New Boss Same as the Old Boss

Pope_Francis_in_March_2013Since Pope Francis’ election as head of the Catholic Church, many observers have been pleased by the new Pope’s efforts at reforming the Church. So when Pope Francis named fellow Jesuit Rev. Robert Geisinger the Vatican’s “promoter of justice” for U.S. abuse cases in September, a position roughly analogous to chief prosecutor, some abuse advocates held out hope that Francis would work to stop Catholic priest sexual abuse.

Since that time, the hope has faded. The media has uncovered Geisinger’s past involvement in covering-up for another Jesuit in a high profile Chicago sex abuse saga. In the 1990’s, Geisinger was the second-highest ranking official among Chicago Jesuits just before sex abuse accusations against the now-defrocked Jesuit priest, Donald McGuire, became public.

According to the Washington Post, Geisinger “was personally aware of multiple complaints against McGuire as early as 1995 — and that he provided advice on disciplinary matters pertaining to the priest as late as August 2002. In 2003, a former student at Loyola Academy filed a lawsuit accusing McGuire of molesting him repeatedly in 1968 and 1969. Although the Jesuits initially claimed that the 2003 lawsuit was the first they’d heard of accusations against the priest, evidence eventually indicated that the Chicago Jesuits knew about and concealed McGuire’s crimes for decades.”

As the Vatican’s chief prosecutor of priests for sex crimes against children, Geisinger’s appointment appears that Francis’ reforms won’t affect the failed policies and procedures of the Catholic Church. Once again, we are left to conclude that institutions such as the Catholic Church are incapable of reforming themselves.

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

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