As the heartbreaking child sex abuse scandal continues to unfold across the Catholic Church, we are learning of the many clergy who have been laicized or defrocked following credible allegations of sexual misconduct. But a important question remains unanswered … where are they now? In other words, once these individuals have been removed from ministry, who keeps track of them?
The simple fact is that many of these former clergy are flying under the radar
Unfortunately, many disgraced religious avoid arrest and criminal conviction because the statute of limitations has expired on their despicable actions. As a result, these predators do not have to register as sex offenders, meaning there are no limitations on where they can live or work, and no restrictions on their access to children.
Protecting our children and communities is of the highest priority. To that end, Catholic Church leaders must, first, establish a system for monitoring clergy removed after credible allegations of sexual misconduct and, second, establish a national policy requiring that bishops alert appropriate authorities in the communities where those laicized individuals currently reside.
Ideally, the blog posts here on this page will serve to stimulate awareness, and a move toward a comprehensive system for keeping track of these fallen men and women, and reporting their locations to local authorities. In addition, the book Vanishing Predators: Disgraced Catholic Clergy Flying Under the Radar, describes the anguish experienced by one Catholic family, and the byzantine process a victim must endure in the search for justice. The author, Dan Carlson, outlines several recommendations for limiting the potential risk these laicized former clergy pose in our communities, along with thoughts on the continuing child sex abuse scandal in the Catholic Church.
Initially released in October, 2018, the second edition of this book is now available in both Paperback and Kindle versions on Amazon.