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Archbishop Seraphim of Ottawa on Leave of Absence

elijahmaria

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Fr. George said:
Orual said:
Whether the allegations are proved or not, I don't think Archbishop Seraphim's reputation is ever going to be restored.
Look, if they're proved, then his reputation deserved the hit; if they're not, and people continue to cast aspersions on his reputation, then he has the Beatitudes as his strength.
Let us pray that you are never falsely accused, Father George, so as to never have to test your own personal resolve in such reduced circumstances.

Mary
 

Irish Hermit

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Accused archbishop victim of smear campaign: sister

http://www.nugget.ca/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=2789684

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GreekChef

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Paisius said:
Fr. George said:
Paisius said:
So basically someone says they heard that someone else may have been abused but that actual victim hadn't come forward with any allegations?  ???
Victims of childhood sexual abuse, unless they are vigorously encouraged (usually in therapy) to report, are not prone to report to the authorities about their abuse.  This continues to happen despite the continued attempts to de-stigmatize the reporting process, and even the state of being a victim itself.  If other people have knowledge of the activity (besides the victims), they should share it so a thorough investigation can be kicked off and, through the investigation, the victims can feel safe enough to share what happened.

If the alleged abuse did not take place, then the investigation will exonerate His Eminence and will demonstrate clearly that he is an honorable man.  If the alleged abuse did take place, then the investigation will indicate that he needs to be rehabilitated, and the Church must be protected from his influence.  Either way, the investigation is necessary in order to help the victims recover and/or allow His Eminence's reputation to be restored.


This kind of thing has to be handled very carefully. It seems that the benefit of the doubt is always on the side of the alleged victim and not the alleged abuser. Obviously none of us know what happened but so far the only evidence appears to be 30 year old hearsay. We must not rush to judgment.
This is because the vast majority of the time, the allegations are true (I'm not implying anything about this particular situation, though).  Some statistics about child molestation:

Approximately 30% of girls and 40% of boys who are abused will never tell.

Only about 5% of abuse allegations turn out to be false.  
Researchers examined all of the reports of sexual abuse received in Denver (for example) for one year.  They concluded that 53% were founded, 41% were inconclusive, 5% were false reports made by adults, and only 1% were false reports made by children.  
Also...
60% of child molesters are people who are known to the child and their families
30% of child molesters are family members
10% of child molesters are strangers.
As to clergy molestation:
While no one knows for sure how many adults are attracted to minors or have sexually molested children, the estimates for adult males and priests are about the same: about 7% of each group is attracted to minors, and about 3% of each group has acted on the attraction and molested children.  Clergy status has absolutely no bearing.
All these statistics are taken from "Called to Protect for Parents and Families" by Praesidium Abuse Risk Management Inc.  www.praesidium.com.  (I don't know if the statistics are on their website, mine are from a book)
 

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elijahmaria said:
Dear Orual,

You have raised an extremely important issue here.  One that the most energetic, shoot first-ask later, victim advocates NEVER raise.  
I don't think this is really fair.  I'm not one to automatically take up sides with an alleged victim, but I think this might be a little disingenuous.  Take the current case of Bishop Long here in Atlanta.  He appeared before a congregation of 25,000 people who were ALL taking HIS side (minus one loudmouth that they removed from the crowd).  The press surrounding that particular case has been all about the loyalty of his followers and the media has totally demonized the alleged victims.  I don't think it's fair to say that the reputation of the accused is never thought of.

But in all goodness and righteousness it must be raised and it must be considered in all of its seriousness.
You are absolutely correct.  It must be raised and considered, but so must the rights and suffering of the victim(s).  We cannot look at only one and forget the other.

 Real life proves you out and the Catholic Church has more than ample examples of men falsely accused who have never been restored...nor has there been any attempt to restore their good names in any way.  That is another kind of evil at work and it is no more noble that those who are the actual abusers.
Again, I think it's a little bit of a leap to say that the lack of an attempt is evil.  Firstly, I don't think you can really say there is a lack of an attempt.  Exoneration itself should restore a reputation (whether people accept it or not is another matter entirely).  But what can the Catholic Church do, put out public statements or whatnot?  Do we know that they didn't?  And really, I don't think they can do a whole lot of that, frankly.  They're under so much scrutiny as it is, I think it would make things a lot worse.

There is also another element in all of this that is ignored:  Not all sexual abuse is equal in its heinousness.  Abuse or sexual excess exists on a scale from a sidelong look, to talk, to touching, to rape, to rape/mutilation to rape/murder, in broadest terms.  Yet we never distinguish in that either.  Some of it is a one time only moment of weakness, others of it becomes a life long habit and yet we equally ruin lives over it.
I think when we're talking about consenting adults, you might be able to say something is a "one time only moment of weakness."  When you're talking about pedophilia, though, it's a totally different ballgame.  The first allegation may be just talk.  But pedophiles escalate.  That's the real worry.

