The accusation comes out. All of the circumstances in the below post apply, but the priest has not done anything wrong. However, his picture is on every newscast, in the local paper and all over the internet. People are jumping to the conclusion that he is guilty before he even has a chance to deny it. He is immediately taken from his parish and sent to a non-disclosed location “where he has no contact with children”, the diocesan spokesman says.
The alleged victim says that the abuse took place some 30 years ago. This priest is no spring chick by now, so he doesn’t remember if he ever met her, but it is entirely possible.
She was a young child at the time, so the diocese called in the police to investigate. In addition, they sent the case to the Independent Review Board for their consideration.
After a thorough investigation, the police did not find anything with which to charge him and the Independent Review Board did not either. He was cleared.
But the damage had been done. His reputation was ruined. He was named in a civil lawsuit, along with the diocese, and it still was going to court. The bad publicity had put doubt in the mind of most people, and even those who believed the investigation results had a question mark over his head. They wanted to believe that he was innocent, but what if…. what if they missed something.
Meanwhile, the “victim” gets off scott free. There are no repercussions for her. A mention is made on the news the lack of evidence against him, but that’s about it. Most people outside of Catholic circles aren’t even aware of it. When the accusation came out, it was in the news for a long time, but the exoneration was not.
Where is the justice? Where is the justice for this priest?
God help us. Pray for priests, for victims, for pastors, coaches and teachers.