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Created: June 26, 2003
Latest Update: June 26, 2003

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Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church: Study 1

Accusations of Sexual Abuse

Site Copyright: Jeanne Curran and Susan R. Takata and Individual Authors, June 2003.
"Fair use" encouraged.

Thursday, June 26, 2003: I have just had an experience I want to share with you. In the very recent past I added to some of our material on restorative justice. There are some very attractive concepts in restorative justice: that relationships are harmed when injustice occurs, and that the community needs to be set back in harmony. There are also some very unattractive concepts in restorative justice that I, as a defense attorney, am particularly aware of: the possible inattentiveness to deviance from community norms that may not be criminal. Crime is socially defined. That means that it would be easy for a community to cross-over from actual "criminal" behavior to innocent behavior that is merely non-conforming with the community's norms. Then we must consider whether any and all non-conformance needs to be restrained by the community, even if it harms the individual so constrained.

Friday, June 27, 2003: Notes:

  • California Molestation Law Struck Down At p. A 1. Los Angeles Times. June 27, 2003. Backup. Discussion of "rewards child abusers" as opposed to "alleged child abusers and/or convicted child abusers." Assumptions here that convictions are always reflective of "the Truth," when in fact our data shows that juries are often wrong: death penalty and life without parole arguments. Only defense attorneys point out how difficult it is to defend after a twenty-year period.

  • Analyze Supreme Court decision in terms of spurious relationships of, for example, correlation between guilt and conviction. Add in race, class, and ethnicity for that correlation. Use Lawson's "Everyday Statistical Reasoning" for that. Remind us of California Ethics Code: duty of D.A. to seek truth, not conviction.

  • Story of complaint on restorative justice - one of the priests accused of sexual abuse in the past. How do we handle this?

    Discussion of ambiguities in painting:

    • revenge: curling wave in upper left hand corner refected in rectangle of upper right hand corner - something wrong with the universe, since rectangle is where sun would likely be - also darkness of much of painting
    • comic book hero type: can trace hand on woman to him - but Priest is in between them. Our confusion and inability to discern "Truth" with a capital T. Is the Priest an abuser? or is the Priest trying to intervene?
    • the woman: faceless, screaming, shock or fear indicated by hair
    • graphic disply of nudity: social non-conformity, blaming the victim - she's the only one unclothed - But the attractiveness of the nude remains - again confusing the situation
    • whirlpools: evil and unnatural force pulling downward - around her toe, and arund her upper body
    • two sets of arms on woman: conflict, tearing asunder, one set of arms is reversed, thumb in wrong position
    • restraints: lack of intent, control by someone else, torture?
    • two hands apparently clasping one another on right: empathy? female unity? female similarity in situation? one set of hands drooping; other set not
    • arm in lower right hand corner: ambiguous, empathy? support? rescue? acceptance and conformity to evil? despair? loss of hope?

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