tv Catholic Church Child Protection CSPAN November 12, 2018 11:12am-12:14pm EST
>> congress is back in session tomorrow for a post election lame-duck session. the house will direct the interior department to remove the gray wolf from the endangered species list. to fillers were elected vacant speeches. the senate looks at coast guard programs and a nomination for the federal reserve board. watch the house live on c-span. you can watch the senate live on c-span two. reviewclout -- child board set them for discussion about sexual abuse committed by priests and reform the church could undertake. from the city club of chicago, this is one hour. thank you everyone
today for being here. good afternoon also to the members as well for inviting us to discuss the current crisis in the catholic church. when i last had the opportunity to speak at the city club audience regarding this topic it was march 3, 2004, 14 years ago. to quote from my talk at that time, regarding the release of a national review board report, i said as a rational thinking person and a legal professional i had to recognize the , difference between the church and the hierarchy. do.pe we all while some leaders may have failed us others among them have tried to set things right i believe they have begun to accomplish this with the unprecedented board which i have , been serving.
it is a deep expression of their willingness to respond to this crisis in the most effective way possible. that was 14 years ago. now i realize i was mistaken in , thinking that hierarchy of the catholic church would implement the recommendations from the national review board. it is my pleasure this afternoon to moderate this distinguished panel to discuss the current crisis in the catholic church and the recurrent sexual abuse scandals. they have been drawn into sharper and renewed focus as a result of the lengthy probe into the handling of a multitude of abuse claims brought against the pennsylvania catholic diocese . in the years following the 2002 formation of the national review board by the united states
conference of catholic bishops as an independent body of laymen , and women whose mission and purpose was to advise the conference of sexual abuse against minors in the united states appeared to begin to be doing something. however this new crisis sadly and tragically has emerged and that is why the crisis of leadership we will be discussing two of the problems with the national review board of the united states catholic bishops confronted 16 years ago. the transients of this conference of bishops to take up the national review board in authority to investigate the bishops and the cardinal and
also the credible evidence from the local and elaborate cover-up of the sexual crimes committed against under age victims by priests. now it is clear that the code of , silence permeated the diocese across the united states. we did recommend and adoption of a whistleblower policy. obviously, it was not adopted by the bishops. present today to discuss these matters is my friend esteemed former fbi executive assistant director, the former special agent in charge and the first director of the office of child , and youth protections of the united states conference of catholic bishops and also an author. since 2002 traveling the world to establish programs stemming
from sexual abuse currently the ceo of management and consulting to provide strategic services to businesses and not-for-profit organizations. please join me. [applause] also on the panel today is a good friend and one of our nation's preeminent trial attorneys. he has cochaired several association national institute programs and represented former president bill clinton and two former secretaries of the defense clark clifford and caspar weinberger in high profile that edition. he is a fellow from the american college of trial lawyers and at various times special counsel to
can you hear me? the national review board conducted a thorough investigation into sexual abuse and recorded the number of victims so why after 14 years , are we still learning about grand juries across the country of priest abusing minors? . robert bennett: it's because the bishops really did not follow all of our recommendations. in fact, we were prohibited from looking into the bishops because . our task was simply to look into the priest. we did not have subpoena power. we didn't have access to the documents. so i will be as candid with you and i think you deserve that. the vatican structure really
consists, and i can say this is a bunch of old men who don't really want to reform anything and are very satisfied for the most part with what they have and change is an enemy. women to them and to be directed by women. so it just goes on and on. recently we learned that the cardinal was continuingly elevated into the church even though, even though many of the folks in the vatican were aware of allegations against him regarding for the most part young seminarians but also minors.
