An alleged victim is called negligent: In his first legal response to charges that the Rev. Paul R. Shanley began molesting a Newton boy when he was 6 years old, Cardinal Bernard F. Law has asserted that ''negligence'' by the boy and his parents contributed to the alleged abuse. [...] Carmen Durso, a Boston lawyer who represents others who say they are victims of abuse, said he found no legal fault with the language. But for Law to make use of it, Durso said, ''is dumb beyond belief. It is a stupid argument to make when you know that Catholics are already angry at you.'' Added Durso: ''From the start, the archdiocese has been incredibly stupid in the way they have handled this crisis. And as hard as it was to do, they have managed to make things worse.''
Last night, the parents of the boy, who was allegedly abused by Shanley between 1983 and 1989, said they are furious. ''To say my son is legally responsible for his own abuse at the hands of this monster Shanley when my son was only 6 years old is horrific,'' Rodney Ford, the father of Gregory Ford, said in an interview. In the lawsuit, the Fords charge that Law was negligent in overseeing Shanley, who he knew, or should have known, was a danger to children.
Law makes annual pitch for funds: On the eve of an annual fund-raising appeal that some are seeing as a barometer of his staying power, Cardinal Bernard F. Law yesterday made a televised pitch for Catholics to give money to fund the operations of the Archdiocese of Boston. Law is hoping to raise $16 million next weekend through the annual cardinal's appeal, which funds the basic operating budget of the church's central administration. That goal matches the total raised last year, but some priests have said parishioners seem hesitant to contribute this year because of anger over the cardinal's handling of clergy accused of sexual abuse.
... Good grief. On the same day, you accuse a six-year-old of negligence, and then you turn around and ask for money. At least some of the money is going to have to go for defense funds and settlement fees. The Church says that the Sunday collection money isn't going to these things, but the money must come from the congregation in some way, shape or form; that's the way the Church makes its money, after all. To say that the Sunday collection is really any different is just sleight-of-hand sophistry.
Most Catholics in Boston want Law to resign. To be sure, at the rate he's going, the Vatican may well need him to resign; between accusing six-year-olds of collusion in their own molestation, and telling lay Catholics that they're not allowed to organize, he's so thoroughly and comprehensively alienating Catholics in that city that there may be nothing left if he doesn't resign.
But frankly, I hope he doesn't. He made this situation, let him fix as much as can be fixed. It's manifestly unfair to pull someone in from outside while this is still in early stages and expect him to fix this disaster.Posted by iain at April 29, 2002 11:51 AM