By TIM KOSNOFF
Certain Americans may miss seeing online and in various print media a blue-and-red-hued map indicating the state-by-state horse race that was the United States presidential election of last fall.
Perhaps interested parties might find another colorful U.S. map to be instructive. It’s done up in a veritable rainbow of colors, the brightness of the cartography scarcely coordinating with the dark details indicated in the map http://bishop-accountability.org/priestdb/PriestDBbydiocese.html.
The document is the work of a group called Bishop Accountability. The advocacy organization compiles evidence of child sexual abuse relating to crimes and accusations from Catholic dioceses in the 50 states and Washington, D.C. It’s quite a staggering scheme of details.
B.A. made headlines by releasing some 6,000 documents relating to the highly publicized child-sexual-abuse scandals in Philadelphia http://blogs.phillymag.com/the_philly_post/2013/01/24/latest-news-philadelphia-catholic-church-sex-abuse-scandal/
For a macro reckoning of crimes and transgressions throughout the country, go to the map indicated by the url above.
Point and click, for example, to Washington state. Highlighted are the Archdiocese of Seattle and the diocese of Spokane and Yakima.
Click Seattle. You’ll find a grid indicating nearly three dozen Catholic Church officials whose accusations are documented with details and links to news reports. The officials’ status is either “accused,” “sued,” “settled” or, in just one case, “convicted.” That would be Paul Joseph Conn, about whom it’s written in the website grid:
“In 5/88 Conn was charged with five felony counts of indecent liberties with minors. In 7/88 he pleaded guilty to molesting six boys between the ages of 11-13. Also admitted to abuse of others police did not know about. Sentenced to 4 yrs in prison. Also a former supervising priest of another abuser, James McGreal. Civil suit settled with archdiocese in 1996. Laicized.”
“Laicized” indicates that Conn was “secularized,” or driven from official church involvement.
Click Yakima. Thirteen names are given. None has been convicted.
Spokane? Only one among the 39 who have been accused and/or sued has been convicted. That would be Louis Wayne Ladenburger, about whom the Bishop Accountability notes indicate:
“Arrested 5/07 for sexual battery of teenage boys at Idaho school for troubled boys where he was a counselor. Admitted being a sex addict. Order revealed 2 past allegations of “inappropriate relationships.” Sent for treatment both times. Placed on restricted leave in 1993. Laicized in 1996. Pleaded guilty 11/07 just before trial. Sentenced to 5 years 3/08. Worked in dioceses of Stockton (twice), Tucson, Portland, El Paso, Spokane, Seattle, Sacramento, Reno, and Phoenix; aka Wayne 1963-74.”
If the 86 names populating the B.A. rolls in Washington state seem to amount to a staggering number, consider that Portland, Oregon, alone has 72 on its list. This is well behind Philadelphia, with 132, and Boston, with 251. Twenty-two of the latter were convicted with just one winning acquittal.
It’s worth noting that the volume of those accused of child sexual abuse doesn’t necessarily correlate with the size of the general population within a diocese region. New York’s number of accused Catholic officials is a relatively scant 63 while the database for the Los Angeles Archdiocese has 259 names.
What the casual observer no doubt will note is the cumulative numbers: hundreds of dioceses in the United States alone; thousands of names of accused and/or convicted pedophiles.
Bishop Accountability, then, is to be thanked for taking on the grim ongoing task of quantifying and qualifying Catholic Church-related crimes and accusations. I think of the growing B.A. database as the repository of the epoch. Its value certainly has earned the financial support of this law firm. The U.S. map at its website ought to garner the concern of everyone dedicated to mitigating what has amounted to decades of institutionalized child sexual abuse.
Our attorneys are highly experienced in childhood sexual abuse law and offer free initial consultations to potential clients. We are also willing to assist other attorneys in sexual abuse cases. Please call 206-257-3590, or email us directly. Conversations will be kept confidential, and even if you are unsure about a lawsuit, often we can direct you to the assistance you need. You will be treated with compassion and respect.
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Tim Kosnoff, direct: 425-837-9690
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Kosnoff Fasy, Seattle office: 206-257-3590