Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The Hireling Report #27

Link to Original

A Critique of the Franklin Report*

*- see link above for Franklin Report and other relevant material

On February 25, 2004, Bishop William E. Franklin issued a report on the Davenport crisis, and his "transparency and openness" were hailed as a positive development. But a close analysis reveals many apparent errors and omissions in the bishop's account. What do these problems say about the diocese's management of the abusers in its midst? And in light of the questions we raise, how is the diocese likely to approach the rigors of bankruptcy and the jury trials that will surely come?

We have checked the Franklin report against other sources of information about the diocese, especially its own documents and the standard work on the subject, the Official Catholic Directory. We have found many surprising discrepancies. Instead of explaining these inconsistencies, we have tried to present them clearly for your evaluation in the pages that follow. Below we reproduce a full text of the Franklin report, with omissions added in red for your review. We have also supplied commentary in red when it appears that the Franklin report is in error. The problems fall into five groups (you may click on the highlighted title to go to the relevant section of the Franklin report):

John Jay Issues - Like many other "diocesan John Jay reports," the Franklin report names only some of the accused priests in the diocese, and its statistics on priests and abuse costs are limited. We provide some other reports for comparison.
• Limits of the Investigation - The Franklin report explains that "it is impossible to confirm or refute many of the allegations due to the death of clergy and the unavailability of witnesses." But it does not explain that the diocese's own policies have contributed to this result. We offer a summary.
• List of Allegations - The Franklin report withholds the names of some accused priests (even some whose names have been made public) and it compounds the problem of unnamed priests by giving partial information about the accused, thereby causing suspicion regarding priests who are innocent.
• Action Regarding Certain Priests - The Franklin report gives accounts of the five priests whom the diocese has asked the Pope to laicize. These accounts unfortunately misquote diocesan documents and leave out pertinent information. Important accused priests like Rev. Theodore Anthony Geerts are not discussed in this section. Yet Geerts is alleged to have had many victims, and there are many mysteries about the diocese's management of his case.
• Assignments - The Franklin report gives assignment records for the five accused priests whom it has asked the Pope to laicize. These records are inaccurate in surprising and possibly significant ways, especially as regards the priests' assignments in other dioceses and their recent histories. We note the problems, and we also provide detailed assignment records of our own for all the accused priests whose names are public, not just the five who are to be laicized.


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