Sex abuse victims sue Catholic Church under RICO, while Pope Francis and U.S. bishops remain complacent

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On November 13, 2018, six American survivors of priest sex-abuse filed a class-action civil lawsuit at U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., against the Vatican (Holy See) and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), citing a federal anti-racketeering law known as RICO.

The six plaintiffs who claim they had been abused by clergy as minors: Timothy B. Lennon, of Arizona; Mark S. Belenchia, of Mississippi; Alfred L. Antonsen Jr., of Illinois; Joseph Piscitelli, of California; Shaun A. Dougherty, of Pennsylvania; and Mark Crawford, of New Jersey. (LifeSiteNews)

The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) is a federal law  on racketeering — conspiring to organize to commit crimes, especially on an ongoing basis as part of an organized crime operation.

In “How to Make a RICO Case Against Gangs,” Police: The Law Enforcement Magazine, November 20, 2008, Sgt. Richard Valdemar, a retired L.A. County sheriff, points out that the importance of RICO is that it is used successfully to indict and convict members of a corrupt organization who themselves had not committed criminal acts. In his words:

Any member of any criminal enterprise can be charged with RICO racketeering if he can be shown to have committed two of 27 federal or eight state charges within a 10-year period as part of the enterprise. A person can be charged even if that person did not directly commit the crime but only agreed to the commission or conspired with the perpetrators in any way.

Sgt. Valdemar explains that a RICO trial usually consists of two phases:

  1. First you must prove the criminal organization or enterprise esists.
  2. Secondly, you must prove that those charged in the indictment have each committed at least two acts of racketeering activity, one within the recent proscribed period and the second within 10 years. These are called “predicate acts” and they show a pattern of criminal acts as opposed to individual acts if they “have the same or similar purpose, results, participants, victims, or methods of commission, or otherwise are interrelated by distinguishing characteristics and are not isolated events.”

In the case of the class-action civil suit against the Vatican and U.S. bishops, the Vatican is sued as a foreign state, an unincorporated association, and as the “head of an international religious organization”; and the U.S. bishops as leaders of “an unincorporated association”.

The 80-page lawsuit states:

1. This case is about the endemic, systemic, rampant, and pervasive rape and sexual abuse of Plaintiffs and Class Members perpetrated by Roman Catholic Church cardinals, bishops, monsignors, priests, sisters, lay leaders, members of Catholic religious orders, educators, and other of Defendants’ personnel, members, agents, and representatives (collectively, “Clergy” or “Catholic Clergy”) while serving in active ministry—with the knowledge of Defendants. Rather than safeguarding and protecting Plaintiffs and Class Members—who were minor children at the time—Defendants protected the abusive Clergy, took extraordinary measures to conceal their wrongful conduct, moved them from parish to parish, without warning church members or the general public, thereby further facilitating their predatory practices, failed and refused to report the abusive Clergy to law enforcement or other responsible authorities as required by law, and—incredibly—even promoted the abusive Clergy. Defendants’ wrongful acts are ongoing and continuous….

