Cover-up of child molestation by priest uncovered

By on February 7, 2002

The Boston Archdiocese is swimming in scandal after evidence of a cover up of child molestation charges became public.
Documents revealed by the Boston Globe demonstrated that the archdiocese continued to place John J. Geoghan in parishes throughout the state despite knowledge of child molestation allegations. Geoghan, 66, was placed in up to five parishes and molested more than 130 victims during the tenure of 1962 to 1995. He was defrocked in 1998.
The New York Times reported that Cardinal Bernard Law was involved with the cover up as early as 1984, his first year as archbishop. A Boston Herald report states that Law relied on psychiatric evaluations, which assessed that Geoghan could safely be placed back into the church.
The published documents included a number of good and bad evaluations for the priest.
The Herald quoted the documents as saying that Geoghan was “atypical pedophilia, in remission,” who had “a mixed personality disorder with obsessive-compulsive, histrionic and narcissistic features.” It also reported that one psychiatrist wrote “you can’t afford to have him in a parish.”
In a Boston Globe article Law said, “The failure of the archdiocese to protect one of God’s greatest gifts to us, our children, has been devastating.”
Disappointed in the churches handling of the case, Father Louis Evangelisto, the servicing Catholic Priest on the Quinnipiac campus, said “Its not right. No one, not even a priest, should be exempt from the law. Covering up the facts also makes someone guilty.” Evangelisto added, “Pedophile is not curable, and moving a priest around only prolongs the misery.”
While unveiling a new zero tolerance policy for sexual misconduct Law said he wanted the archdiocese to “become a model for how this issue should be handled,” wrote The Globe. “Trust in the church has been shattered in many cases,” he said, “with God’s help we must strive to restore that trust.”
Under the policy church officials will immediately turn over the names of former priests who have been accused of molesting children. It is now mandated that any instances of sexual abuse by individuals affiliated with the church must be reported.
To many Massachusetts Catholics the apology is a start but not an absolution to the churches involvement in the cover up.
Brian Chianese, a sophomore criminal justice major, said, “I am extremely disappointed by this and do not want to see the Catholic religion affected. Cardinal Law is part to blame on this crime. The church needs to weed out the poor representation of priests.”
Stephen Heywood, a sophomore Public Relations major said, “I don’t believe that this should effect the religion. Priests are human too and you can’t judge a whole religion on just one guy. There is no excuse for the church cover up. They should practice what they preach.”
“The Catholic community preaches love and goodwill and this is the exact opposite,” said Amrith Fernandes-Prahbu, a sophomore business major from Nashua, New Hampshire.
Despite his disappointment in the events, Evangelisto said, “There are more good hardworking priests out there than there are criminal priests.”
The actions of Geoghan and the archdiocese has had a deep impact with the victims.
In an interview with The Boston Herald, victim Anthony Muzzi Jr., 47, said “I believe in the Catholic religion, but I can’t go to church. I’ve lost my faith in the church. I have to say my prayers in my vehicle going to and from work.”


About Stephanie Cunha- Massachusetts