According to The Record, Bishop Stephen Blaire said:
"We just felt it was in the best interest of everybody to bring the second phase of the trial to an end," Bishop Stephen Blaire said, adding the settlement isn't an admission of negligence on the diocese's part.I suppose the Bishop is allowed to grandstand about not "admitting negligence."
"I don't think a settlement in any way conveys anything other than an agreement, and I would hope people would not take it that way," he said.
Pretty stupid if you ask me.
$3.75M is decidedly NOT "eh...go away... money." In my opinion, it says something more like: "Holy Mother of Duped Parishioners, we really didn't do a good enough job of covering for "Father" Kelly's molesty-ness, and given the already established guilt of Kelly, and his flight from justice, and the fact that Vicar General Monsignor Richard Ryan already testified that he, and Bishop Stephen Blaire, and attorney Paul Balestracci ignored a psychologist's report that recommended removing Kelly from access to children; we're probably ALL going to lose most of our retirement benefits if we stick to our guns about finishing the trial."
So yeah. I suppose that does seem like it's not an admission of negligence. If you're really, really stupid.
After the settlement was announced, the victim came forward and held a press conference.
The victim's attorney, John Manly, "urged law enforcement officials to investigate the diocese's handling of clergy sexual misconduct."
According to the Lodi News-Sentinel, The victim stated that "coming forward, and identifying himself Friday was empowering, providing closure not only for him but perhaps blazing a path for other victims to come forward."
Personally, I think that one of the most important keys to preventing the proliferation of child molestation is in stopping the enablers, those who look the other way because they're afraid to rock the boat, and those who are unfortunately entwined with the molesters. I'm sure it's a horrible situation to have been a vocal supporter of a person who is found to be a molester, but to hang on even when it becomes obvious that allegations are true, ESPECIALLY when you are in a position of authority to stop it, is simply reprehensible.
According to the same article in The Record, Bishop Stephen Blaire says this about their responsibility to protect children from child molesting staff:
Blaire said the diocese has clear procedures and policies for investigating allegations, including a review board made up of community members, law professionals and abuse survivors.People like Blaire and Vicar General Monsignor Richard Ryan and attorney Paul Balestracci are clearly, in my opinion, a huge part of the problem, and refuse to understand the import of this kind of problem. This kind of "Yeah, whatever." response is disgusting.
"If anybody wants to come in and examine the way we conduct our investigations, I welcome them to do that," Blaire said.
Blaire said the diocese already has education and training programs for personnel and for youth.
"But I think this will be an opportunity to review all of that. If we need to make some improvements, we can do that.
People who read this blog know that I'm a Christian, not a Christian basher, or hater of Christian organizations in general. In this case, I DO hope that others who have been abused by Kelly will come forward and file criminal and civil claims as appropriate, so that those responsible for BOTH the molestation AND the for protecting the molester can be removed from the positions that allow them to do this. It doesn't matter if that happens through criminal charges, or by fiscally draining the Diocese of all financial resources, but it needs to happen.
If fiscal draining frightens the Stockton Diocese community of Christians, then they need to look hard at WHY this was allowed to happen, and they need to protect themselves from financial drain, and their children from further abuses by insisting that those responsible for allowing Kelly to continue be removed from their positions -- not just moved so they can damage other communities, but REMOVED from their positions.
Blaire states "If anybody wants to come in and examine the way we conduct our investigations, I welcome them to do that," Every single responsible adult in the Stockton Diocese should do EXACTLY that, and they should make DAMN SURE that Blaire takes this as an "opportunity to review all of that." If you don't, then you can blame yourselves for the fallout, and the molestations, and so can everyone else.