3. The RICO enterprise alleged in this Complaint is the Roman Catholic Church in the United States, an unincorporated association-in-fact…. This association-in-fact enterprise will be referred to as the “Church Enterprise” or the “Enterprise.” As of 2017, there were over 37,000 Catholic priests and other Clergy in the Church Enterprise. Each diocese is headed by a bishop who, in turn, is a member of Defendant USCCB….
5. Defendants’ schemes to defraud involved (and continue to involve) means of false or fraudulent pretenses and/or fraudulent and intentionally misleading representations and omissions, including, inter alia, (i) Defendants (and the Clergy) secretly misrepresenting to Plaintiffs and Class Members—through their words and deeds—that they were men of faith who had Plaintiffs’ and Class Members’ best interests at heart, and then, knowing that Plaintiffs and Class Members relied on their representations and put their faith and trust in the Clergy as their spiritual leaders, took advantage of their positions of power and influence and sexually abused Plaintiffs and Class Members, (ii) Defendants (and the Clergy) misrepresenting to Plaintiffs, Class Members, Defendants, the Clergy, and/or other third parties—explicitly and/or implicitly—that the wrongful sexual abuse did not occur (denial and deceit), (iii) Defendants (and the Clergy) shifting the focus of the allegations to Plaintiffs and Class by painting them as liars, alleging Plaintiffs and Class Members falsified the charges, or that they suffered from some mental illness giving rise to their allegations of Clergy sexual abuse, and (iv) Defendants (and the Clergy) actively and fraudulently concealing the Clergy’s wrongful sexual abuse by, among other things, (a) burying the charges deep within Defendants’ organizations and affirmatively deciding not to publicize, properly investigate, or act on them, (b) failing and refusing to terminate, or even discipline, abusing Clergy, (c) moving the abusive Clergy from parish to parish, without warning church members or the general public, thereby further facilitating their predatory practices, failing and refusing to report the abusive Clergy to law enforcement or other responsible authorities as required by law, and even promoting abusive Clergy, and (iv) using all available means to look the other way, deny, obstruct the investigation of, and conceal Clergy sexual abuse. Defendants’ wrongful acts are open-ended, ongoing, and continuous.
6. As a direct and proximate result of Defendants’ (and the Clergy’s) above-referenced wrongful actions, inaction, omissions, cover-up, deception, and concealment, obstructive behavior regarding investigations, and conspiracy of silence, inter alia, (i) Plaintiffs and Class Members have suffered (and will continue to suffer) physical and/or mental injury, pain, suffering, and other actual and consequential injury, harm, and economic damages to themselves, their businesses and/or their property, (ii) Defendants have maintained (and will continue to maintain) their reputations and maintained and expanded (and will continue to expand and maintain) their commercial operations in the United States whereby Defendants and the Enterprise obtained (and will continue to obtain) money, funds, credits, assets, and/or other property, and (iii) Defendants wrongfully shifted the risk, expense, and pain, and suffering of the Clergy sexual abuse to Plaintiffs and Class Members and robbed them of their childhood, youth, innocence, virginity, families, jobs, finances, assets—in short, their lives.

So what is the reaction of Vatican and U.S. bishops to the clergy sex-abuse scandal and the class-action RICO lawsuit?

On November 12, 2018, at the conclusion of the annual conference of U.S. bishops in Baltimore, Maryland, conference president Cardinal Daniel DiNardo said the USCCB will delay action to deal with the sexual abuse of minors by clergy until after a global meeting in February at the request of the Vatican.

As reported by Ed Condon for Catholic News Agency:

[M]any U.S. bishops expected their November general assembly in Baltimore to produce something tangible – a new policy, structure, or system – that would help them reassure Catholics that they were responding to months of sexual abuse scandals breaking across the Church.

But after a last-minute Vatican’s decision to suspend a vote on draft measures until after a Rome meeting of the heads of the world’s bishops’ conferences in February, it seems likely that no universal response to the crisis will emerge until at least the second half of 2019.

Some U.S. bishops have told CNA they now realize that if they want to initiate new reforms, they’ll have to do so in their own dioceses, using the ordinary prerogatives of a diocesan bishop.

For more on this, see “Why Vatican wanted to block U.S. bishops’ reform“.

Meanwhile, the clergy sex abuse of children is exacting a financial toll on the U.S. Catholic Church which will only get worse:

  • In September, Legatus — an organization of Catholic business leaders — announced it was placing its annual donation to the Holy See in escrow until it can receive clarification on questions of financial accountability — how the money is being used, and what financial accountability exists within the Vatican for such charitable contributions. According to the Wall Street Journal, Legatus’ 2018 tithe to the Holy See would have been about $820,000. (Catholic News Agency)
  • On November 18, 2018, the Diocese of Winona-Rochester in Minnesota announced it will file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, due to the 121 claims of child sexual abuse by 17 priests within the diocese. In a recorded video statement posted on the diocesan website, Bishop John Quinn said that on behalf of his brother priests, he “offer(s) an apology to these survivors and acknowledge their pain and suffering,” and pledged to “remain vigilant” to prevent abuse in the future. Survivors of clerical sexual abuse in the diocese will be compensated by a combination of insurance, savings, money from the sale of assets, and other sources. No parishes or parish schools will be closing due to the bankruptcy filing because they are separate legal entities. (Catholic News Agency)
  • On November 29, 2018, a day after New Mexico’s attorney general executed a search warrant on the chancery office of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, New Mexico, for files related to two priests accused of sexual abuse, the archdioce announced it will file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization to meet its responsibility to sexual abuse victims. There are 35-40 active claims against the archdiocese.(Catholic News Agency)

