I’m a Catholic convert and my confidence in the Catholic hierarchy has been severely shaken by Archbishop Robert Carlson’s claim in a deposition that he wasn’t sure that he was aware that sex with children was against the law, when he was chancellor of the archdiocese of St. Paul back in the 1980s. This seems like a cynical attempt to avoid prosecution and should be deemed unacceptable for a man in his position. I know I shouldn’t be judgmental, but this has really shaken me.
The Archdiocese of St. Louis says the quote was purposely taken out of context and that the Archbp’s quote was in reference to a different question:
"During a press conference held on June 9, 2014, Plaintiff’s lawyer strategically took Archbishop Carlson’s response to a question out of context and suggested that the Archbishop did not know that it was a criminal offense for an adult to molest a child. Nothing could be further from the truth…
In the full transcript of Archbishop Carlson’s deposition, the actual exchange between Archbishop Carlson and Plaintiff’s counsel is quite different from what is being widely reported in the media. Plaintiff’s counsel began his line of questioning as follows:
Q. Well, mandatory reporting laws went into effect across the nation in 1973, Archbishop.
Charles Goldberg, attorney representing Archbishop Carlson at this deposition, explained that while current Minnesota law makes it a crime for clergy persons not to report suspected child abuse, that statute did not become effective until 1988. What Plaintiff’s counsel has failed to point out to the media is that Mr. Goldberg himself noted at this point in the deposition “you’re talking about mandatory reporting?” (emphasis added).** When the Archbishop said “I’m not sure whether I knew it was a crime or not,” he was simply referring to the fact that he did not know the year that clergy became mandatory reporters of suspected child abuse (pgs. 108-109)."**
So according to Father Z, the damage done my the media will be impossible to undo. How about the damage done by the hierarchy involved? In no other instance is there such an effort put into protecting rapists and those that cover the crimes of rapists. Everybody involved should come forward and face justice. I have a hard time believing that these men actually believe what they teach when they can’t own up to their own crimes.
It will be nearly impossible to undo the damage done by the malicious main stream media, because they won’t exercise any fairness in their reporting of the other side of the story. At least, you, dear readers, will know more about this injustice than the MSM will tell you.
I’m sorry, that just doesn’t jive with the video. I don’t think the video has been altered.
Question: “You knew it was a crime for an adult to engage in sex with a kid(?)”
Answer: “I’m not sure I knew it was a crime or not. I understand today it’s a crime.”
There was no reference to mandatory reporting in that question. Even if they had been talking about mandatory reporting, that question was obviously directly about the criminal nature of the act itself.
Video editing is incredibly simple, and people who put together these stories are experts at it. What was posted above was taken directly from the transcripts, which are kept by an impartial court reporter. I would -always- trust the transcripts over the video.
The attorney asking the questions in the deposition is hardly unbiased. He’s made a career ot dredging up old sex abuse cases, many long settled and past the statute of limitations, precisely in order to damage the Church and people’s faith in the heiarchy. He puts his questions in such a way as to assume guilt and he only goes after Catholic priests and bishops, no one else, such as doctors, teachers, coaches, Boy Scout leaders, therapists, etc. who have as many if not more incidents of sexual abuse of minors.
The Archbishop is right that back when he was a priest in St. Paul/Minneapolis the depth of abuse and its terrible consequences were not known by anyone in society at large. It was considered a grave sin but not a crime, not even in the criminal courts. People didn’t talk about Uncle Joe who had a disordinate love for his nephews or the school teacher who loved to take the boys out camping with no other adult supervision, etc. Sexual abuse was swept under the rug if even acknowledged. So, to come in now, many years later when there has been a significant change in how society views sexual abuse and assume that priests and bishops had some kind of special insight that it was criminal is simply not fair.
Anderson goes around the country making this issue a cause celebre and gets people to come forward to reopen old cases just so he can prey on them and make money at the same time. It’s disgusting–nearly as disgusting as the crimes themselves because it casts an unfair light on people who were confused about what was really going on or that it was a crime or that is couldn’t be “cured” by pyschological therapy. I angers me that everyone else in any other field in society gets a free pass from their sins/crimes of the past but our priests/bishops are made the scapegoat for the whole of a society that couldn’t have cared less until the Church was accused. I’m not saying it was all right and that people didn’t suffer and aren’t still suffering, but it’s not fair to put the whole onus on one group of people as if the rest of society wasn’t just as abstruse and guilty of neglect.