And the most egregious, from my own point of view, is that we become enraptured when it is a priest or monk or bishop who has been accused or known to have fallen, and ignore the far greater instances of the same kind of abuse in the rest of our society.  One must indeed wonder why.
Totally agree here.  People often ignore the fact that the VAST majority of sexual abuse even within the Church is committed NOT by clergy, but by lay people.  There is a far larger problem with youth workers/lay people being abusers than with clergy.  Look at the statistic.  Only 3% of adult males and 3% of clergy are found to have molested children.  But 3% of adult males as a group is a LOT more than 3% of clergy!  The problem is that it's clergy who get the press when it happens because of the nature of it-- a person who is teaching about holiness and righteousness who is supposed to lead the flock to salvation is himself doing something terrible and heinous.  A lot more interesting to the masses reading the newspapers and watching the evening news than some Joe Shmoe that no one cares about.  Sad but true.
 

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20 years ago??  What took the victim(s) so long to report this? And was child molestation the same as it is considered today?  If you put your arm around a child, some consider this molestation.  If you hug your secretary in fun, is this rape?  And there is repentance versus pop-psychology.
 

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observer said:
20 years ago??  What took the victim(s) so long to report this?
Victims of sexual abuse (especially those abused as children) often take years to recover from the spiritual and emotional trauma sufficiently to find the strength to report the abuse.  There is absolutely nothing unusual in this; anyone with any experience or knowledge of abuse victims knows this.  I personally know a group of women who were abused by a serial molester at their high school who were unable to bring charges against him simply because the statute of limitations had expired in the cases of all of them except one, who -- alas -- was still too traumatized to press charges until it was too late.  This is why Canadian law has no statute of limitations on sexual misconduct and why many in the United States are lobbying to extend or eliminate it.

observer said:
And was child molestation the same as it is considered today?
This is too broad a question.  Have Canadian laws about child molestation changed over the last 20 years? Probably, but I'm no legal expert.  Were the acts Archbishop Seraphim is accused of committing considered legal or acceptable at the time?  Not knowing the specific allegations against him, I can't speculate.

observer said:
If you put your arm around a child, some consider this molestation.  If you hug your secretary in fun, is this rape?
Every legal jurisdiction has its own legal definitions of molestation and rape.  However, as Christians, we have the greater responsibility to make sure that our actions do not cause unnecessary distress to others, particularly with regard to unwanted and unwelcome physical contact -- even if it's technically legal.

observer said:
And there is repentance versus pop-psychology.
Not particularly sure what you mean here.  However, even pop psychology at its most superficial often contains grains of truth that can lead a sinner to greater self-understanding and thus to deeper repentance.
 

Shanghaiski

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I think it's important to be balanced about this. While no allegations have been proved, they have not been proved false. So, we wait and see. We would like to think that persons guilty of such acts (not saying the Archbishop is) would confess, but few do, so a process is needed. It's not perfect, but since it involves justice, it is necessary.
 

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Repentance versus pop-psychology is probably the subject of a new thread. However, the Church offers the Mystery of Repentance and we need to consider this rather than assuming therapy (often secular) is not the answer. Again my question why bring this up so late? Is it because the alleged victims were so traumatized or is there a hidden agenda of political revenge as suggested by His Eminence's sister?  I don't disagree with the statements in response to my posting.  I do however, want to point out that what was considered normal and loving is now under suspicion to the degree that parents are having to have police clearance because of the hysteria about child abuse.  Of course it exist, always has...but it has become political.
 

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An example of politically motivated 'molestation ' is the ridiculous example of a dinner lady in UK being warned for offering a  child (who is related to her) , a cookie. She was told she could be dismissed for 'proffering a biscuit for sex'.
 

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If this did indeed take place, the Archbishop needs to be disciplined for it. But I'm inclined to agree that the damage is done at this point. I mean, Michael Jackson was found not guilty too, but I don't know anyone who believed it. The allegations will dog him, whether found innocent or guilty. There has to be a better way to handle this than to trumpet these investigations from the rooftops.

Also, short of a confession of guilt on the Archbishop's part, or of making it up on the victim's part, how can cases like this possibly be decided if there is no evidence. Is the testimony of one person enough to make a case? I'm curious how this investigation process works. Can anyone shed light on this?
 

Shanghaiski

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I would imagine these cases are very difficult, but in-depth depositions from the alleged victims and alleged perpetrator, together with any corroborating evidence, may help a jury to decide the truth as they see it.

I don't know the details of this particular case, but it seems strange to me to speculate that there is a motive of politics involved. There appear to be several alleged victims in this case--that's several men who themselves have been stigmatized. Nowadays, while we do often tend to think of perpetrators of such crimes as monsters, life doesn't become all sympathy and happiness for the victims. It is not a light thing for anyone involved.

So, then, until we know the outcome, or until the truth is revealed, I think it better behooves us to leave judgment to God and pray for everyone involved.
 
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