The Enablers of Child Abuse in Society, School, Family and Church

by Fr. Shay Cullen

| Photo by Charlotte Cooper via Wikimedia Commons 2.0

After months of trial and deliberation by a jury in New York, a wealthy British socialite, Ghislaine Maxwell, has been convicted of crimes related to human trafficking, grooming and facilitating and enabling the sexual abuse of minors by her wealthy boyfriend, Jeffrey Epstein. Maxwell, 60 years old, is now facing a possible jail time of 65 years behind bars. She was the recruiter, pimp, human trafficker, and enabler of child sexual abuse.

This conviction focuses attention on the persons who are the enablers. They are the cover-up agents of crimes committed against children. They fail to help, protect and report the sexual abuse of children.

Parents and relatives, even some teachers and social workers are guilty of crimes of omission and failure in their mandated duty to act to protect sexually or physically abused children.

A school principal in Zambales, Philippines, received a report of child sexual abuse. Instead of referring the child victim, call her Amber. For help, the school principal summoned Amber’s mother to the office and informed her of Amber’s disclosure. The mother did not believe her husband could abuse their daughter but promised to protect her better. Months after, Amber was abused again by her father. She sought the assistance of her teacher, who referred her to the municipal social worker and police. The social worker referred the child to the protection and care of Preda Foundation home for abused girls. The DepEd must investigate. They will charge her father in court, but they must hold the principal to account and resign. Amber is healing and recovering and studying continually.

“Parents and relatives, even some teachers and social workers are guilty of crimes of omission and failure in their mandated duty to act to protect sexually or physically abused children.”

Another child victim, call her Beth, was raped by her half-brother, a religious pastor when she was 14. She was raped again by her adult nephew in the provincial town of San Marcelino. She complained to her parents and begged help. They knew of the abuse but ignored her, and it happened again. They considered their daughter their property, enabled the abuse, and covered it up because the abusers were her half-brother and nephew. They knew about the abuse and allowed it. They should bring the abusers and parents to justice.

It was only when Beth, in total desperation from rejection and trauma, tried to commit suicide that her parents brought her to the authorities in San Marcelino. The authorities did the right thing and referred Beth to the Preda home, where she was welcomed and given support, understanding, and a warm welcome in the family of children recovering from heinous crimes. She immediately felt secure and free from the pain she suffered from rejection and the abuse she endured. Beth disclosed all her hardships and suffering and is now healing and recovering from her trauma.

As mentioned in previous articles, Church authorities are also enablers by hiding and covering up clerics’ heinous crimes of child sexual abuse. This practice is repugnant and privately deplored and rejected by thousands of good, honorable dedicated priests and religious clerics. They are giving their lives in serving justice, the poor, and human dignity and taking a moral stand against child abuse. They rightly feel their sacred vocation is sullied by the few pedophile priests coddled and protected by the church authorities.

That is not enough. These pedophiles have to stand for the child victims and their vocation, profession, priesthood, and dignity and work for justice even if it goes against the bishop and the influential clerics protecting the pedophile priests.

They can, in total confidentiality, share with us at Preda Foundation the basic information about the victim of abuse such as: who, what, when, and where, and we will do the rest. They can call me at +63 9228768621, and the child victims will be rescued and protected.

In the Diocese of Naval, Biliran, Father Kenneth Pius Hendricks, according to reports, is walking free, celebrating Holy Mass, protected and supported by the Diocese. Some church officials are allegedly in cahoots with the local judiciary persuading them not to pursue the case against Hendricks after several altar boys accused him of sexually abusing them. The vicar general is requested to comment. In Ohio, USA, a court has issued an arrest warrant to stand trial in the United States for the child abuse committed in Biliran, Naval. The crimes in the Naval are also criminal acts in the United States since Hendricks is a US citizen. Allegedly, the parents of the altar boys have been paid off by the church authorities not to pursue their complaints against Hendricks.

“Some church authorities cannot face the truth of their mistakes in covering up child abuse. They lack the fortitude to face the truth and endure the loss of face, humiliation, the shame, disgrace, loss of status, honor, and prestige that they enjoy basking in respect of public adulation and reverence.”

We need to understand that some bishops and senior clergy, having enabled child abuse by failing to act against pedophile priests and allowing them to continue abusing children, live in fear of exposure. They apparently feel no anguish for the suffering of the child victims. The practice of sending a child-abusing priest to a monastery or retreat house or abroad as happens in the Philippines and paying off the parents of child victims is their solution, all done by their intermediaries corrupt lawyers impeding and obstructing the course of justice for children. As Cardinal Antonio Tagle said, the Philippine church deals with clerical child abuse internally. Pope Francis said they must report the clerical child abuse to the civil authorities. However, they, too, can be complicit in the cover-up.

Some church authorities cannot face the truth of their mistakes in covering up child abuse. They lack the fortitude to face the truth and endure the loss of face, humiliation, the shame, disgrace, loss of status, honor, and prestige that they enjoy basking in respect of public adulation and reverence. They can expect the loss of huge donations from the Catholic community. There would likely be sizeable monetary compensation to the victims if a conviction of one of their priests or themselves in a court of law. The French bishops said they would sell church property to pay the compensation due to the child abuse victims of priests in France. All should humble themselves and be washers of feet as Jesus taught by example.

Jesus of Nazareth said, “Whoever receives a child in my name receives me.” Demanding accountability and justice for child abusers, he said a millstone should be tied around the neck of a child abuser, and he is thrown into the deep sea. (Matthew 18:1-7)

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