of their priests, nuns and lay people who have used their positions and stations to commit physical and sexual assaults on children and vulnerable adults.

This is the plausible deniability strategy practiced by the church in their attempt to shut down victims or organizations within the church who are looking to hold the hierarchy to account for the crimes committed, literally, in the name of God.

1. We’re sorry, but the statutes of limitations have passed.  Lawyers are quick to point this one out on behalf of the diocese.   “We would love to talk to you, ease your pain, express our deep condolences and regrets, but I see that the SOL’s for both criminal and civil actions have expired.  Here, have a mass card and a copy of our Notice Regarding Sexual Abuse of a Person Under Eighteen Years of Age by Ordained or Lay Personnel of the DiocesePlease leave through the side door and consider a donation to our annual fund drive to support our retiring vocations!”  Bottom line here is that once the statutes of limitations have run out, they have no vested interest in working with victims or their families.  There is no acknowledgment past the “credible report.”  There is no investigation, there is no review under Canon Law.  There is no consequence.  It is like it never happened.

2. The alleged crimes took place before our policy was in place.  Bummer Dude!   I hear what you are saying about Father (insert name here).   But what happened to you happened before our policy came into effect.   We can’t retroactively give a damn about your particular instance. If we did that, we would have to pretend to care about all the other victims of all the other priests we have hidden retired.  That Notice Regarding Sexual Abuse of a Person Under Eighteen Years of Age by Ordained or Lay Personnel of the Diocese information we gave you as we hustled you out a side door in number 1 (see above), sorry buddy, you predate that.   So, too bad.  Please do not disturb the senior citizens coming into the cathedral, church, or chapel who have bequests for the church written into their wills.  We would prefer that they remain oblivious to what is going on.   The bishop does need a new Chrysler, the current car is almost 3 years old (gasp).

3. He’s dead, he can’t defend himself against these charges.  Inevitably, a victim of abuse who has remained silent for decades will come forward.   Often, even if the claim is credible, parishioners and the hierarchy of the church will attack the victim for “trying to soil the good name of Father (fill in the blank).   “Why don’t you let him rest in peace!”  “You are only going after someone who cannot defend himself.”

In my case, my perp (what do I call him?)  died in May.  In June I received the first volley of the “let him rest in peace, you are trashing the reputation of a deceased man of god” email.  It starts!  Suspend the fact that he was a prolific abuser/molester/rapist.  Forget the fact the Diocese of Scranton had him locked away for a dozen years.  Forget that he was sent to “rehabilitation,” and he started grooming his next victim as soon as the backs of his handler were turned.

The variation on #3 is the “he is an addled old man suffering from (insert malady of age here)” who cannot remember what he did.”    The diocese, in my case, wanted to garner sympathy for him with me because he was suffering from dementia. Sorry, sympathy is not a commodity I offer wholesale.

The culture of this institution is such that no change is possible as long as the hierarchy is not held accountable. Either from within the church or from civil authority.  This morning, word from a courtroom in Philadelphia was that Monsignor Lynn was sentenced to 3-6 years for his crime of failing to protect a child from sexual crimes committed by a priest known to the diocese as an abuser (not the word I really want to use).   This is a start.  Justice came at a heavy price to the victims and a heavy price to the parishioners whose donations (even if they didn’t know they were footing the legal bill) funded the $11 million + defense costs.

I have been asked if I thought the sentence was reasonable and I think it was.  I have to believe in the justice system, the alternative is just not acceptable.   That said, Monsignor Lynn should pay for his complicity, but he is taking a bullet for those who wear purple or red.  I would like to see the bishops and archbishops who have been playing a shell game with pedophiles for decades to have a day in court and, if a jury convicts, sentenced accordingly.   I recommend that Bishop Timlin, late of the Diocese of Scranton be moved to the front of the list.  This country needs to send a message that Roman Collar Crime will not be tolerated in any form.