Priests To Be Equipped With "Off Duty" Lights On Collars

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Sexual abuse is no laughing matter. It's serious and it's tragic. Yet... of course there's a yet-- the legal defense of an accused offender can be somewhat laughable simply because the crime itself is inexcusable.

As an attorney, you're often charged with defending the indefensible, because the laws of this land provide that all defendants deserve the right to capable defensive representatives. (the Sixth Amendment & the 1966 Miranda v. Arizona case).  And counsel is only limited by their imaginations, at least if the lawyers for the Diocese of Trenton, New Jersey are to be taken seriously.

They attempted to get a sex abuse case dropped against the church because, as they claim, they should not be held liable for sexual abuse allegedly committed by a priest because he wasn’t officially “on duty” when he molested a teenage boy.

Personally, I wasn't aware that being a man of the cloth, working for God, was a part time job. Evidently, these holy men are officially on the job only when their "on duty" light is illuminated. From The Raw Story:

Lawyers claim the Diocese of Trenton, New Jersey, should not be held liable for sexual abuse allegedly committed by a priest because he wasn’t officially “on duty” when he molested a teenage boy.

Chris Naples claimed Rev. Terence McAlinden, who once headed the diocese’s youth group, sexually abused him during church-sponsored trips to Delaware in the 1980s.

Just as an aside, that means the the good Reverend escorted a minor across state lines for the purposes of having sex with him. Ever hear of the Mann Act a felony to engage in interstate or foreign commerce transport of "any woman or girl for the purpose of prostitution or debauchery, or for any other immoral purpose?" I guess Chris Naples being an underage boy and not a girl meant that law didn't apply here. Or maybe it's because no money changed hands here, huh?

But diocese lawyers told the Delaware Supreme Court that [Rev. Terence] McAlinden was not officially on duty when the abuse took place.

“You can determine a priest is not on duty when he is molesting a child, for example,” the attorney argued. “A priest abusing a child is absolutely contrary to the pursuit of his master’s business, to the work of a diocese.”

And guess what? This defense seems to have worked.

Delaware courts ruled Naples did not have jurisdiction to sue the diocese in that state because he couldn’t prove the trips were church sanctioned, but he did win a $3 million judgment in that state against McAlinden.

Ask yourself this: If these trips weren't church sanctioned, what was Rev. McAlinden doing  as a chaperon on them?

The argument here indicates that if a priest does something wrong, even if it's on a church sponsored trip, the church is not responsible.

Delaware has now coined the phrase, "A priest ain't on the clock if he's playing with an little boy's c***."

During that time, because he's doing something wrong, he's not a priest or part of the diocese. He's just an average Joe. Ergo, the church isn't responsible. So says the Delaware Supreme Court.

This seems a bit specious to me.

priests collar

Is it time for Pope Francis to mandate new collars for Catholic priests? The new one's must come equipped with more than just a white block in the front. They need to  have "good bookend" lights on them, one green and one red, indicating when they're on duty and when their off. Though I thought that when you took your vows to become a priest, you were tied to God on a full-time basis, but I guess I was mistaken.

Once the warning lights are installed, we'll all know who we can rely upon in time of spiritual need.

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  • David G

    You got that right, SeeGell. This post does show the lack of any sort of common sense -- a problem so often in our justice system.

  • SeeGell

    Holy Orders is a sacrament, just like marriage is a sacrament. We are always married. We cannot pick and choose when we are not married. Just because we might be apart doesn't mean I would behave any different than when we were together because I took a VOW. I can't choose to be unmarried when away from my spouse. I can sin against my marriage but I'm not UNMARRIED. It's just against logic. A priest is always a priest due to the nature of his vow. This is theological. However, this is civil law and usually has very little to do with logic. It's all semantics.