Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Catholic Church Paying Convicted Pedophile Priest $94,560

     I spent the weekend up in the Central Valley and learned of this horrendous trail of sexual abuse by former Catholic priest, Oliver O'Grady, who was enabled by then-Bishop of the Stockton Diocese, Roger Mahony, who is now the Cardinal Archbishop of Los Angeles.  O'Grady turned 65 on Saturday and will now be paid nearly $100,000 over the next ten years by the Stockton Diocese, as part of his deal to leave the priesthood.
Fr. Oliver O'Grady in 1981 by Modesto Bee
     The Modesto Bee reports:
     Oliver O'Grady has been called the Hannibal Lecter of pedophile Catholic priests. He has been gone from the Stockton Diocese for 17 years, but the civil lawsuits keep coming — 22 to date, resulting in $18.7 million paid to victims.
     And Saturday, when O'Grady turns 65 in his native Ireland, an annuity purchased by the diocese seven years ago will pay him about $788 a month for 10 years, totaling $94,560. There is nothing the diocese, its parishioners or his outraged victims can do about it.
     "He gets rewarded. I get very frustrated," said Nancy Sloan, 45, who was sexually abused by O'Grady when she was 11. "The church has certainly gone back on its word countless times. I don't know why it wouldn't even cross their minds to go back on the annuity — give it back to a victims fund."
     O'Grady has admitted abusing many children of various ages, boys and girls, and said he slept with two mothers to get access to their children. He was convicted of child sexual abuse in 1993 and spent seven years in prison.
     Some blogs and news reports have called the payments "hush money," part of a deal to keep O'Grady from testifying against former Bishop Roger Mahony and other diocesan officials accused of knowing about his abuse but moving him from parish to parish.
     Defending the annuity payments, Mary Jane Doerr, associate director of the office of Child and youth Protection for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to the Modesto Bee:
     "Yes, he did a terrible thing," Doerr said, but a bishop has a responsibility to take care of priests in any case — he can't just kick them to the curb.
    You couldn't just "kick him to the curb"?  Do you mean like the way the church did to so many victims and their families?  And like the church has done to honest priests who exposed pedophile priests?  Or like the church has done to honest priests who come out of the clerical closet to stand up for gay rights?

     Read the rest of the Bee's article.  It's absolutely revolting.  O'Grady molested his siblings, slept with female parishioners to gain access to their daughters, and continues to walk free among the child-packed public parks of his native Ireland.

     In a parallel article, the Bee interviewed on of O'Grady's victims, Nancy Sloan, who was 11 when the priest abused her.  Here are a few excerpts from the article, which summarize my experiences of PTSD perfectly:
      "I don't think there was a parish where he didn't have a victim," said Sloan, who lives in Fairfield, Calif. "He was a very aggressive and proactive pedophile. He's evil, as they all are. Whether it was an infant, a boy, a girl, a pre-adolescent, a post-adolescent, an adult - he abused them all."
     "The amount of people who haven't come forward is mind-blowing," Sloan said. "It takes an incredible amount of strength and courage to come forward, even years later."
      "I think it would be easier to say how it hasn't impacted me instead of how it has," she said. 
     "Women remember their first kiss - my memory of my first kiss is of Oliver O'Grady. I have a memory of him making me dance for him at the rectory, and I am still on a regular basis trying to take that back. I have a boyfriend who loves music. I'm regularly in tears because I have to constantly work through that (old memory)."
     The impact goes on, she said. "Body image. Being in certain locations. Hearing an Irish accent and not recognizing where I am because I'm suddenly back there. Feeling like I'm never in control."
     And, always, thinking about O'Grady's other victims, past and future.  "As proud as I am of being a United States citizen, there's the fact that we let him go after seven years," Sloan said. "I'm so ashamed that we've unleashed him on someone else."  She said because several of O'Grady's victims who filed lawsuits were given large awards, "most people think it's all about the money. I think all of us would rather have Oliver O'Grady in jail. We want the cycle to stop. We don't want another child hurt."
O'Grady in Park with Children, photo from Bishop Accountability

     In an article on Saturday, the Bee reported on O'Grady's victims' response to the church providing the pedophile priest with an annuity:
     "He gets rewarded. I get very frustrated," Nancy Sloan, 45, told The Modesto Bee. Sloan was sexually abused by O'Grady when she was 11. "The church has certainly gone back on its word countless times. I don't know why it wouldn't even cross their minds to go back on the annuity - give it back to a victims fund."
     Jeff Anderson, a St. Paul, Minn., lawyer for the two boys O'Grady went to jail for molesting, said O'Grady doesn't deserve any money.  "Why would they pay him after he's been deported, after he's been convicted?" Anderson asked. "He's deserving of no money, certainly from them."
     It recently came out that O'Grady had volunteered at a church in the Netherlands.
     Here's the teaser for the film Deliver Us From Evil, a 2006 documentary about O'Grady's trail of abuse and the bishops, including Mahony, who covered it up.

Vermont Catholic's Priesthood Ordination Photo Faux Pas

And they say that there are no gays in the Catholic seminaries.
     I don't know which is more frightening, the stoic indecency of the bishop's face, or the fact that they forgot to light the candles when they staged the photo shoot.  With this kind of attention to detail, who needs church-commissioned investigations into church-sanctioned sexual abuse?

Image Credit: Cover of Vermont Catholic via Andrew Sullivan, The Daily Dish