i really hate to say that because he was a very close and dear friend of mine. i loved the man. book, i say many times when i was very depressed about our work and what we were doing and learning, i would say that here is the bright light the cardinal is a humble man and has not been taken with the perks of office. i could not have been more wrong. so that is a partial answer. anne burke: i've never known you to give a partial answer. we still have lots of questions for you. kathleen, do you have any ideas why we are still talking about this 14 years later? kathleen mcchesney: thank you
for allowing me to be here this morning. i would like to say one thing before i answer the question . there is a possibility that one or more of you in the room have been victims of some type of sexual abuse whether committed , by a member of the catholic church or someone you know, or did not know or your family has been a victim. let me first say i'm sorry for what happened. one out of four women in this country are victims of sexual abuse or attempted sexual abuse and one out of six men. it is a , very important topic. so why are we still talking about this? because it is still prevalent in society in the catholic church closely because those who are the offenders are those who representing god to so many people especially to children , who don't know the distinction
between god and the authority figure representing the church. continues but i , think it is important to know that there has been progress in the catholic church and the sense of diminishing the number of cases that have been occurring over time. during the peak years of the 70's, over the decade there were about 271 on average cases per year. during the past 15 years that number has dropped to about 13 cases per year. one case is dreadful and reprehensible, but the numbers have gone down i believe can be attributed to the fact that prevention programs do work and abusive awareness programs do work. robert bennett: i have a number
of grandchildren who are in catholic school and i felt very safe about that. i don't think they are at risk like they used to be. i would like to think that our board has something to do with that. but i have to tell you i think the main reason is that the law enforcement authorities are no longer staying away from the church. they are investigating and prosecuting and subpoenaing like you just saw in pennsylvania and now many other state say no longer forget the separation of church and state, we are coming after you. that gets their attention. anne burke: i agree with you.
sexual abuse is a crime across the country and every state and across the world. the first response should be law enforcement response. the second would be the organization. as a result of the national review board so kathleen is in a true every diocese there is sufficient training and background checks to make sure all of those other dioceses are convincingly trusted as we would say in chicago? kathleen mcchesney: when the bishops set up their program in 2002, of the things the national one review board did was the implementation of the process that external audit process to make sure each of those diocese
around the country was compliant with background checks and abusive awareness training done and the audit on the annual basis. there is a report about this. but in the years that have 2002, from the spotlight years to see the , issues so what i would say in the past five or ten years people have not paid attention to those numbers but the audits of the diocese to make sure they are compliant with those procedures and there is better screening. i'm not saying it's as good as it should be, but for those for simians as well. anne burke: anything to add to that? robert bennett: no. anne burke: some people have
said the church leadership is turning a blind eye because of the lack of accountability and that's why last week you appeared at georgetown university and you were amazed at the number of people and other issues. mark can you explain? there were 750 people on this issue. it was amazing. i think what happened that they realized it is they are church. it's not the church of the vatican or those in the vatican. it is our church and the vatican is becoming almost irrelevant.
god your relationship with that matters. what politician asks what the moral position is on an issue? when i was in school they did it all the time now they don't even bother. they said you can even keep your own house in order. people are pretty fed up my own -- that up. my own daughter is older now. what does the church do for them ? they are a second-class citizen. i think one of the problems is while the laity feels that way they have no place to go. , maybe they go to the local priest or occasionally the local bishop, but it doesn't go anyplace.
it's like a glass ceiling. one of the things that has to be done is we should create a national association of concerned catholics and the head of that our representative should have a seat at the table with the vatican. i don't mean they have to be a priest. they have access because no input is given into the vatican and you and i have talked about this. our complaints go up there someplace into the cloud , whatever that is. nothing is really done about it. you mentioned the vatican. the nationalon
review board, we did visit the vatican. tell the audience about some of the experience is going to meet with the cardinals. robert bennett: it started out on the wrong foot because a good catholic boy i didn't have the phone number. so i played by the rules and of course, they would not return the call. but one of the delegates called me. he said i'm sorry. an't forget, this is not plaintiff's organization. it is a creature of the bishop . he doesn't feel this is within his jurisdiction.
i said child abuse is not within his jurisdiction? i'm sorry. so then i did something with permission, because she was running the show. i sent a bunch of faxes. i was admonished by one of the bishops for that. faxes toou don't send the vatican. [laughter] i said before you get too upset with me let me tell you i got faxes back one from the cardinal , who at the time was the second most powerful person in rome and one year later and also another , very prominent catholic we went over there. it was pretty remarkable. we went over there.
we met with the cardinal for two hours. you can't even see the guy and , if you do it is five minutes and we were there for two hours. it wasn't us. he was hearing things for the first time. we told him about things and he could not believe what he was hearing. wasn't that your reaction? we felt it was a successful meeting. we left with a good italian dinner and a crazy cabdriver and believe it or not the cardinal stepped off the curb and we missed them by about six inches. could see that headline from the catholic review board. kathleen, as a
former fbi agent you organize , the first audit whereby you personally 55 former fbi agents. bishops at all grateful to see you? kathleen mcchesney: you must remember that the audits themselves were part of the bishops plan going forward which was set for of the charter of protection for children and young people. there were probably some bishops didn't think the day would ever come they would be audited by lay professionals outside of the of the church so that was shocked on the part of some. but over time because we established a credible process.
