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Clergy Sex Abuse Scandals & Modern Day Hate Crimes

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Message Debby Bodkin
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A challenge in today's society, one seldom addressed, is understanding, recognizing and correcting modern day "hate" crimes. Children, victims of clergy sex abuse, families and unsuspecting adults, experience hate crimes in ways still unrecognized.

Hate crimes occur within public, religious, private school, church and employment environments. Most of the time, hate crimes are never addressed with the proper government agencies, with expertise to identify and rid our society of hate, discrimination and retaliation, through the enforcement of hate crime laws and legislation.

The clergy sex abuse scandals erupted 4 years ago and along with the scandals, erupted a modern-day form of hate crimes. Public disclosures have revealed so many failures to protect precious children and vulnerable adults from horrific clergy sex abuse crimes.

There is no doubt that religious, government, law enforcement agencies and families have a responsibility to correct the wrongs committed against children and it will not be an easy task. Unfortunately, our country's leaders still resort to managing corporate, private, religious and government communities, very similar to a "Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation", also known as SLAPP.

Why is our society still focusing on protections from scandals and lawsuits? Intimidating freedoms of speech, press and opinion is a step backwards especially when it relates to the protections of children and the interests of the general public. Civil liberties are being violated daily each time one of our country's guaranteed freedoms are threatened or intimidated by those in positions of power, wealth or authority.

A hate crime is defined as: A criminal act, in whole or in part, because of one or more of the following actual or perceived characteristics of the victim: Disability, Gender, Nationality, Race or Ethnicity, Religion, Sexual Orientation, or association with a person or group of persons with one or more of the preceding actual or perceived characteristics.

Who are the targets of hate crimes? Children, mandated reporters (those who protect children, teachers, priests, nuns, coaches, parents and concerned adults), single parents, sex abuse or crime survivors seeking justice and protections of others, homosexuals, minorities, journalists, attorneys, government leaders and persons who exercise freedoms of religion, opinion, press and speech in public forums.

The sex abuse scandals, lawsuits and monetary damages have forced our society to answer the scandals with moral, legal and financial accountability so why the continued intimidation, expensive public relations campaigns and hiring of lobbyists to defeat legislation that would demand justice in a court of law?

As a Catholic wife and mother, our family has been the target of a modern-day, four year hate crime. This is opinion of course, and the acts have been carefully hidden, with potential intent to silence and punish a family who will never stop supporting clergy sex abuse survivors, their families and mandated reporters who protect children -- we now know what it is liked to be denied dignity, respect and due process.

How can anyone forget what has been public disclosed during the past 4 years? God bless those with the courage to bring personal stories of clergy sex abuse public. Goliath often appears with strategies most likely not new to many survivors of clergy abuse -- but it was new to our family, until we started to listen to personal stories of clergy abuses.

Soon after my husband reported an illegal gun possession on a Catholic high school campus (the principal's son had the gun), he was terminated from 8 years of employment. Goliath was not happy about a mandated reporter's decision to report a gun possession, in the midst of the clergy sex abuse scandals, in Orange County, California.

The last four years of family experiences cannot be explained in one setting, but when two of our children were told they could not finish their senior years at a Catholic high school, 3 days after my husband filed a civil Whistleblower lawsuit, we met Goliath and felt Goliath's power. It was this event that provided insight to the pain and struggles that clergy abuse victims and their families, have been fighting most or all of their lives.

This week, another hate crime appeared, without advance notice. In my opinion, Goliath is very good at dividing and conquering survivors of clergy sex abuses, mandated reporters, priests and nuns of integrity, attorneys representing those seeking justice, courageous journalists and the Davids of the world. As a supporter in the Survivors of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) and founder of, I thought nothing could shock me anymore - wrong again.

We have four chilldren, 23 years old, 2 are almost 21 years old and our youngest daughter Laurel, an 18 year old senior, attending a prominent and affluent high school in Orange County, California. Laurel's senior prom is Saturday at the Queen Mary in Long Beach, California. She asked her friend Nick, a former student at the high school, also from a loving hispanic family in Orange County, to attend the prom as her date.

Nick is a former student of the high school and only left the high school for his senior year, at the school's request. This request was for academic reasons -- not crime, sex or drug-related reasons. Another great quality of the No Child Left Behind Act -- schools want to keep those statistics high for funding purposes.

Two days before the prom, school administrators via voicemail, inform me that Laurel's request to bring Nick to the prom has been denied by the school's administrative team. We were told that the public school "reserves the right to deny attendance at any school event. Request denied". Despite multiple requests by me, the school refused to provide a reason for the denial.

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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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