That’s the point of what the Diocese is saying. The video does not match the transcripts (the transcripts are the legal docs here, the video is not). The video has been edited in a misleading way to take the Archbp’s comments out of context.
You are comparing apples and oranges. You are absolutely right that “rapists” and child abusers deserve to be held accountable, no exceptions, and to face justice. Really, no one disputes that.
But the Archbishop wasn’t being asked about the criminality, let alone the morality, of child abuse. He was being asked about whether he know about **the mandatory reporting requirements **that were in effect (or not) at some time in the past. It’s not a crime to fail to follow a law that isn’t in effect yet.
Did you even bother reading the transcript or did you just take the (Catholic) media’s word on the matter?
Pages 108(14)-110(6) of the actual deposition show that the video was not doctored, and the Archbishop answered without certainty to the originally alleged question of whether he knew it was a crime for an adult to have sex with a child! Pay close attention to the parts I put in bold on page 109, and the Archbishop’s response in blue. No matter how you slice and dice it, it’s clear to any person with only a cursory knowledge of English that the Archbishop was responding to the question of whether he knew that it was criminal for an adult to have sex with a child.
You Catholics look just as foolish as the “liberal biased media” you purport to be against when you uncritically pass off anything from the apologetic arms of your church in defense thereof.
14 Q. Well, mandatory reporting laws went into
15 effect across the nation in 1973, Archbishop.
16 MR. GOLDBERG: I’m going to object to the
17 form of that question.
18 MR. ANDERSON: Let me finish the question.
19 MR. GOLDBERG: Go ahead. I’m sorry.
20 Q. (By Mr. Anderson) And you knew at all times,
21while a priest, having been ordained in 1970, it was a
22 crime for an adult to engage in sex with a kid. You
23 knew that, right?
24 MR. GOLDBERG: I’m going to object to the
25 form of that question now. You’re talking about
1 mandatory reporting. 2 MR. ANDERSON: Okay. I’ll – if you don’t
3 like the question, I’ll ask another question.
4 MR. GOLDBERG: Well, you’ve asked a
5 conjunctive question. One doesn’t –
6 MR. ANDERSON: Objection heard. I’ll ask
7 another question. Okay?
8 MR. GOLDBERG: Go ahead. 9 Q. (By Mr. Anderson) Archbishop, you knew it
10 was a crime for an adult to engage in sex with a kid?
11 A. I’m not sure whether I knew it was a crime
12 or not. I understand today it’s a crime.
13 Q. When did you first discern that it was a
14 crime for an adult to engage in sex with a kid?
15 A. I don’t remember.
16 Q. When did you first discern that it was a
17 crime for a priest to engage in sex with a kid who he
18 had under his control?
19 A. I don’t remember that either.
20 Q. Do you have any doubt in your mind that you
21 knew that in the '70s?
22 A. I don’t remember if I did or didn’t.
23 Q. In 1984, you are a Bishop in the – an
24 Auxiliary Bishop in the Archdiocese of St. Paul/
25 Minneapolis. You knew it was a crime then, right?
1 A. I’m not sure if I did or didn’t.
2 Q. Well, you’re talking about criminal sexual
3 conduct in 1980, and you’re talking about it again in
4 1984, so you knew that to be correct, right?
5 A. What I said, I said, and if I – if I wrote
6 it, I said it.
[FONT=Courier][size=3][LEFT]7 [/size][/FONT][FONT=Courier-Bold][size=3][FONT=Times New Roman]Q. Okay. Do you remember why you selected[/LEFT]
[/size][/FONT][/FONT][FONT=Courier][size=3][LEFT]8 [/size][/FONT][FONT=Courier-Bold][size=3][FONT=Times New Roman]Gendron to send Adamson to?[/LEFT]
[/size][/FONT][/FONT][FONT=Courier][size=3][LEFT]9 A. No, unless, you know, I knew him.
