Horror Show Sunday: 16 Years Too Long

ShhhhIt seems that in a lot of cases of Catholic sex abuse, the church knew full well that it had a problem priest on it’s hands, yet not only did nothing to keep the priest from contact with children, often the church actively protects and hides the priest for years on end.  In St. Paul, Minnesota, church leaders engaged in a cover-up of Rev. Donald J. Dummer’s interest in kiddy porn for more than 16 years.

Two employees found a stash of child pornography in the residence of Dummer in 1997 and brought it to the archdiocese.  The employees described it as a VHS tape of young boys, aged 10-12 years old, playing basketball in the nude.  Later, the employees found even more pornography, described as videos of gay sex between older teenage boys.  Not only did the archdiocese do nothing to discipline Dummer, a surprising number of high religious officials were well aware of it, yet never acted on that knowledge.  This list included Vicar General Kevin McDonough, Archbishop Harry Flynn, and the Reverend Joseph Hitpas, Dummer’s immediate superior in the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, the order to which he belonged.  It was even known to the apostolic nuncio in Washington, D.C., Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo, the Vatican’s ambassador to the United States. That’s an awful lot of people who knew that one of their own was a pervert and did absolutely nothing at all about it.

In fact, Dummer’s superior, Reverend Hitpas, even helped him to hide it directly.  In a letter to Archbishop Flynn, Hitpas says he confronted Dummer and said “He claims he has no other tapes. … I pointed out to him that any such material was inappropriate, and that he should check carefully and get rid of anything else that might be in his possession.”

Yes, that’s right, he should get rid of the evidence.

Dummer is now retired and living in Massachusetts.  Investigators have tried to figure out how this mess could have happened, they have interviewed also retired Archbishop Flynn and said that Flynn, “could not remember how he handled clergy sexual abuse cases during his 13-year tenure.”

Sure he can’t.  He’s just covering his ass, he isn’t bothered one bit by what he and his cadre of co-conspirators did.  What else can we expect from the Catholic Church on Horror Show Sunday?


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