Cost Of Cover Ups Can Far Exceed Hoped-for Benefits
Posted by Barry Pittard on July 23, 2007
A great irony of cover-ups is this – that once they have been exposed, the initiators of the abuses sustain a cost far greater than would have attended the prompt admission of the initial misdeeds – and genuine, exhaustive measures to address the abuses. Tragically, “cost” may be multiply defined – and in far from money terms alone.
And is there any Faith, major or minor, that is not sorely complicit in profound cover up of systemic sexual abuse?
The present repercussions of the Los Angeles Catholic Diocese afford us a ready example. Questions are being raised about whether there is enough – after insurance and money from other Orders have been paid – for even a rich Diocese’s coffers to afford such a vast pay-out. This is but one diocese, and yet many others face, or have already faced, a similar predicament. Is there even a single one (as a BBC television news report would indicate) in which such allegations have not been raised?
The Editorialist in The Boston Globe, July 17, 2007, writes:
“The Los Angeles and Boston money could have been spent on other important projects if Mahony and Law had adopted a zero-tolerance policy against abuse when it first became a national issue for the church in the mid-1980s.
Catholic dioceses across the nation, including Los Angeles, have initiated thorough policies to prevent future abuse, and Mahony apologized to the victims on Sunday. Yet new policies and regrets aren’t enough. In the eyes of victims, the scandal will never be fully resolved as long as bishops who put the interests of their fellow priests over the protection of children remain in positions of leadership”.
‘Or who shall ‘scape whipping’?
But is there any organization – anywhere – which has not covered up serious allegations? Can it be a good thing that when exposure of sexual abuse is discussed the Roman Catholic Church is so often the tarnished exemplar?
Another irony is that first whistleblowers are scapegoated but then public scapegoating can too easily turn on discretely ‘easy’ targets. And what more ‘easy’ than arguably the biggest religious monolith on the planet?
Does convergence of attention on a big institution help to prevent a much wider focus?
Naturally, of course, there is, at least, a chance for other organizations – before it is too late (if it is not already far too late!) for them to act without the courts forcing them to act – to learn from the fate of those churches or other organizations already strongly exposed?
Today, most societies are multicultural. Would it not make sense to take the broad approach, with not a single organization acting as though it, too, is unaffected? Or a wider public permitted to think that it has not its own accountability?
See, Robert Priddy’s article ‘Spiritual’ Abuse. Quote:
“One US lady who has been raped by a priest broke down in tears on worldwide TV News (22/7/2007) while telling how she was not believed by her very own church community, which ostracised her. This ‘turning a blind eye’ has been very common, also in the Sathya Sai Organization”.
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