but because of that many bishops have come to rely on the expertise from the auditors particularly in the early years , using people with law enforcement experience and many had management experience. one of the things for those of you that our familiar with the church and how it does business is the church is a church and the business belongs to the the business world. that is one of the things that contributed to the confusion of what the church is about. people don't understand it -- it's structure. people still think in the united states there must be a bishop in bishops. other that's not the case. all bishops report to rome the same way and that is how it works in the united states. if there were structural changes
, then perhaps you could have people closer geographically and culturally to the issues to hold the bishops accountable for actions they have taken or not taken. anne burke: in a follow-up to that united states conference of catholic bishops president or the cardinal i should say including o'malley and gomez were summoned to rome on september 13, a few weeks ago. . i like we've heard anything from them. what happened at the meeting? structure, i know that there was a cry from the united states for having a visit . it appears with no word from
rome that nothing is going to happen. do you believe that, kathleen? i don't havechesney: any inside information but the bishops conference has asked for and apostolic visitation. what that means that they would appoint someone to come to the united states or even someone here, who is cleric, lead to the in addition -- investigation into the allegations in this , case having to do with the cardinal mccarron and why he was able to be promoted within the church when alleged the different individuals knew he had abused seminarians. i think the process is still underway to appoint someone to do this.
another point i would like to apostolic an visitation, it has to be a partnership to be credible at this point in time and partnership that includes lay professionals with law enforcement experience and investigative experience, who have some knowledge of the church. others have said the apostolic visitation is not the right thing to do. external just be an investigation without clerics involved. i don't believe that is something that is debated but i don't know yet. we will have to to wait. do you remember when we interviewed kathleen for the job. you said these bishops and cardinals are a bunch of tough
old men. do you think you can handle them? your response was, she was number three in the bureau and said i deal with tough old men all the time and they have fun. . anne burke: there is another story but we would go around the country and try to have our meetings as a board in each of board members diocese. we were getting ready to go to new york. we got word cardinal egan said i don't want that fbi agent and
a skirt coming in to new york. that is the kind of pushback that we got. i know kathleen as she went around to investigate, not all diocese cooperated. kathleen mcchesney: that's correct. let me finish on what you said. i did go to new york. i probably wore skirt. there was a bishop who declined to take part in the audits for several years. lincoln,the bishop of nebraska. he's been replaced and they are participating in the audit. the the interesting point is all his brothers were participating and the fact that he declined, there was no consequence whatsoever. i was wondering where the people were in his diocese that were insisting that they had external
audits. if there was a point we all wanted to make being here today it is first of all to thank all of you for being interested and hopefully activists on these issues and making certain that your respective bishops or archbishops or cardinals, whatever they might want to be as well as the provincials of the religious communities because a third of the priests in the country are members of religious communities and not necessarily associated with the the diocese. what we would hope is you would continue to make your voices heard about things going on that either you don't understand or that you think need to be corrected within the church. whatever the issue may be. abuse is the most important thing right now.
