Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Another Scandal?

CBS St. Louis reports that Archbishop Carlson has been accused of "tampering with evidence" in a civil suit related to a criminal case.  The criminal case involves Fr. Joseph Jiang, who has been charged with endangering the welfare of a minor by means of fondling a teen-aged girl - after the girl's family had given him long and intimate access as a "friend of the family" who would sometimes sleep over.

Here in St. Louis there are many supporters of Fr. Jiang, who is a young orthodox priest and who served at the Cathedral Basilica.  Note, for example, the vehemence of the comments at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch website.

The Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis at Midnight Mass, Christmas 2012

Of course no one knows if Fr. Jiang is indeed guilty.  But orthodoxy does not equal innocence, as anyone familiar with Fr. Maciel or Bishop Finn knows.

My only observation here is that what Archbishop Carlson is accused of  is almost exactly what Kansas City Bishop Finn did, when he saw to it that evidence was destroyed in a similar case a while back.  Bishop Finn saw to it that a computer with child pornography on it was destroyed, so as to protect one of his priests.  And now Archbishop Carlson is alleged to have attempted to take possession of a $20,000 check Fr. Jiang wrote to the parents of the alleged victim; a check Fr. Jiang wrote to persuade the parents not to go to the police with the criminal facts that the parents say Jiang admitted to - both to them and to Carlson.

Instead of handing over the check to Carlson, the family gave the check as evidence to police. Jiang was then charged with sexual misconduct and witness tampering.

This just sounds way too much like history repeating itself - history in any number of cases like this within the Church - except in this case the parents were smart enough not to give in - if what they say is true.

Of course it is prudent and charitable to reserve judgment - but this whole thing is, I'm sorry to say, plausible because of patterns bishops and priests have established in the past.

Let us pray for all involved.

Justice for the victim if Fr. Jiang is guilty.

Exoneration for the accused if he is not.


ADDENDUM:  I have a prediction.  The trial will never happen.  There will be a plea bargain.  That may be one of the things the civil suit is trying to force, and I suspect it will.

A key to all of this is that Fr. Jiang was Abp. Carlson's favorite.  They were living together.  The archbishop would have been particularly motivated to protect him.  This may be why there's been no plea bargain yet - though if things promise to get messy for the archdiocese, I think there will be.  The archbishop can't afford to go to the wall for his favorite if he himself gets somehow implicated.

Again, these are allegations only - but the more that comes out, the more this seems like fact and not fiction.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As if this allegation wasn't upsetting enough, it's starting to sound like Archbishop Carlson has made things much worse.