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Letter to Jeffrey Lena, Esq., Attorney for The Vatican and Pope Benedict


Dear Mr. Lena:

As a Catholic wife, mother and advocate for clergy sex abuse victims, this letter is sent in response to a recent article entitled "Pope not liable for abuse, says Vatican" (http://www.thestar.co.za/index.php?fArticleId=3937067). In the article, you are quoted as follows:

". . . "This lawsuit is trying to say that the bishop in Louisville is an employee of the pope,' Jeffrey Lena, the Vatican's US attorney said in a telephone interview yesterday. "I say that's not true.'"

As a legal secretary for approximately 25 years, I have had the opportunity to work with brilliant and ethical attorneys. From my experience as a legal secretary, wife and mother, I value all of life's lessons and take them with me in every aspect of my continuing life path. When the clergy sex abuse crisis erupted publicly in 2001 - 2002, I considered myself a very loyal Catholic and only divine intervention could assist the individual who dared to debate and/or accuse a priest of my Church of sexually abusing a child or adult.

However, my life path changed drastically once I took the time to seek my own answers and listen to the personal stories of sex abuse victims and their families. Unbelievably, eight years later, I am haunted by public statements from Vatican officials and attorneys like you, representing the Catholic Church and/or non-profit religious institutions.

Question One: How can you possibly create a legal defense in a court of law, eight years after the clergy sex abuse crisis erupted publicly in 2002 that shockingly claims a Bishop is not an employee of the Pope?

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Question Two: If a Bishop is not considered an employee of the Pope/Vatican, then why did California Diocese of Orange Bishop Tod Brown write to the Pope asking him to extend his retirement age from 75 years old to 80 years old? See "5 More Years for Bishop Brown" published by the California Catholic Reporter on May 18, 2010 (http://www.calcatholic.com/news/newsArticle.aspx?id=db1a01f3-3ef0-4f9e-9cea-8a8aa499192a).

The media recently reported that you are the father of a son and a graduate of UC Hastings School of Law. Obviously, you are prepared to represent a legal Goliath in U.S. courts. As a non-attorney, I perceive that while you and others defend the Pope and Vatican in courts of law, with intent to escape monetary responsibility for heinous sex crimes that destroyed the lives of thousands of children, adults, families and employees for decades, the protections and civil rights of children, adults, families and those who protect them as mandated reporters are repeatedly placed at serious risk.

Without going into details, if you would like documentation supporting the fact that the business and employment practices within the Catholic Church, The Vatican, Pope Benedict, Bishops, etc., do not mandate compliance with civil statutes relating to the reporting of sex abuse crimes and protections of Whistleblower employees who report child endangerment, as mandated by law, please advise. I have eight years of letters and documents supporting the statements herein.

As legal counsel to The Vatican, I am respectfully requesting that you seek truths within the core business and employment practices supported by Pope Benedict, The Vatican and Catholic institutions throughout the world. There is absolutely no reason to continue placing precious children in danger on a daily basis, just because attorneys continue to create legal claims in courts of law, with intent to protect financial portfolios. Why would any religious institution risk losing its tax-exempt status? WE ARE OUT OF TIME PROTECT OUR CHILDREN!


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Debby Bodkin

cc: Pope Benedict (via facsimile: 011 39.06.698.85793), Diocese of Orange Bishop Tod Brown (via facsimile: 714 282-3029), U.S. Department of Justice (via e-mail)



As an amateur writer, mother, wife and legal secretary for the past 25 years, my passion for the courage of clergy sex abuse victims, their families and mandated reporters, who made a choice to protect children, before their own career security and (more...)

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I claim the right to speak as a victim, as a young... by Nick Polimeni on Saturday, May 22, 2010 at 12:33:36 AM
Mr. Polimeni: Thank you for speaking out as a youn... by Debby Bodkin on Saturday, May 22, 2010 at 11:18:49 AM