Terrible Headline in CRUX
CRUX headline for an Associated Press article: “Australian archbishop cleared of child sex abuse cover-up.” This triumphal headline implies the court found that the archbishop did not cover-up the crimes. That is false. His conviction was overturned on a dubious technical point.
Two victims said they reported being abused by a priest to Bishop Wilson. Bishop Wilson denied it – or more precisely, said he had no memory of it. He certainly did nothing about it. The first judge found that the bishop’s denial was not credible. (Apparently criminal trials in Australia are by judge, not by jury.) The appeals judge overturned the ruling claiming the bishop had not been proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
There is no discussion of what it means to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. By biblical standards, having eyewitness testimony from two people, as in the current case, did constitute sufficient proof. Apparently the appeals judge had a higher standard in mind, which he chose not to divulge. Did he expect the victims to videotape their testimony? Keep in mind that this occurred in the 1970s, when such taping was not feasible. There is certainly no doubt that the accused priest was a serial pederast, and that he violated the two witnesses. Does the judge believe they never told the bishop of the crime, but simply created this story? I suspect the judge had an impossibly high standard of proof.
Furthermore, even the judge who convicted the archbishop merely gave him a slap on the wrist, sentencing him to home detention. The judge said that “the cleric had shown no remorse or contrition for the cover-up and his primary motive had been to protect the Catholic Church.” Why should a judge be so concerned with the Catholic Church as to give a minimal sentence to a criminal showing no remorse?
While CRUX proclaims that the archbishop was cleared, he certainly seems guilty as hell. Furthermore, it looks like Australia’s legal system is doing their best to protect the Church. This reflects the same sort of power and corruption that enabled state-supported Catholic orphanages to abuse children for many decades. While the Church likes to scream about persecution, they perpetrate far more atrocities than they are victim of. And they are harder to remove from the power structure than bedbugs or cockroaches.