Pope Francis Shows Strong Leadership Can Protect Kids From Sexual Abuse
Pope Francis is one of the most revered men on Earth, and he probably doesn’t care what one personal injury lawyer in Winter Park, Florida, thinks about him, but I can’t help but be impressed by how this man has taken on the scourge of child sexual abuse within the Catholic Church. (Disclaimer: I am not Catholic.)
The Associated Press has reported that Pope Francis has forcibly removed Bishop Rogelio Ricardo Livieres Plano from his duties in the diocese of Paraguay. In addition to some doctrinal differences, the Pope took issue with Bishop Livieres’ protection and sanctuary offered to an Argentine priest, the Reverend Carlos Urrutigoity.
Father Urrutigoity had previously been a Priest in the Diocese of Scranton, Pennsylvania, which paid a $400,000.00 sexual misconduct settlement over allegations made against Father Urrutigoity and another priest. Although Father Urrutigooity was never charged with a crime before leaving the United States, one of his former bosses called him “a serious threat to young people.”
As an attorney that represents victims of child sexual abuse here in Florida, I am a big fan of any leader who is willing to step outside of a “comfort zone”, and take active steps to eliminate child abuse and molestation from any youth-centered organization. Pope Francis fortunately seems to have decided that it is time for the Catholic Church to not only stop protecting guilty Priests, but also to begin punishing those in the church who have been protecting the guilty.
If you have any questions about a Florida child sexual abuse case, or how organizations and institutions can be held liable for failing to protect children from abusers and predators, call Winter Park attorneys Kim Cullen and Robert Hemphill at 407-254-4901.