Friday, December 06, 2013

The List

As some day it may happen that a victim must be found,
     I've got a little list--I've got a little list
Of society offenders who might well be underground,
     And who never would be missed--who never would be missed!

-- W. S. Gilbert

So the Archdiocese coughed up a list of priests who have been credibly accused of abuse of minors. There weren't any real surprises on the list, and all of the priests in question are no longer active. Some are dead.

I've only met one of the priests on the list, Mike Stevens, who the Archdiocese had stashed away at my old parish (St. Adalbert) after he'd been criminally convicted of abuse back in the 1980s -- his case is one that did go through the legal system. I'm pretty sure that most parishioners at St. Adalbert didn't even realize that Stevens was living in the rectory; the only reason I knew he was there is that I served on the parish's finance committee and had regular visits with the pastor, Fr. Tim Kernan. Stevens ended up becoming an IT guy for the Archdiocese, but he never had any role in the ministry at St. Ad's. The only time I ever saw Stevens wear vestments was when he attended Fr. Kernan's funeral in 2001. Stevens is no longer a priest and is "believed to be residing in St. Paul, Minnesota," according to the information on the list.

There are other cases and other priests who aren't part of this list; another list is supposedly forthcoming. I know two of the priests who have been accused of misconduct recently. One does seem to be guilty, since he has resigned; the other, I'm not so sure about. Releasing the list won't change much. The problem will continue.

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