Kṛṣṇacandra Dāsa – Śrī Vṛndāvan Dham: A Catholic Church Official was recently convicted, and will be imprisoned for “child endangerment” as it was reported in the US Media. The Priest helped cover up child abuse which subsequently allowed sexual predators to not be apprehended and charged – further placing other children under their care in danger. The Church Official was acquitted of ‘conspiracy’ charges but convicted on how he handled abuse claims it was reported in the article.
A former secretary for clergy in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Monsignor William Lynn, was charged in February with child endangerment. A grand jury had released a report accusing the archdiocese of keeping some credibly accused clergy in church jobs where they had access to children. Lynn has pleaded not guilty.[Here]
How close is this picture to our ISKCON’s history of abuse and the institutional cover up of the abuse?
Defense lawyers say he tried to document the claims, get priests into treatment and alert his bishop to problem priests. Lynn says the cardinal was the ultimate authority on what happened to the priests.
Prosecutors argue that he could have called police or quit the job if efforts to help victims were being stymied.
Yes he could have called the police… But he like our GBC / Gurus and Temple President have never called the police on all the abuse that they have been privy to in the history of our ISKCON society.
Religious institutions seek to provide spiritual and moral shelter and education for community members, being religiously orientated they are places where parents should feel safe and secure that their children are being properly trained and cared for. However, in many instances this has not been the case. The Churches/Temples/Synagogues and Schools have been places where child abuse is more prevalent than in the outside community.
The main reason why we find sexual predators/and or pedophiles targeting these institutions as places of service or employment – is due to the ease of access to children. Such places afford child abuse perpetrators, as was the case above, a safe haven to engage in their deviant activities with relatively little repercussions due to poor supervision by untrained and uncaring management.
It is also a ‘known’ that such institutions seek to cover up such crimes rather than report them to the civil authorities due to an insidious culture of corruption that festers in such places if the leaders are corrupt and do not follow strict religious principles. Students, Teachers and other staff are usually ill-equipped to recognize and report any instance of abuse which is further exacerbated by the fact that the corrupted institution has a culture of non-reporting and punishes the whistle blowers and victims as opposed to the criminals.
Not only do these institutions attract sexual deviants, they also create child abusers of other proclivities such as physical / mental and emotional abusers who are usually unqualified teachers etc who are poorly supervised and trained who, in either frustration and/or personal psychological damage; resort to fear, intimidation, aggression, violence and torture to gain power and control of the children.
The fact that child abuse and sexual assault did occur in our ISKCON institutional schools of which the GBC, Gurus, Temple authorities and School authorities were in full knowledge; is non-different to the Catholic Church. Our leaders covered up the abuse for decades, protected the abusers, punished the complainants and placed every child in their schools in danger of abuse and sexual molestation.
Perhaps the same fate, as the Priest above, is awaiting past and present GBC / Gurus, Temple Presidents, Teachers etc who not only were well aware of such heinous activity under their jurisdiction but actively sought to cover up such cases and are guilty of neglect and endangerment of any child who was further abused or assaulted while they covered it up.
It is also to be noted that ISKCON also made a show of inquiring into the abuse and established an International Child Protection Office along with investigators and judges. However it was established and controlled by the very Principles of the schools where the abuse took place and were knowingly complicit in covering up the abuse cases and protecting the abusers – and yet this somehow escapes everyone’s sense of proper judgment… This was simply a show of caring and pseudo professionalism which masked the real intent which was to create a fool proof system to protect the institution rather than protect the child.
However as is always the case the members of the institution never come forward to speak the truth which would incriminate these reprobates and these reprobates continue with their evil ways safe in the belief that everyone around them are cowards and rascals themselves and will protect them till their last traitorous breath.
We must remember that ‘cover-ups’ are active things. Each and every member of our ISKCON Society who was witness to either the abuse or the subsequent cover up and has not spoken up against it has intentionally played a very important role in not only the pain and suffering of countless children they are also just as guilty of placing all children under the care of a ISKCON facility at risk of abuse.
