As San Franciso D.A., Kamala Harris’s Office Stopped Cooperating With Victims Of Catholic Church Child Sexual Abuse

 

“I think the whole cloak of secrecy with the Catholic Church needs to be exposed.”

[Harris’s presidential campaign did not respond to multiple requests for comment from The Intercept.]

By Lee Fang
The Intercept (6/9/19)

KAMALA HARRIS, SURROUNDED by thousands of cheering supporters, kicked off her presidential campaign in Oakland earlier this year, declaring that she has always fought “on behalf of survivors of sexual assault, a fight not just against predators but a fight against silence and stigma.”

Fighting on behalf of victims of sexual abuse, particularly children, has been central to Harris’s political identity for the better part of three decades. Harris specialized in prosecuting sex crimes and child exploitation as a young prosecutor just out of law school. She later touted her record on child sexual abuse cases and prosecuting pedophiles intelevision advertisementssplashy profiles, and on the trail as she campaigned for public office.

But when it came to taking on the Catholic Church, survivors of clergy sexual abuse say that Harris turned a blind eye, refusing to take action against clergy members accused of sexually abusing children when it meant confronting one of the city’s most powerful political institutions.

The newspaper revealed that shortly after being elected, Harris had worked with church officials and other prosecutors to conceal the clergy records.

When Harris became San Francisco district attorney in 2004, she took over an office that had been working closely with survivors of sexual abuse to pursue cases against the Catholic Church. The office and the survivors were in the middle of a legal battle to hold predatory priests accountable, and Harris inherited a collection of personnel files involving allegations of sexual abuse by priests and employees of the San Francisco Archdiocese, which oversees church operations in San Francisco, and Marin and San Mateo counties.

The files had been compiled by investigators working under the direction of Terence Hallinan, the radical district attorney who Harris ousted in a contentious election campaign. Hallinan’s team had prosecuted cases of abuse that had occurred decades earlier and had gathered evidence as part of a probe into widespread clergy sexual misconduct.

Just six months before Harris took office, a U.S. Supreme Court decision overturned a California law that had retroactively eliminated the statute of limitations for criminal prosecution of child molestation cases. That shifted the focus to holding predators among the clergy accountable through civil cases and through a broader effort to bring attention to predators who had been shielded by the church.

Hallinan believed that the clergy abuse files were a matter of public record; Harris refused to release them to the public. …

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(Commoner Call cartoon by Mark L. Taylor, 2019. Open source and free for non-derivative use with link to www.thecommonercall.org )

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Pope Francis Targeted By Brutal Coalition Of Hypocritical Homophobic Acting-Out Clergy & Right-Wing Fascists Like Steve Bannon

[Editor’s Note: The interview includes information on former La Crosse diocese Archbishop Raymond Burke. — Mark L. Taylor]

The Real News Network (6/2/19)

Former priest Matthew Fox discusses the book In the Closet of the Vatican, which depicts a “ring of lust” at the highest levels of the Church, and the campaign to hypocritically “weaponize” sexuality and bring down Pope Francis – on Reality Asserts Itself with Paul Jay.

Link to 24-Minute Video

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Catholic Church Spent Millions Fighting Laws That Help Sexual Abuse Victims: Report

A new study says that the church poured at least $10.6 million into lobbying efforts in eight Northeastern states.

By HuffPost (6/7/19)

The Catholic Church has spent at least $10.6 million lobbying against legislation that gives sexual abuse victims more time to seek justice in courts ― and that’s in the Northeast alone, according to a new report.

Church funds have gone toward attempts to oppose statute-of-limitations reform in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island between 2011 and 2018, the report released by four law firms on Tuesday suggested.

The law firms ― Williams Cedar, Seeger Weiss, Abraham Watkins, and Simpson Tuegel ― have collectively represented more than 300 survivors of clerical sexual abuse across the country. They obtained the data about the church’s lobbying efforts from public filings.

Gerald Williams, a partner at Williams Cedar, said the church’s lobbying contradict its promises to prioritize victims and take accountability for clerical sexual abuse.

“We’ve heard a lot about the church’s desire to be accountable and turn over a new leaf,” Williams told CBS. “But when we turn to the form where we can most help people and where we can get the most justice — the courts of justice — the church has been there blocking their efforts.”

Of the eight states studied, the largest amount of lobbying money ― $5.3 million ― appears to have been spent in Pennsylvania. …

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