we were talking earlier about some of the things that need to be changed in the church. even though the bishops and necessarily pay attention to the recommendations on accountability, what do you think needs to be changed in the hierarchy? robert bennett: this is where i get close to being excommunicated. let me make one point. our investigation was very serious, and at the time i was how law firm. and i got the permission of wayne and others to do it right. at the end of the day, we wrote
off $2 million in time because of the use of the young lawyers and not so young lawyers and i'm in there because it shows they were protestant but this was a serious investigation. i've been thinking about these issues for a long time, especially the last 20 years. here's what i think. they are very practical and believe me, i am not naive. in if you want to make this a healthy church and solve many of the problems, here is what i would recommend. first, i'm absolutely convinced
voluntary.ould be people it is a great gift. albatross it's an which leads to heavy drinking, womanizing, etc.. we don't need to talk about womanizing anymore, it's all about power and many priests we came across in the last 20 years who will councilwomen who are having trouble in their marriage and wind up trying to bed them. it's got to be voluntary. i think we should have married priests if they choose. whoout up his alien priests he came catholic. i'm sure there are others. i know there will be other
problems. those problems are nothing compared to what we have. third, i think we should have women priests. there is no good reason not to have women priests. [applause] i've discovered in our investigation and elsewhere some of the nuns are the best people we have in our church. [applause] can you imagine a woman sitting in breakfast with a bishop and he says i'm going to send joan to idaho and maybe he will stop this abusing. it wouldn't happen. as i said earlier, we need to have a position in the vatican
with some kind of authority so they have access. think about it. in this day and age to say women , can't be priests. my wife was the president of support our aging religious. they treated nuns like garbage. those are my views, very practical solutions, but the chance of this happening is . -- negligible. if you have a priests that is at all minded that they will never get up to the power base because the people that get up there are the identical people who are there already. they don't want young bishops or priests to rock the boat and that is a fact of the
matter. overs based on my views of 20 years. anne burke: kathleen, do you believe this movement in the church, those who are against pope francis and are more conservative are trying to put blame on homosexual priests? kathleen mcchesney: our report shows otherwise. there are a couple of questions. one has to do with people that have certain agendas either pro- or anti-gay and are they fighting each other over abuse and i think that yes they are.
it's a sad thing that you have or the appearance on both sides people fighting each other about the most important thing which is protecting children. that gets lost by the wayside when they are talking about who's ideology is the most important and if people like pope francis or they don't. none of that matters. if you are not focused on the child. robert bennett: that is the room -- elephant in the room. we recommended further study on the subject of homosexuality. nobody knows precisely but i've heard of statistics that's that probably 30 to 50% or more have homosexual tendencies.
most of the cases involved homosexual conduct. just wish it away. there is a man who has a tendency and one who acts on it. i think it would be terrible if the church got rid of men who simply had on the sexual tendency. who are of ariests homosexual orientation didn't get any training on how to cope with it. they were told like i was told in high school, take a cold shower. you can't do that. i think that is something that requires a lot of attention. token, heterosexual men, you have to be sure that their tendencies and
not act out with women. you have to be very careful. one of the things looks like there may be an effort to sort homosexual church of oriented manic, which i think would not be good for the church. do you believe the pope needs to take more active leadership in the united states? it seems like there is a disconnect between what the lay people have been talking about and what the hierarchy has been talking about. the inactive this to some degree about listening to the people. kathleen mcchesney: one of the problems of being the with being the largest christian organization in the world is that you only have so many
moments in a day. from those of us in the united states to understand organizations, the person in charge isn't the person that is going to get a lot of things done. states, you have to have some decentralization of our. you could handle the issues more effectively. say it will be better if the pope were involved in our issues, i don't think that's the issue. herenswer is something where you have the kind of getership that can actually things done and hold people accountable within the church and within the united states. a number of offenders have been identified, clergy who have abused minors. a number of these people were
for layout is asian. -- the organization. that should be. those cases should be completed very quickly because there is evidence that so many have gone gone to jail. if you have a system you could adjudicate here in the united states more quickly and then save the work of the folks in various industries for the appeal, you could get the process done and get better accountability and you wouldn't have these people who are still lingering in the priesthood. i agree witht: that. we have planned --
so we plan to say. i can't believe there's only one question. robert bennett: somebody is back there. >> don't be shy just because c-span is watching. do you want to stand and ask your question? handwriting that bad? anne burke: i didn't want to say that. i thought it might be a prescription for me. my question relates to the study done in 2002.
