"The supreme purpose of the Columbian Squires is character building."
Holy hypocrisy! One of the most powerful lay organizations in the world has finally succumbed to a sex-abuse scandal: The Roman Catholic Church's own Knights of Columbus. Yes, that's right, the KofC, that bastion of money, male bonding and morals has gotten slapped with not one but two sexual abuse lawsuits. And due to the size of the organization, it's likely that more will follow.
NEW HAVEN, CT, December 14, 2010 -- The Miami law firm of Herman, Mermelstein & Horowitz announces the filing of two new child sexual abuse lawsuits against the Knights of Columbus, one of the world's largest organizations for Catholic men... The suits allege that the two boys were sexually abused on multiple occasions by Julian Rivera, the leader of the Columbian Squires [youth group] in Brownsville, Texas. One victim claims that Rivera sexually abused him at gunpoint, and also threatened to kill his family if he did not comply with Rivera's demands.
In addition, one of the victims said he was "shared" by another
Columbian Squires leader. This last exposes a whole new aspect to the
situation: these are not isolated incidents. These suits go beyond the
sexual abuse seemingly endemic in the Catholic Church's priesthood. And
like the Vatican, the K of C has covered up the abuse:
According to the Complaints, Rivera was a leader in the Columbian Squires youth program until very recently, despite a 1986 report to two different Knights of Columbus officials that Rivera sexually abused a member of his Squires group.
A Matter of Size
Considering the span of years that the Church has had to
account for sexual abuse, it is surprising that the Knights of Columbus
has not been indicted earlier. Then again, considering its size and
influence, it becomes clear that the organization's cover-ups must have
been well orchestrated: there are over 5000 Columbian Squire Circles
[chapters] throughout the U.S., Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, the
Philippines and even Cuba.
And the membership of the Knights of Columbus is matched
by the size of its fund-raising pocketbook: while giving over $1.37
billion over the last 10 years, it also has assets of over $14 billion
and $70 billion in life insurance policies. No wonder it could afford
to spend $1.4 million on Prop 8.
Its innate homophobia
is a force to be reckoned with. Indeed, the K of C has flaunted its
homophobia by spending more money to fight same-sex marriage than on its usual charitable donations, including donations to food drives. In other words, "The poor we will always have," but the chance to fight equal rights for gays, well, we may not always have.
Given the amount of money and assets involved, it will
be interesting to see how Pope Benedict reacts to this latest scandal
...and if he had any knowledge of cover-ups. His defense of the Knights
of Columbus will be convoluted at best: will he try to save this piggy bank from being
shattered by public opinion? And if he defends it too much, will he add
to the rancor towards the Vatican concerning its history of cover-ups?
Another portal to hypocrisy has been discovered, while another bastion of rectitude has fallen.