April 14, 2005

The Volino case is more than a lapse in procedures

Democrat and Chronicle

Mark Hare

(April 14, 2005) Three years ago, when the American Catholic bishops, in response to a widening clergy abuse scandal, adopted a policy that was quickly labeled "zero tolerance," many people (myself included) feared it would raise false expectations.

This is not to say that the church should tolerate a little abuse, but that there are problems that do not readily lend themselves to administrative remedy.

Take the case of Father Michael Volino, the Greece priest now facing federal charges of transporting and possessing child pornography on his computer.

Why didn't the Catholic diocese know of his alleged addiction to child porn? If he did download images, and if he did as the FBI says Volino has told agents seek counseling for his interest in child porn, why wasn't something done?

Because zero tolerance doesn't get you inside the head of a person who has never been charged with a sexual crime or been named in a single complaint.

Let's be clear. The diocese made a serious error in Volino's case. Authorities, including the bishop, admitted as much within days of his arrest last month.

Posted by kshaw at April 14, 2005 05:54 AM