New York bishop claims young boys are ‘culpable for their own actions’
A New York Catholic bishop has claimed that pedophile priests shouldn’t be held responsible if they rape children aged 7 and over as he believes that young boys are “culpable” for their own actions.
Bishop Robert Cunningham of the diocese of Syracuse, NY stated that priests have been wrongly accused of sexual abuse against young boys for centuries saying that “at 7-years-old, children know what they’re doing, so it isn’t rape.”
Bishop Cunningham made the shocking statements in his testimony, that was recently released, during a deposition in a federal lawsuit for mass child abuse by pedophile priests.
Charles Bailey, a survivor of a priest’s abuse, asked then-Bishop James Moynihan whether the church held children victims partly responsible for sexual abuse by priests.
“(Bishop) Moynihan said that right to my face – ‘The age of reason is 7, so if you’re at least 7 you’re culpable for your actions.’ That kind of floored me,” said Bailey.
Obviously, the sentiment isn’t something one Bishop believes, but a broader excuse used to cover the guilt of sexual predators.
The “age of reason” may be seven years old, but that in no way makes it the “age it’s the kid’s fault he was raped.”
According to church doctrine, seven is the age a child should understand the difference between right and wrong.
It’s also the age a child is eligible for communion.
A spokesman for the diocese has been trying to defend the bishop, saying that his statements in a deposition don’t mean he believes children are responsible for being raped and that it was “unfair to use the deposition to characterize his position otherwise.”
“Unfair” may not quite cut it where this man is concerned.
When pressed on the issue, he said it wasn’t his place to know how much guilt was on the victim’s hands.
The simple answer, “none,” became another distorted version of reality that somehow makes it at least partially a child’s fault when a priest abuses him.
“Well, I mean, without knowing the circumstances completely, did the boy encourage, go along with (it) in any way?” Cunningham asked.
The lawyer asked Cunningham if he could imagine any circumstance in which a 14 or 15-year-old boy could be held responsible in the eyes of the church when a priest asks him to engage in sex.
“Obviously, what the priest did was wrong,” Cunningham said.
“You’re asking me if the young man had any culpability, and I can’t judge that.”
Actually, you can judge that. Anyone can judge that.
What happened is priests used their influence and position as “messengers of God” to force children to comply with their perverted sexual desires.
At the very least they were forced to make adult decisions they didn’t have the capacity to make.
This bishop and all the priests he defended with this mindless argument betrayed the trust of the parishioners and especially the children of the Diocese of Syracuse.
Charles Bailey has circulated a petition he intends to present to Pope Francis in Philadelphia during his visit to remove Bishop Cunningham as the head of the church there.