Do we think that no child or teacher or parent or community devotee spoke up?
There is a history of many such instances lying below the awareness of every devotee; of heinous child abuse perpetrated by and covered by other so called ISKCON devotees. You simply have to educate yourself to see this. Just because the perpetrator of the abuse or the institutional official who covered it up – was not caught charged and convicted in a court of law does not mean they were in the right. It did happen. It is a big part of our societies history. The culprits are still our societies leaders and so nothing has changed.
The betrayal of our children is perhaps the most heinous sin that our society has committed with the exception of the betrayal of our members by allowing unqualified men and women to take disciples and lie and cheat their way through our society. Both are as bad as each other and both are the main stumbling blocks to our society growing and developing to be able to provide any shelter for the sincere seeker of the absolute truth.
It is well known who the GBC, Principles, Temple Presidents, Gurus and in some instances the perpetrators were of our various centers. These individuals were never reported to the police and suffered at worst mild consequences from the institution. All the GBC’s and Principles who were actively involved in the cover–up of the abuse and criminality are to this very day considered senior and highly respected leaders of our Vaiṣṇava society.
Perhaps one day these reprobates will be known for the criminals that they are and rejected and/or charged with crimes of child endangerment as was the Priest above. However there is no escaping the karmic reaction that awaits them at the end of their miserable deceitful lives.
US archbishop Justin Rigali orders inquiry into paedophile priests
Report says as many as 37 men with evidence of sexual abuse allegations against them remained in active ministry.
- Riazat Butt, religious affairs correspondent
- guardian.co.uk, Thursday 17 February 2011 22.40 GMT
Archbishop Justin Rigali has ordered an inquiry into paedophile priests. Photograph: Larry Williams/AP
A senior Catholic in the US has ordered an investigation into paedophile priests after a grand jury report said as many as 37 men with credible evidence of sexual abuse allegations against them remained in active ministry.
The archbishop of Philadelphia, Justin Rigali, also placed three priests – Joseph DiGregorio, Rev Joseph Gallagher and Rev Stephen Perzan – on administrative leave pending a review of their cases.
The grand jury said Gallagher, accused by a former altar boy of fondling him, is retired.
Perzan was accused of fondling two boys while DiGregorio remained a parochial vicar after he was “credibly accused” of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl.
The archdiocese of Philadelphia is the sixth largest in the US and the grand jury revelations have revived the spectre of scandal.
In 2005 a report detailed hundreds of cases of sexual abuse of children by dozens of clergy over many decades, but this report brings criminal indictments for the first time.
In a statement Rigali said: “Many people of faith and in the community at large think that the archdiocese does not understand the gravity of child sexual abuse. We do. The task before us now is to recognize where we have fallen short and to let our actions speak to our resolve.
“Sexual abuse of children is a crime. It is always wrong and gravely evil. Protecting children, preventing child abuse and assisting victims are priorities of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.”
Rigali and his predecessor, Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, who is retired, were named in a civil suit filed this week by an anonymous 28-year-old man. He accused them of concealing the identity and sexual abuse of paedophile priests from law enforcement authorities to save the church from a costly scandal.
Last week a grand jury recommended charging Monsignor William Lynn, secretary for the clergy for the archdiocese of Philadelphia under Bevilacqua, with two criminal counts of endangering the welfare of a child. The charges against 60-year-old Lynn go back to his conduct as archdiocesan vicar for clergy from 1992 to 2004, when he was responsible for recommending the assignment of priests and with investigating abuse allegations.
Instead, according to the grand jury, he moved accused priests to parishes, putting “literally thousands of children at risk of sexual abuse.”
He is believed to be the only high ranking diocesan official indicted under a criminal statute for charges related to the sexual abuse scandal that came to light in 2002.
A preliminary hearing for the charges will be held on 7 March.
The grand jury report also recommended rape and other criminal charges against three priests and a teacher.