Friday, October 20, 2006

Foley's Predator Pedophile Priest Comes Out of the Pedophile Closet, Blames Victim

Archdiocese to Investigate Foley Priest

The Archdiocese of Miami announced Friday it is opening an investigation into the conduct of a retired priest who has admitted fondling former Congressman Mark Foley as a boy in Florida, calling the alleged abuse "morally reprehensible, canonically criminal and inexcusable."

The archdiocese issued a statement apologizing to Foley "for the hurt he has experienced" and said the investigation could result in Church sanctions against the 69-year-old priest, who is now retired and living on the Mediterranean island of Gozo off Malta. . . In interviews with several media outlets over the past two days, Mercieca said he had intimate contact with Foley when he was assigned to the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Lake Worth, Fla. in the mid-1960s. The 52-year-old Foley, a Florida Republican, who would have been 12 or 13 years old at the time, served as an altar boy at the church.

Mercieca worked as a priest in the Miami area from the mid-1960s until he retired in 2002. . .

"The Archdiocese of Miami is distressed by the revelations disclosed by Father Mercieca regarding former Rep. Mark Foley," the statement said. "The events described are totally contrary to the ministry of a priest." . . . Mercieca told the Washington Post Thursday that he was surprised that his four decades-old interaction with Foley had become linked to the scandal that erupted last month and cost the congressman his job.

A statement issued late Thursday from the diocese of Gozo, a small island dotted with vacation villas and second homes south of Italy, said that its bishop, Mario Grech, contacted the Archdiocese of Miami seeking further information about the case. It said the diocese had only just learned of the case from the international media.

"In light of all this . . . Bishop Grech will instruct the Response Team to investigate these allegations, according to the policies established by the Maltese Ecclesiastical Province with regards to cases of sexual abuse in pastoral activity," the statement said. "Grech will pass all information he receives pertaining to this case to the response team as he has done in similar cases."

"Bishop Grech, conscious of the gravity of pedophilia, reiterates that he will cooperate with those responsible for investigating such cases so that justice is done to the victims, the perpetrators reformed and the common good is safeguarded," it said."
Amen to that. Good for the Archdiocese of Miami. Finally.

But what continues to be disturbing is this predator's obvious intention to blame his own child victim, and his wish to spin his own criminal behavior as being somehow insignificant.

Earlier, we have blogged about experienced sexual predators and their tradition of "grooming" their victims.

That's what Foley's predator did, and did so in a position of superior power and control over his child victim.

Experts: Priest accused of molestation by Foley in denial about his behavior

AP--Experts on sex abuse say the comments of a Roman Catholic priest who acknowledged being naked with Mark Foley of Florida when the former congressman was young fit a pattern of distorted thinking that they've seen over and over among offenders.

The Rev. Anthony Mercieca told The Associated Press in a telephone interview that he was naked with Foley in a sauna, and was quoted in other interviews saying he also fondled him. Mercieca told the AP that the encounters weren't sexual, a distinction abuse experts found disturbing.

"The priest is very focused on the legalities here and I think it's important for the rest of us to see the enormous power differential between these two," said David Finkelhor, director of the Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire.

"There is a tremendous abuse of authority and position involved in these activities whether or not they constitute child molestation."

Foley, 52, resigned from Congress last month after his sexually explicit computer messages to young male pages were released. His lawyer has said that Foley was an alcoholic, gay and had been molested as a youth by a clergyman.

The Archdiocese of Miami confirmed Friday that Mercieca, 69, is the person Foley said abused him as a teen. In phone interviews, the priest, who is retired and lives on the Maltese island of Gozo, has given details about his encounters with Foley four decades ago.

The priest told the Sarasota (Fla.) Herald-Tribune that he and Foley "loved each other like brothers" and that although he taught Foley "some wrong things" related to sex, Mercieca insisted their interactions were innocent.

"It was just fondling," he told WPTV of West Palm Beach, Fla. ['just'?]

From the perspective of people who have worked with abusers and their victims, that thinking is typical of a molester. Offenders, who are sexually immature, commonly view their involvement with their victims as normal and are baffled when others see things differently.

"This is the same type of rationalization that I've heard time and time again from priests who have been grooming or setting a young boy up for molestation," said the Rev. Thomas Doyle, a canon lawyer turned victim advocate.

The Herald-Tribune reported that Mercieca said he could not clearly remember one encounter "that might have gone too far" because he had been taking tranquilizers and drinking at the time.

"It's common that offenders will block out major pieces of the events. I personally believe that it's also part of the denial process, where they just don't, frankly, want to remember," said the Rev. Stephen J. Rossetti, president of Saint Luke Institute, which provides psychological counseling to Catholic priests who suffer from a variety of troubles, including sexual attraction to children. "Those are typical kinds of statements of offenders who are not in recovery."

Abusers assume that because a young person seems to be enthusiastic around them, that any boundary crossing or sexual activity is OK, Finkelhor said. And if no penetration occurs, molesters convince themselves that the interaction does not hurt the youth, he said.

Mercieca's "basic approach is, 'You're trying to take something good and trying to turn it into something evil,'" said Peter Isely, a clinical social worker who counsels abuse victims and a leader of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

"He literally describes this 12- or 13-year old child as if they're equals in age and in personality and characteristic, as if there's absolutely no power differential," Isely said.

"This is what makes these offenders so dangerous."

States have different legal definitions of what constitutes child molestation, but many consider inappropriate touching a criminal offense. Mike Edmondson, a spokesman for the state attorney's office in West Palm Beach, Fla., said law enforcement action is over in Mercieca's case unless other alleged victims come forward, because Foley says he doesn't want to prosecute.

From a clinical perspective, Mercieca's description of his actions indicates abuse occurred, Rossetti said.

"The things he's talking about are very sexually charged and they are sexual abuse," Rossetti said. "For an adult male to be with a young male naked in a bathtub or a shower would clearly be a major boundary violation in most cases - and also traumatic."
Adult males showering with naked boys? Sounds so oddly familiar.

Oh my. Can anyone say -- 'James Dobson'?

WaPo story here and here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This story is going to be sent in every possible direction, to keep the masses as confused as possible until after the elections.