February 11, 2003
[Rockville Centre is the Catholic diocese just east of Brooklyn and Queens, composed of Nassau and Suffolk Counties.]
A grand jury’s assertion that the Diocese of Rockville Centre secretly battled to protect priests while pretending to extend a pastoral hand to sexual abuse victims goes beyond anything seen since the scandal in the Roman Catholic Church erupted a year ago, victims of abuse and their advocates said yesterday. […]You didn’t hear it. You didn’t see it. You won’t say nothing to no one, ever in your life. You didn’t hear it. How absurd it all seems without any proof.
While masquerading as sympathetic listeners, the officials were actually doing everything they could to fend off dozens of victims, keep their charges quiet and keep abusive priests in the ministry, the grand jury said in the report, which was released on Monday.
“I have not frankly seen a team that is so sinister and dedicated to the purpose like this,” said one lawyer, Jeffrey Anderson, who added that he had pressed cases in more than half of the nation’s dioceses. […]
In one instance, the official told a parish employee who reported suspicious behavior that the priest would be sent for treatment, the report said. What about the boy, the employee asked. The grand jury report said the official replied: “It’s not my responsibility to worry about the boy. My job is to protect the bishop and the church.” […]
While his name never appears, Msgr. Alan J. Placa’s shadow hovers throughout the grand jury report.
Monsignor Placa was the architect of the diocese’s legal strategy, a national expert in the field and the crucial member of the intervention team. Several months after the panel was ended in April, he was suspended from the ministry after being accused of abusing children. Monsignor Placa is a close friend of Rudolph W. Giuliani, the former mayor, and works for Mr. Giuliani’s consulting business.
The grand jury report does not mention names. But it often refers to a priest who is a lawyer as dealing with victims. The description fits Monsignor Placa, and lawyers for victims have said he is the author of confidential legal memorandums quoted by the grand jury.
Monsignor Placa, who has defended his work on the panel and denied misconduct, did not respond to a request for an interview yesterday.
And Rudolph Giuliani is a national hero. You didn’t hear it. What about the boy? [11:37 PM]