It's about time.
The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis is finally pushing back (a little) against Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) and "wrong" and "misleading" reporting by correspondent Madeleine Baran, whom we previously cited for a bogus attack on an innocent Catholic priest.
At issue is a recent report by MPR that claimed that the archdiocese had not been completely forthcoming in its release of the names of 39 priests who have been credibly accused of abuse in the past several decades.
MPR's storyline was predictable: The media was once again tirelessly and valiantly fighting the truth out of the evil and secretive diocese.
MPR's Three-card Monte with the facts
In 2003, the archdiocese originally compiled a list of 33 accused priests, but since then, the archdiocese's list of priests with substantiated claims of abuse has grown to 39. But MPR still claims that an additional 28 priests should be listed whom it claims "allegations of child sexual abuse and other sexual improprieties" have been found.
Enter Archdiocese spokesperson Jim Accurso, who retorted in a recent press release:
"This statement is wrong and misleading …
"At least 16 of the 28 clergy members identified by MPR were the subject of false, meritless or unsubstantiated accusations against them …
"[O]ver 10 of the clergy identified by MPR are not from our archdiocese and the allegations against them concern alleged conduct that occurred outside of this archdiocese …
"[And] [a]t least two of the 28 clergy members identified by MPR have never even served as clergy members in our archdiocese. [For example, notorious abuser] James Porter, who never held an assignment in the archdiocese, merely resided as a lay person in the St. Paul area for a period time."
Think about that. Baran and MPR are taking the archdiocese to task for not publicly listing – and therefore utterly destroying the reputations of – some 16 priests who, after extensive investigations, it has been determined have already suffered the injustice of being wrongfully accused of a crime!
It leads one to wonder if MPR itself has a policy of publicly listing its own employees who not only were never convicted of a crime but were even found by its own internal investigators to be innocent of even the reasonable suspicion of the commission of a crime.
And to think our own tax dollars are used to pay the salaries of the likes of Baran and promote her Orwellian worldview in which Catholic priests are not only guilty until proven innocent, but even when they are found to be innocent, they are still deemed guilty.
Those pesky detailsAs a purported example of the incompleteness of the archdiocese's list, Baran points to an abusive ex-priest, Gerald Funcheon, whom she claims should have been on the archdiocese's list back in 2003.
But Baran neglects several critical facts. Funcheon was not even accused of committing abuse inside the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis until September of 2003, and the archdiocese's list of abusive priests to comply with the national John Jay survey report only sought the numbers of credibly accused priests up until the end of 2002.
Baran also makes no mention of the fact that Funcheon was a priest with a religious order (the Crosiers). He served in several different dioceses around the country (including Nebraska, Indiana, Texas, California, and Hawaii), and although he would have served in St.Paul and Minneapolis with the permission of the archdiocese, he remained completely under the supervision of the Crosiers. In addition, the archdiocese played no role at all in the training of Funcheon.
It is a great example of Baran playing loose with the facts in order to advance the agenda of her and MPR.
It's about time
In a way, the Church bears some of the blame for the media's coverage of sex abuse in the Church.
Many in the Church, owing to guilt over the Church's admitted past mistakes, have unfortunately stood by and allowed the media to commit another type of injustice: defaming the innocent and denying due process for the accused.
Kudos to the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and Jim Accurso for finally standing on the side of truth and justice and pushing back against the lynch mob at MPR.