World, Americas

‘Catholic Church can’t be trusted in sex abuse cases’

Canadian lawyer urges focus on ‘criminal conspiracy’

Barry Ellsworth   | 19.11.2019
‘Catholic Church can’t be trusted in sex abuse cases’


A Canadian lawyer said Monday the Catholic Church cannot be trusted to investigate priests who are accused of sexual abuse.

Rob Talach, who has handled more than 400 such cases, made the charge after it was learned that the Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver knew about 36 cases of sex abuse in the 1950s that were not reported. Twenty-six of the cases involved children and three priests were alleged to have fathered children.

Some of the priests were moved to other areas and some went for treatment rather than being reported to police.

Talach said it was time for Canada to look at “different policies in the prosecutor’s office – that we don’t just look at the perpetrator priest, that we go a little further and look at the criminal conspiracy that allowed them to carry on for decades.”

The archdiocese said in a statement that information on the cases will be released Friday. It would mark the first time in Canada that the church made the information public.

Archdiocese officials said individual bishops make the decision whether to make public the names of clergy who have been “credibly accused.”

Talach pointed out that the church manages to be well organized when it comes to meeting its own agenda, but not with its approach to sex abuse cases within its ranks.

“The Catholic Church in Canada is organized when it comes to issues of abortion, birth control, euthanasia – I mean they can all get together and they can work in unison when it’s something that meets their theology and their agenda,” he said.

Yet the church relies on individual bishops when it comes to sex abuse.

“They are all running around in a circle saying we’re not organized and we have to leave it up to individuals,” he said.

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