Home > Bishop Charles Blake, lawsuit > Looking the other way: Could a COGIC bishop be next for jail?

Looking the other way: Could a COGIC bishop be next for jail?

A judge who sentenced a Catholic official to prison for shielding sexual predators rather than punishing them, described the perpetrators as “monsters in clerical garb”. Msgr. William J. Lynn’s trial was intended to send a strong message to those who attempt to help or diminish the devastation of sex predators in the church.

“You knew full well what was right, Monsignor Lynn, but you chose wrong,” Judge M. Teresa Sarmina of Common Pleas Court said as she imposed the sentence, which was just short of the maximum of three and a half to seven years.

Denominations and their leaders who are looking the other way and more concerned about the name, image and assets of their denominations, should take heed. A prosecutor in the case said “They knew that these were predators but were much more concerned with the institution than with victims of sexual assault.”

“We now live in a litigious society. People file lawsuits for every conceivable grievance, whether real or imagined. To protect the name, image, and assets of the Church of God in Christ, we must take positive steps to seriously investigate very case of alleged sexual abuse by the clergy. We must stand behind and support those who are falsely accused of sexual improprieties and found innocent by the courts. We must also insure that the Church act quickly to take firm and positive action against those who violate the sanctity of their positions and are found guilty of sexual abuse and other sexual improprieties.” Bishop Charles Blake Presiding Bishop Oct 29, 2007

A comprehensive victims advocacy plan was presented to the General Board, but without even an word of acknowledgement, it was rejected. That says that COGIC is more concerned with its institutional image than justice for victims of clergy sexual abuse.

Blaming senior leaders wont work anymore either. More than likely the senior leaders are going to let you take the fall, so individuals who are hiding secrets for senior leaders won’t receive anything but cold silence from them.

“I think this is going to send a very strong signal to every bishop and everybody who worked for a bishop that if they don’t do the right thing they may go to jail,” said Rev. Thomas J. Reese, a senior fellow of the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University and a Jesuit priest. “They can’t just say the bishop made me do it, that’s not going to be an excuse that holds up in court.”

Although victims continue to mount and a constant flow of lawsuits keep coming, COGIC leadership are attempting to hold back the tsunami with a sheet of cellophane. In 2009, a 100 million dollar lawsuit filed in Maryland in against the church. How soon before there is another?

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