New stories are emerging that detail how some priests accused of sexual abuse escaped responsibility after years of sexual misconduct, including the sexual abuse of minors. Recently uncovered was the existence of a network of priest-friendly groups that provided those accused of abuse places to hide where they could escape the spotlight and potential criminal charges.
New investigative reporting by the Associated Press revealed the 20-year history of Opus Bono Sacerdotii, a small non-profit group in Michigan that provided assistance to priests and ex-priests accused of sexual misconduct. In addition to transporting priests facing abuse allegations out of state and into “safe” housing, the group provided cash, clothing, and legal help when necessary. During its 20 years of operation, Opus Bono Sacerdotii likely aided thousands of abusive priests seeking to hide. Ironically, “opus bono sacerdotii” is Latin for “the good work of priests.”
While organizations like Opus Bono Sacerdotii try hard to remain under the radar, Michigan’s Attorney General recently exposed the identity of several Opus founders. These men were found to have misled donors as to the true purpose of the organization, and misusing contributions to protect abusive ex-priests.
While Opus Bono Sacerdotii is now defunct, a similar group named the Men of Melchizedek remains active in providing what it calls “non-judgmental support and life-time accompaniment” for priests in need. Registered as an Indiana corporation, Men of Melchizedek is believed to be offering assistance to priests suspected of abuse from all over the country.
For many survivors of clergy sexual abuse, the idea of an ex-priest hiding to escape his past is not surprising. The Catholic Church has an unfortunate history of covering up allegations, often blaming the victims. Superiors, including bishops, archbishops, and cardinals have been implicated in these coverups. Stories of the Church hiding priests facing allegations of sexual abuse and bullying survivors of sexual abuse who come forward with their stories by forcing them to sign non-disclosure agreements have been far too common.
Records indicate powerful Catholic officials have offered support to these types of underground organizations, despite the Church’s public statements to hold every abusive priest accountable for his actions.
While no amount of money can make up for the atrocities of sexual abuse, seeking monetary damages can help survivors and their families pay for the costs of medical and psychiatric treatment, individual and family counseling, prescription medication, and other damages. Survivors can receive emotional distress damages for the lifelong pain inflicted upon them. By working with an experienced Camden clergy abuse lawyer, survivors of abuse can hold accountable all those responsible for the abuse, including Church officials who have covered up or hidden ongoing sexual misconduct.
If you or a loved one is a survivor of clergy abuse, you are not alone. The experienced Camden clergy abuse lawyers at Williams Cedar believe you. Our attorneys work with compassion to help survivors of clergy sexual abuse obtain the compensation they deserve. With offices conveniently located in Philadelphia and Haddonfield, New Jersey, we proudly represent clergy abuse survivors and their families throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania, including Allentown, Scranton, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Greensburg, Johnstown, Eerie, Wilkes-Barre as well as those in Camden, Metuchen, and Trenton, New Jersey. To schedule a confidential consultation with an experienced Camden clergy abuse lawyer, call us today at 215-557-0099 or 856-470-9777 or contact us online.