See also:

Update (Feb. 12, 2019):

As reported by National Catholic Register, Philip Gray, a canon lawyer and the president of Catholics United for the Faith and the St. Joseph Foundation, points out that bishops do not have to wait for the USCCB or the Vatican to act. He said, “I don’t believe the bishops need any more tools,” because the bishops were given additional tools after the 2002 sex-abuse crisis — tools that they have not been using. Even when it comes to their fellow bishops, diocesan bishops have the ability to act on allegations:

  • They can open investigations and forward the results to the Pope with recommendations of their own.
  • A diocesan bishop can remove an auxiliary bishop from a diocesan office, as well as bar a fellow bishop facing credible allegations from celebrating Mass on diocesan property or wearing pontifical vestments.


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18 responses to “Sex abuse victims sue Catholic Church under RICO, while Pope Francis and U.S. bishops remain complacent

  1. WHY are they so complacent??
    Are they so high on the ‘pecking order’ that they have little to fear??
    And if so….

    I’ll withhold part of my comment, not knowing what anti-American Commie POS may be monitoring this site.

    • Well, silhouette, you may want to take heart from the remark made by Giovanni Boccaccio, author of The Decameron, a classic Italian Renaissance work from the 1400s. It is a collection of short stories told by a party of people who fled from the plague, who meet by chance in a country estate.

      Somewhere in those dozens of short stories one of the narrators comments that “Of course the Church is of divine origin; She would have to be to withstood the government She’s had!”

      There’s little doubt he was simply retelling what was a contemporary witticism, but this indicates that those responsible for leading and governing the Church had already mismanaged so badly as to foster a broadly cynical skepticism. And that was 600 years ago!

    • It is baffling to me too why they are so complacent. The reputation of the Church is seriously under attack and it’s as if they don’t care one bit. Nor do they care about the victims. It’s just astonishing…

      • To answer both you and Silhouette on why they are so complacent….

        It is my opinion based on numerous reports, the top at the Vatican and many Cardinals are not only no better than the low rung homosexual predators found throughout the Church, but that they are Satanists/ Masons. There are stories quite numerous from insiders about Black Masses and Child sacrifices happening in underneath vaults in the Vatican. I don’t doubt it for one minute. We know Francis is an out and out Communist. Communism IS Satanism and a product of the Banking Cabal that runs the world. Any time you have places of power, if they aren’t already corrupted, over time they will be, as no other independent sources of power are allowed to operate outside of THE main power. When we ask why are they so complacent, the answer is that the veil is being dropped and the ORDER is making itself and it’s intentions known. The plan is to only have a One World Religion. How can that be if the Church as we know it is still intact, and operating in integrity with this original teachings? The fact is its all going perfectly according to plan. No one will have any excuse that they ” didn’t know” when it comes time for the final agreement to either be in ” the system” or out of it. All we have to do is look at so many other incidents too numerous to mention where celebs and other powerful are in your face with the Satanism. Most recent example is with Celine Dion and her Israeli Devil worshipers pushing their satanic children’s clothing. If anyone bothered to look at the actual line of clothing and the commercial Dion starred in to promo this stuff you can’t miss it- baphomet horns , skulls, voodoo dolls in bassinets, and more, all the while telling us what they are going to do with your children. Hello? And Dion claims to be Catholic..uh huh, yeah sure….

