Catholic Priests in Montreal Banned from Being Alone with Children: More Needed

MontrealMontreal priests must now team up around kids. The Catholic Archdiocese of Montreal will ban any priest or church worker from being alone with children. The policy covers anyone “in the orbit of the church” to create a “safety net” for children.

The new policy will launch with twelve pilot parishes in September and later include all parishes in the Archdiocese.

Critics say the measure is too little and too late to protect children. David Clohessy of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) said:

The single most effective step would be to publicly disclose and discipline every cleric who committed or concealed child sex crimes. That immediately protects children. We’ve literally seen hundreds of policies, procedures, protocols and pledges like this that sound good on paper but are virtually never enforced. So we are extremely skeptical.

The policy follows the Montreal Archdiocese’s $30 million settlement with sex abuse survivors in February. Among other claims, the abuse lawsuit alleged that the Clerics of St Viateur and other clergy abused approximately 150 children at a Montreal school for the deaf between 1940 and 1982. In all, more than 30 clergy allegedly abused the deaf children in their care, sometimes one after another.

The Montreal settlement is only a glimpse into the Catholic sex abuse problem in Canada, about which little is publically known. The sex abuse scandal in the U.S. Catholic Church started making big headlines in the early 2000s, as recently documented in the Oscar-winning movie Spotlight, and has remained steadily, if not as dramatically, in the news ever since. acts as an on-line clearing house of all information regarding sex abuse in the US Catholic Church.  There has been no similar news coverage or organized data source with the Canadian Catholic Church, so there is a lack of transparency about the sex abuse problem in the Canadian Church.

According to one Canadian media source:

It’s impossible to say just how many more Canadian priests are facing allegations of abuse, because the only people with reliable statistics on the problem – the bishops in charge of the country’s 71 dioceses – aren’t sharing that information with the public or even central Church authorities.

“The difficulty is that every diocese is kind of a land unto itself,” says Nancy Mayer, a Toronto social worker who counsels abuse victims.

Two adult rules are nice, but the Canadian Catholic Church needs to take real steps towards transparency and reform. First, the Church needs to pool information on abusers. Second, the Church or a non-profit like needs to create an on-line database of all Canadian clergy accused of sexually molesting kids.

The Canadian public has a right to know the names of priests accused of sexual abuse in Canada.

Dumas and Vaughn Attorneys at Law has law offices in Portland, Oregon and serves clients in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and other states.

newspaper templates - theme rewards