Staff writers at the Mercury News have compiled an impressive mass of data on clergy sexual abuse in the Oakland Diocese of the Roman Catholic Church. Among the findings in Sin, Secrets and Denial are some compelling reasons to make sure our children are never entrusted to these people.
Clergy members were accused of molesting children in at least 26 parishes and six high schools in the East Bay.
At least two accused diocesan priests and 19 members of religious orders still serve at church facilities, most of them in the Bay Area, although they no longer work with children.
Some of the most powerful priests in the diocese -- including a former chancellor and vicar general, a former schools superintendent, and two former deans responsible for supervising southern Alameda County -- were accused of abuse. One of the deans investigated child molestation allegations against the other.
Writers Rob Dennis, Jeremy Herb, Matthew Artz and Chris De Benedetti dug into court records dating back to the 50s. The present their finding in four parts:
- TODAY: The scope of clergy abuse is far greater than previously known.
- MONDAY: The system allowed accused priests to remain in the diocese.
- TUESDAY: Members of religious orders are among the most prolific offenders.
- WEDNESDAY: Church officials take steps to prevent future abuse.
Sins, Secrets and Denial paints a ghoulish portrait of clergy sexual abuse spanning decades in one small corner of our country. On of their key findings is that members of religious orders are among the most prolific sexual offenders. It should come as no surprise to readers of this blog, Organized religion is a protected hunting ground for pedophiles of every stripe. I've seen their work played out in countless stories of abuse over the years.
Please read this important series. It promises to enlighten.