    • “Why are we so complacent”. That is a excellent question. Is it because we have been brainwashed from birth? Flouride? Constant subliminal programming? Vaccinations? Examples of other people like say “John Rocker” who expressed opinions contrary to the Bolshevik Global Agenda and his career destroyed? I’ve pondered why the few of us can see right through the deceptions but no one else can. Why are we different?

      “Open Your Eyes”
      Video games train the kids for war. Army chic in high-fashion
      stores. Law and order’s done their job. Prisons filled while
      the rich still rob. Assassination politics. Violence rules
      within’ our nation’s midst. Well ignorance is their power tool.
      You’ll only know what they want you to know. The television
      cannot lie. Controlling media with smokescreen eyes. Nuclear
      politicians picture show. The acting’s lousy but the blind don’t
      know. They scare us all with threats of war. So we forget
      just how bad things are. You taste the fear when you’re all
      alone. They gonna git’cha when you’re on your own. The silence
      of conspiracy. Slaughtered on the altar of apathy. You gotta
      wake up from your sleep. ‘Cause meek inherits earth… six feet
      Open your eyes see the lies right in front of ya.
      Open your eyes…

  2. Bravo to the plaintiffs for their action: The actions of certain priests, over time, has made this RICO suit necessary.
    From an historical standpoint, a number of key individuals opened up the Catholic priesthood (in America at the very least) to homosexually-inclined men—Bella Dodd, Richard Cardinal Bernardine and Paul VI come to mind.
    These persons (Bella Dodd repented) were enabled in their actions thanks to an ongoing cultural devolution known as the Sexual Revolution, on the one hand, and their own personal depravity, on the other—as was the case with Bernardine and Paul VI.

    By their concise and focused language, the plaintiffs have fully identified key persons, what they did and who enabled them. They have also traced the spread of the problem by the actions of those named in the suit, and what they did, including the obstruction of justice. To the point, they have identified the Who, What, When, Where & Why. And they have been most economical in their wording of it.

    Now comes the $64,000 Question: Why can’t this be done to BOTH political parties? (And now that Bush the Elder has crossed the River Styx, why can’t this be done to the surviving members of the Bush Family and both Bush Administrations, too?)

    • As Shakespeare wrote, “Tis a consummation devotedly to be wished!” Or, as my mother would have said in her quotidian pragmatism, “One hand washes the other.”

  3. Pingback: Iowa diocese protects priest who stripped naked in a mall and threatened to rape female parishioner - Fellowship Of The Minds

  4. Pope Francis is a mind controlled Golem. Remember he was under AshkeNazi “Psychiatric Care” years ago.

  5. It has been foretold that Pope Francis will be the last Pope of the Catholic church. Very well could be true if the Church loses a huge RICO case and is forced into insolvency from billions in civil suits. Good riddance to immoral trash if if comes.

  6. So why the hell isn’t there a law suit against Comey, or Hillary, Obama under RICO statutes?

  7. captain america

    Eh! Da Popa he lika da little boys too. It musta be ok for us den. Praise god!

  8. ” Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, that their bodies might be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions ; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.” And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper…………” Rom 1:24-28

  9. Page 16 of my county newspaper in So.Cal: “Pope Says He’s Concerned about Homosexuality in the Priesthood.”

    Soooooo….maybe a couple of centuries too late to be “concerned” before even “taking action?” Sooooooo why concerned about “homosexualtiy” right now when the problem at hand is sexual abuse of under-aged children, mostly males, by “trusted” priests? I “get it” that one might have something to do with the other…but it is OFF TOPIC from what is being litigated and cried out against by now-grown children and their parents today in the Catholic Church (and let’s face it…could be ANY church/denomination/or even any governmental office….oh…like, for instance, Bill Clinton and his intern……) Any position of power that literally becomes used as a “prostitute” for personal sexual pleasure at the expense of the less powerful/beholden/ underaged….etc etc…. is guilty of transgression… doesn’t have to be a homosexual…but, in this case, due to the all-male preisthood, it necessarily follows……esp. if the victims are little boys. But, the Pope digresses …..nonetheless.

  10. Pingback: Americans' regard for religious clergy's honesty and ethics at all-time low - Fellowship Of The Minds

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