bethat a study that should periodically redone. my recollection is the study was done by self-report from the diocese. i wonder if you could contrast that and what was unearthed in pennsylvania. kathleen mcchesney: it was a two-part question. board the national review be reviewed and continually updated. the other what was the issue with the grand jury in pennsylvania and their subpoena subpoena power what was the difference. kathleen, you can probably answer that better. we can all comment on it. kathleen mcchesney: i think i
understood the question different. you talked about the study in 2002 that was commissioned by the bishops. that was separate from the national review board report. in the study in the college of justice, a very reputable institution, surveyed all the dioceses in the country to find out the nature and scope of the problem. your question is should there be a new study in that regard? i don't think there needs to be a new study. there is a process in place by which the research group from georgetown university collects the data every year and puts it in an annual report. what's important to note is a lot of people don't know about and often there's press releases and so forth and numbers have been added every year since 2004
when the report came out. that's a different issue than being transparent and disclosing the names and that is something that this board and my office recommended in 2002. if you are going to be transparent, you need to know who those offenders are. here in the archdiocese in chicago, they were related but it's not universal. it's something that needs to be done. victims can heal and other people who haven't reported will know that they are not alone. not,ey come forward or knowing you are not alone goes so far in helping that person who has been victimized. anne burke: there are a number
of questions and one of them is why the archdiocese of chicago was not on the panel. there was no one other than myself and two other members at the national review board, said this was about the national review board and not about any other in the country. asked the cardinal five or six times personally. he's always welcome. was your question answered? short of a schism, how can lady take over and force a recount restructuring of the church. is it possible. no, i don'ttt:
think it's possible, but if we were able to have a seat at the table we might be able to influence some of the positions . also if they realize their church perhaps those in the vatican would realize that they don't get on with the program they are going to become more and more irrelevant and remote. anne burke: it seems as if the choice is to stay and fight for the church or find another christian church if we say what realistically can we do to
reform the catholic church so we see that the issue is addressed in our lifetime. that is veryesney: similar to the last question. like i said before, using your voice and letting the bishops and cardinals and superiors know how you feel and come forward with concrete suggestions like bob has on insisting on a seat at the table with congregations like congregations for clergy or bishops. if they had counsel who could listen to their issues and provide a perspective, that would be at least a small step towards making fundamental structural changes. robert bennett: didn't you tell
me if i remember correctly that some of the wealthiest contributors to the church are withholding? kathleen mcchesney: i have seen some checks that have been written with nothing in it. with regard to what laypeople can do is what you are doing here. that is attending forums where the discussion can be talked about. about the other evening where he was at georgetown and there were 600 people talking about the issue and what they should do. i was there last monday night with 400 people talking about this issue. that is exactly what we should be doing having a conversation , about the issue and be engaged
in the church and insisting that the parishes and dioceses around the country have these conversations and include the bishop and the cardinal. if you're not talking about it with them then you can't possibly know what's going on. and include the cardinals so they know what you are thinking. ityou are not talking about with them, you cannot possibly know what is going on. i would also like to -- actually, the one thing that i do want to point out to you is everybody is angry. and i think, bob, you said the same thing. kathleen, i know you go around the world and talk to people and have been discussing this for the last 15 years in countries all over the world.
and people want to be catholic. they want to be part of the church. , i canr words to them probably pull, but i will let you do it. >> back in 2002, the spotlight years for those of you have seen the movie and know when that catholic church faced this i said tobegin with, you use your voice, but there is another part of that, and i want to get a -- give a shout out to the media, to the "boston globe" for doing their investigative media and the secular the catholic me. many of you may not read much in -- but there is a lot of information there. and bishops do read that and listen. i'm not going to say 100%
because i wouldn't say that, but many of them pay attention to the ideas brought forth from the lay professionals. one thing i've seen is the fact that many of the bishops i worked with at least have come to the high expertise people bring forth, whether they are attorneys, but more important in the social science areas, psychology, sociology. they listen to what people are thinking and saying. but there have to be more voices and they have to be louder. we have to make certain that the media doesn't let the issue go as it did after 2004 and 2005. many people that saw the "spotlight" movie were not familiar with what happened in 2002. every day a child is not risk
for being abused by someone who is a predator, whether it is at school or in an organization or their own family. so as adults, we have to be vigilant about this. we are responsible for protecting young people. they are not protecting themselves. that's one of the things we themselves. learned, if you remember they were working for insurance companies and they were risk managers. i remember one case we came across. there was a six-year-old little girl that was molested come in the lawyer for the diocese submitted a pleading saying that
she was contributorily negligent . i mean, how crazy -- how crazy is that? and if your focus is protecting funds, avoiding scandal, not the well-being of children, you're never going to solve these problems. >> and that is definitely true, and that is what everybody is saying and the questions are saying, what do you do if you believe that you are a bishop a -- bishop for your partner -- your cardinal is not addressing them? do you think withholding money contributions will have a real impact? >> the trouble with that is -- i mean, we are being pretty tough on the church here today, at least the organized church.
