In a review of thousands of court and diocese documents and interviews with dozens of police officers, judges, prosecutors, victims, and advocates, the investigation found:
In five cases, police officers refused to arrest or investigate priests suspected of sexually abusing children. One longtime Toledo police chief pressured subordinates not to arrest priests.
In three cases that did result in formal investigations, authorities blocked the release of the case files to the public. Unlike convicted sex offenders, those priests could now pass background checks and have access to children without ever divulging their pasts.
In one case that did make it to sentencing, a judge agreed to a jail term for a priest far lighter than commonly given to other pedophiles convicted of similar crimes.
And in three cases, police and child-welfare caseworkers delayed or dismissed investigations of suspected pedophiles who were priests.
In understanding what has become the biggest scandal to engulf the American Catholic church in generations, victims’ advocates say one issue left unexposed is the role of civil authorities in helping to minimize or hide the criminal actions of pedophiles who wore priestly collars.
The details are important to keep in mind, but the pattern shouldn’t be news to anyone, and not just in relationship to sexual abuse, and not just in relationship to Catholic clergy. How many clerical DUI’s and solicitation charges have been covered up or expunged over the years? How often has law enforcement and the judicial system cooperated with the privilged and the powerful to conceal their crimes and erase their records? A lot, of course.
In the case of the Church, all so that the appearance of "scandal" might be avoided. Well, that worked, didn’t it?