10 [/size][/FONT][FONT=Courier-Bold][size=3][FONT=Times New Roman]Q. The last – you’ll recall that Adamson was[/LEFT]
[/size][/FONT][/FONT][FONT=Courier][size=3][LEFT]11 [/size][/FONT][FONT=Courier-Bold][size=3][FONT=Times New Roman]to not have contact with youth in the earlier memos,[/LEFT]
[/size][/FONT][/FONT][FONT=Courier][size=3][LEFT]12 [/size][/FONT][FONT=Courier-Bold][size=3][FONT=Times New Roman]and this clearly is – well, let me ask you this.[/LEFT]
[/size][/FONT][/FONT][FONT=Courier][size=3][LEFT]13 [/size][/FONT][FONT=Courier-Bold][size=3][FONT=Times New Roman]Look at the last paragraph in this memo, and I’ll read[/LEFT]
[/size][/FONT][/FONT][FONT=Courier][size=3][LEFT]14 [/size][/FONT][FONT=Courier-Bold][size=3][FONT=Times New Roman]it and then ask you a question. You write, [size=6]"The[/size][/size][/LEFT]
[/FONT][/FONT][FONT=Courier][LEFT]15 [/FONT][FONT=Courier-Bold][FONT=Times New Roman]statute of limitations does not run out for two and a[/LEFT] [/FONT][/FONT][FONT=Courier][LEFT]16 [/FONT][FONT=Courier-Bold][FONT=Times New Roman]half years." You wrote that, correct?[/LEFT] [/FONT][/FONT][FONT=Courier][size=3][LEFT]17 A. I wrote it.
18 [/size][/FONT][FONT=Courier-Bold][size=3][FONT=Times New Roman]Q. Why did you calculate the criminal statute[/LEFT]
[/size][/FONT][/FONT][FONT=Courier][size=3][LEFT]19 [/size][/FONT][FONT=Courier-Bold][size=3][FONT=Times New Roman]of limitations?[/LEFT]
[/size][/FONT][/FONT][FONT=Courier][size=3][LEFT]20 MR. GOLDBERG: Just a moment. I’m going to
21 object to form. There’s no foundation to that
22 question whatsoever.
23 A. The way I would write these memos, I would
24 write what people told me, so I assume they said that.
25 [/size][/FONT][FONT=Courier-Bold][size=3][FONT=Times New Roman]Q. (By Mr. Anderson) Who told you that criminal[/LEFT]
[/size][/FONT][/FONT][FONT=Courier][size=3][LEFT]1 [/size][/FONT][FONT=Courier-Bold][size=3][FONT=Times New Roman]statute of limitations would run out in two and a half[/LEFT]
[/size][/FONT][/FONT][FONT=Courier][size=3][LEFT]2 [/size][/FONT][FONT=Courier-Bold][size=3][FONT=Times New Roman]years?[/LEFT]
[/size][/FONT][/FONT][FONT=Courier][size=3]3 A. I believe it was the parents.
So if the Archbishop didnt know it was a crime why would he write about when the Statutes of limitations runs out?
Right before the part you’re mentioning, his own lawyer says “you’re talking about mandatory reporting”; that was the context of the question. He didn’t answer it well, but (coming in the context of what was said before) the question was not asked well either.
It makes sense to me, and the Archdiocese says that that is what he was referring to, so I’ll take their word for it over yours.
And that is just the point they are making. If you edit down the video to only those two sentences, removing the context, it looks bad, but if you include the context of what they’re talking about it doesn’t. That’s why they said it had been intentionally taken out of context by the other lawyer. They didn’t edit the video within those two sentences, they edited out the context of the two sentences by not including what had come right before. The point being to make his answer look bad.
I suspect anyone who has given a deposition knows exactly what happened. The idea that the archbishop didn’t know it was a crime for a adult to have sex with a child is utter nonsense. You have to totally ignore the first 107 pages of the deposition to come to that conclusion
A hierarchy which wouldn’t immediately discipline someone who would lie under oath to protect himself from prosecution bothers me deeply. I’m surprised it doesn’t bother you. I’m assuming the video wasn’t edited. If it was, that changes the situation. If you go back to my question I specifically targeted the hierarchy, not the whole institution.
That’s amazing. I knew it was a crime back then. I knew that having sex with someone under the age of consent was a crime. The term “jail bait” goes back long before the 1980s. I feel that people are twisting themselves into contortions to cover up for this guy because he’s an Archbishop.