That is how Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan responded to questions about whether his diocese provided pedophile priests with $20,000 pay-offs to leave the church. The language of denial is often filled with righteous indignation. The only problem is that the Cardinal was lying. As reported in today’s New York Times, a spokesman for the archdiocese confirmed that payments of as much as $20,000 were made to “a handful” of accused priests “as a motivation” not to contest being defrocked.
The New York Times reported in March about how the Catholic Church is harassing the primary advocacy group for victims of pedophile priests, Survivors Network of Priest Abuse (SNAP). These overbearing tactics, aimed at intimidating advocates for victims of abuse, have been condemned by many. See, for example, this editorial in the Star-Ledger.
But an organization called the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights has prepared a “report” that purports to justify the harassment. The report, which includes a host of excerpts from a recent deposition of SNAP Executive Director, David Clohessy, insinuates that SNAP has been coaching potential plaintiffs and/or working with plaintiff’s lawyers.
But a close examination of this “report” reveals the selective and deceptive use of quotations. For example, the “report” presents lines 15 through 19 below, but omits lines 20 and 21. Line 21 contains the unambiguous response “No, we don’t.” But that response didn’t deter the Catholic League from insinuating otherwise and omitting the quotes that would demonstrate that they are wrong.
Harassing SNAP is bad enough. But the subsequent misrepresentations about David Clohessy’s testimony are even worse.