we do a lot of wonderful thing, like catholic charities, and you do not want to withhold funds at the expense of things like catholic charities and things like that. so i am troubled about this idea of just withholding money. i would withhold money in a minute to contribute to a portrait of a cardinal. [laughter] mr. bennett: let him pay for his own portrait. but good works, charitable works. with you,ly agree bob, on the fact that if you withhold money, you may be withholding salaries of educators or people who are doing important ministries. i do not think that is necessarily the answer. but where can you be an activist
is making certain that your -- parishes and dioceses are open about how they spend money. in a lot of parishes aboutmay be an insert money or do you take time to look at it, are you part of the finance council if your parish doesn't have a finance council if the diocese doesn't share information about their finances, do you ever ask why. if not, you should. last call for one more question. mr. bennett: i have a joke i want to tell. >> final remarks, ok. mr. bennett: do you want me to tell it now? >> well, one more question, and then final.
>> i'm just curious about what you were talking about a seat at the table. [indiscernible] to get that person or those people a place -- mr. bennett: there is a lot of catholic power in this room, and we got to convince somehow the vatican to give us a place. we have to organize in the sense of some kind of a national organization of catholics who everythingns and do within our power to influence our bishops to say, look, let's get a layman in the position, not to talk about church stock turn, but so they can be heard, so they have access to the people who have the power. >> that was the last question,
so you are going to have your closing statement, kathleen and bob. mr. bennett: kathleen? first of all, thank you for the opportunity to talk about this important topic once again. please do not let it go by the wayside as it has in years past. -- we fatigue of difficult issues. i totally understand that. but it is just too important, and do look to all the organizations. you are leaders in the community. and i know what has been going on here in chicago, but across organizations, make certain that good procedures are in place to protect children. take certain that if you see something that is untoward them particularly if you see a cleric who is possibly violating some
boundary with a young person or if honorable dog come of that you come forward. do not just sit and say that is another rumor or that is bothering me. come forward. the three people investigate it. -- let the right people investigated. mr. bennett: this has been a very depressing lunch. [laughter] mr. bennis: so i want to cheer you up a little bit. for those of you who have heard this story, i apologize. there is this radiant look young lawyer named joe callings -- radiant young lawyer named joe collins, and he died at 40 come and he goes up to heaven. there's st. peter at the gates, and he is a little upset. why, because i'm so young? st. peter said, god just wants you up here with him. you have been so brilliant and good and go to mass every day,
contribute. god wants you with him. in fact i am under instructions to ask you, is there anything at all we can do for you while you are here? and collins thinks and he says, to tell you the truth, he said, i would love to meet the blessed mother. a to her every week. she is the center of my life. peter says, wow, that is really a tall order, but i will do what i can, and he gets back to collins and he said, well, i can do it. i have gotten the ok, and she is over there where those pink clouds are. an angels clouds are an angels. so he goes over there to see her. and it is an incredible meeting. they talk and she knows all about him.
they talk. and after about half an hour, he says, blessed mother, i do not want to be presumptuous, but you do not look very happy. and she said, well, collins, i understand why you are such a good lawyer. i am a little sad. he said, why? millions and millions of people pray to you every day. you are the mother of jesus christ. what is there to be unhappy about? she says to collins, she says, well, to tell you the truth, i wanted a girl. [laughter] [applause] >> congress is back in session tomorrow for a postelection lame-duck session.
the house will debate legislation registering the interior department to remove the gray wolf from the endangered species list. and the house will swear in two new members who were elected to fill vacant house seats until the end of the approved the senate considers coast guard programs and a nomination for the federal reserve board. you can watch the house here and the senate live on c-span2. c-span, where history unfolds daily. in 1979, c-span was created as a public service i america's cable television companies, and today we continue to bring you unfiltered coverage of congress, the white house, the supreme court, and public policy events in washington, d.c., and around the country. c-span is rocky you by your cable or satellite provider. -- is brought to you by your cable or satellite
provider. talksday, jackie speier about her memoir. r: i was inive speie guyana, just concluding a delegation for leo ryan, and we were ambushed on that airstrip .nd shot punishment ryan was shot 45 times and died on that issue. i was shot five times in the right side of my body and loan jutting out of my right arm, it wound in my leg the size of a god,all, and it was, i am 28th. this is it. >> sunday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span. >> the supreme court recently heard that ca