We have caught and killed a large predator that supposedly injured some bathers…


"PHILADELPHIA D.A. COMES UP EMPTY," is Bill Donohue's response to the recently released grand jury investigation of sexual abuse in the Philadelphia archdiocese:

The incredible amount of time and money that Philadelphia District Attorney Lynne Abraham has wasted in her fanatical crusade against the Archdiocese of Philadelphia is just cause for her being thrown out of office. After all is said and done, she has come up empty: not a single priest will be prosecuted for any alleged crime. And she knew this from the get-go…

In other words, Abraham wants us to believe that many years ago (decades ago?) there were priests who molested kids she can't identify. Other alleged victims moved away and can't be found (perhaps they're hiding from her)…

Some will say she is heroic simply because she successfully named some priests who apparently were molesters. But it is not an act of heroism to select one institution out of many for an investigation that was destined to fail. It's an act of exploitation.

Well that's one way of describing how much stuff Abrams came up with. (Full coverage here.) Take a gander at how many of the 63 priests mentioned in the report are under some kind of administrative discipline. (The Philly report also makes it difficult for Wild Bill to use his favorite tactic of referring to the "homosexual priests" scandal—one of the offenders supposedly took his 11-year-old girlfriend to get an abortion.)

But Donohue's got a point. I'd have more respect for his objections if he'd spoken up when the hot-potato priest Paul Shanley was abandoned by his bosses and railroaded on "recovered memory" testimony, but it's a damn good question whether a D.A. should be spending time and taxpayer money on an investigation of crimes that are well past the statute of limitations. And the obvious motive here—to drum up public support for yet another extension of the statute of limitations—strikes me as a pretty clear example of a political prosecution.

Matt Welch shouts "You're outta order" at glory-hound grand jury investigations here and here.

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  1. “it’s a damn good question whether a D.A. should be spending time and taxpayer money on an investigation of crimes that are well past the statute of limitations.”

    When public shaming has proven to be the only way to get an institution to police its own, I’d say yes.

  2. I’m not sure it’s a DA’s job to engage in public shaming.

  3. The Church has launched plenty of its own “fanatical crusades” in the past; it’s almost poetic to see one launched against it.

    I’m sure Mr. Donahue believes no priest in the history of the Catholic Church has ever even had so much as an impure about a young boy or girl in their immediate vicinity.

    But no, let’s watch them continue to keep out everyone who isn’t a 40-year-old virgin with possible various sexual dysfunctions. Benedict can’t be serious about wanting to expel all priests who might be homosexuals. Who’d be left?

  4. even if there’s private shaming, it’s still not good enough for the shaming fanatics (aka police)


  5. joe:

    Please get back to the work of telling us how to live our lives.

  6. Looks like their response is “we admit it happened but the only reason you care is because you hate us.” Huh.

    I continue to be amazed by the lack of moral leadership and authority that an outfit calling itself “Christian” could display. The Jesus I grew up on would weep loudly for the children and viciously excoriate the vile bastards who exploit them. He would not, I suspect, hire a PR firm to cover His money-bloated Fat Ass and employ an army of lawyers to deny, downplay and marginalize the truth.

    But the whole “how far away from Jesus’ message could you possibly get and still call yourself a devotee of the guy” rant will have to wait. I think everybody pretty much gets the drift without it.

  7. Nope, but close.

  8. Forget the priests. At least they had the excuse that they were sick and couldn’t help it.

    The folks who need to be nailed <irony intended> are the bishops, cardinals, and popes who in covering up kept appointing pedophilic priests to new posts. And thus providing them fresh meat.

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