The LA Archdiocese has settled an ongoing sexual abuse case for a rather obscene amount of money, being the latest in a series of church settlements related to behavior unbecoming persons of the cloth:
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles and the plaintiffs reached the deal Saturday, said Ray Boucher, the lead plaintiff’s attorney. The archdiocese and the plaintiffs will release a statement Sunday morning and hold a news conference Monday, he said.
An anonymous source with knowledge of the deal placed its value at $660 million, by far the largest payout in the church’s sexual abuse scandal. The source spoke on condition of anonymity because the settlement had not been officially announced. – [Yahoo/AP]
Now I am certainly not one to find fault with the church, but there are a couple of questions in my mind that I think need to be asked. First, why are these people suing the church, as opposed to the specific members of the clergy that abused them? I believe that it is fairly widely accepted that the responsible parties were in fact priests, acting on their own, who were clearly not following the principles of the faith they had decided to follow. Why has the church, as a whole, been made the target of the class action suit? Shouldn’t the individual priests who committed these crimes be liable? Why not prosecute them individually?
If one person sexually assaults another, say a co-worker, in the office building where they work, the victim should file charges against the individual. Not the company where they worked. Why would it be any different for a church? It is not my intention to make light of the suffering of any rape victim, and I don’t have all of the details of any specific case, but it seems to me that suing the church instead of the accused parties is motivated by the desire to sue the party with the most money, and not the person who committed the crime. In other words, the victims greed is getting the better of them.
The fact that the criminals may have been priests does not, in this bloggers humble opinion, make the church liable. And it is has become a rather irritating fact that, in our litigious society, it has become an acceptable practice to take money when we have been wronged, in lieu of justice. This is a mistake people. We are eroding the values of our society by telling criminals they can buy their way out of a crime!
Wake up America!! having that extra money in the bank may be nice, but the only thing that will satisfy is your greed. Not your honor, not your integrity, and certainly not justice. There is no equivalent cash value for justice or honor! And if you think that these are empty words, that won’t put food on your plate, look at the sorry state of our society. Kids killing kids, rapists in our churches, trillions wasted on wars and conflicts that shouldn’t have happened, every one for themselves and at worship before the altar of the mighty dollar. You think all of that is unrelated? Think again.
Yet another point of contention for me is that, while I applaud the archdiocese for standing by their clergy, a settlement seems like an act of evasion. It doesn’t really solve anything. The ones who have been abused do not see justice done, the abusers are never punished, and the falsely accused will walk around with this incident over their heads for the rest of their lives, even though they did nothing. All that happens is that money changes hands. Again with that blasted money! It doesn’t seem right.
If you were raped, would $1 million be sufficient for you to keep your mouth shut and let your rapist walk free? May be even to rape again? And should it be any different if the rapist is a priest? We can only hope that the church is capable of discerning the innocent from the guilty, and helping the “weak of flesh” get counseling and help where needed. But considering that these events happened right under their noses, my “faith” in the church, as it were, is not particularly strong right now.
L.A. archdiocese to pay $660M for abuse – [Yahoo/AP]