Monday, January 05, 2009

You have to answer for Shea, Carlo. You fingered Reilly and McBride for the Barzini people.

Frequent readers of this blog will note that life is a series of constantly lowered mean will note that we have admitted on several occasions spending our formative years in the benevolent--if somewhat inebriated--care of the Christian Brothers and, in a supporting role as the humorous if somewhat dimwitted sidekick, the Sisters of The Perpetual Ruler Smack which we feel makes us uniquely qualified to comment on this. And our comment is Meh. About time.

Hey, the outfit is headquartered in Italy. Hello? Is any of this getting through?

A New London lawyer has brought what is believed to be the first racketeering case against the Catholic Church in Connecticut, alleging that the Norwich Diocese engaged in a conspiracy to cover up sexual abuse of children by priests. The lawsuit says the Norwich Diocese, its former bishop, Daniel (Danny the Boot) Reilly, and its current vicar general, the Rev. Thomas (Tommy Bull) McBride, should be held accountable under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act — more commonly known as RICO — for conspiring to cover up the criminal conduct of abusive priests.

"Dis is all bogus," Reverend McBride told reporters. "It's harassment 'cause I'm a catlic, and the prosecutor, he got it in for us." When asked to speak specifically about the charges bishop Reilly responded, "I got nuttin to say to youse. Talk to my lawyer."

The complaint was brought by a Connecticut woman, identified only as "Jane Doe," because she is in the Federal Witness Protection Program. Doe alleges that she was molested by the Rev. Thomas W. (Socks) Shea, who was found strangled with rosary beads in his confessional in 1976.

According to published reports and the current lawsuit, Shea was transferred numerous times from the time of the first complaints, in the 1950s, until he was placed on leave by Reilly in 1983. Reilly, who retired as bishop of the Worcester, Mass., diocese in 2004, was bishop of the Norwich Diocese from 1975 to 1994. "He, what can I tell you?" Reilly said. "Socks, he liked the girls. I don't see what the big deal is about. He ain't no fag or anything. You wanna see some fags, check out those Episcopalians. That whole church is a little light in the wrist if you know what I mean."

In addition to citing the details of Shea's history, the lawsuit gives examples of five other cases involving priests who have been the subject of abuse accusations, including the Revs. Bruno (The Bug) Primavera, Robert (Big Tuna) Marcantonio, Peter (Petey Boxcars) Inzerillo, Richard (Richie the Boot) Buongirno and Bernard(The Barber) Bissonnette. In all of the cases cited, according to the lawsuit, the priests were transferred to new parishes after sexual abuse complaints were made against them, at which point they abused again. "Hey, my guys, they work hard," Reilly said. "Sometimes they like to blow off a little steam, you know? Where's the harm in that?"

Under RICO, a person who is a member of a criminal organization, or an "enterprise," that has committed any two of 35 crimes within a 10-year period can be charged with racketeering. Those found guilty of racketeering can be fined as much as $25,000 and/or sentenced to 20 years in prison per racketeering count. "Now, we're not saying the whole catholic church is a criminal enterprise," said attorney Robert Reardon, who is representing Jane Doe. "We only have evidence for the part here in Connecticut."

The lawsuit accuses the defendants of "intentionally, recklessly and/or negligently" concealing the criminal conduct of certain priests, failing to report criminal conduct, obstructing justice, evading criminal investigation, prosecution and liability, bribing victims to keep criminal conduct secret and engaging in mail and/or wire fraud, among other things. "Hey come on, we're priests over here," Reilly said. "Next you'll be accusing us of running a gambling house or something."

Michael (Mikey Scars) Strammiello, a spokesman for the Norwich Diocese, issued a written response a request for commenta. "We cannot comment on active litigation and risk jeopardizing the proceedings," Strammiello wrote. "So Fugedaboudit."

When contacted about the suit by bishop Reilly, pope Paul responded, "I understand. You found paradise in America. You had a good trade, made a good living, the police protected you and there were courts of law and you didn't need a friend like me. But, now you come to me and you say "Your Holiness, give me justice." But you don't ask with respect. You don't offer friendship. You don't even think to call me The Mighty Pontiffinator."

Hmm..."Jane Doe" huh? Wonder how you say sleeps with the fishes in Latin.

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