Monthly Archives: June 2010

A priest prosecution case with wrinkles

His diocese paid, lips were sealed, he considers it all behind him, but the homosexual-rape victim wants him off the street, wherever he is.

Eck was drunk when he brought the car back that night, he said, and Ericksen told him that rather than go home and face his parents, he could sleep it off in his spare bedroom.

That night, Eck said, Ericksen raped him.

He is Paul Eck, age 17 when he says the rape happened. The man he says did it is the Rev. Tom Ericksen, then of the Superior Wis. diocese. It happened in 1983.  Eck’s complaint, together with that of his nephew, James Eck, age 8 or 9 when he says Ericksen began touching him sexually, was settled in 1989 for $3 million.

It was the standard handling of an abuse case. But this one has arisen again. The Ecks want Ericksen, long since out of the priesthood and living outside Wisconsin, including in Minnesota — where he worked for 20 years as an AT&T customer service specialist and was a member of AT&T’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender employee association — brought to criminal trial.

“He needs to be taken off the streets because he’s a pedophile,” Paul Eck said of Ericksen. “I guarantee you that there are people before and after me that have been molested. This is not all of a sudden something you do in a short amount of time.”

The present bishop is prohibited from discussing the case. The local prosecutor is not responding to the Ecks’ request to arrest Ericksen, whose move out of the state “stops the clock” on expiration of arrestability, according to Ecks’ lawyer.

However, the Duluth News-Tribune notes that the Wisconsin Supreme Court is considering an appeal by a Jesuit priest — Donald McGuire, of Chicago — who was convicted in 2006 of assaulting two teenagers in the late 1960s.

Different silos, different windows

“This is a very complex job. You’ve got to be able to step out of the traditional silos and look at the business through different windows.”

— Chicago Reader acting publisher Alison Draper explaining why veteran editor Alison True had to go

Ah. Get out of that damn silo and stop looking (or jumping) through that damn window. We’ve got a newspaper to put out!

Who was that masked predator?

Kay Ebeling finds a name missing in the recently released transcript of Los Angeles Cardinal Mahony’s deposition. Who is that sex-offender priest who went after high school seminarians in their beds? Nor is his the only name missing.

When School Choice Means Life or Death

Leo Catholic High on the South Side: a port in the storm.

May the best man win, says Berrios

Manuel Galvan tells us the Berrios for (Cook County) Assessor campaign will not contest independent former Democrat Forrest Claypool’s petitions and will rely instead on vote count in the general election in November.

The campaign’s “extensive review” found 30,000-plus valid signatures (of almost 90,000 submitted, per G.), and 26,000 were needed; so Berrios, who won the early, early (Dem) primary months ago, will not engage in litigation that might go “all the way to the Illinois Supreme Court” and will concede Claypool a place on the ballot — which is more than Obama did for his state senatorial opponent in a long-ago primary when he was fairly new on the scene.

Galvan asks only that Claypool, who enters the race with far less baggage than the grizzled Berrios — traveling light, as it were — “set aside the insults and empty rhetoric and pledge to conduct a spirited, fair and clean campaign,” which is asking a lot.

Chi Trib gives it to us easy

It is to laugh heartily (or cry pitifully) to gander Chi Trib’s front page as presented to home-delivery subscribers, with major big-color-pic-accompanied story about organic foods (“Consumers buying into organic farms“), the gay parade (pic of joyous watchers waving) to go with story later in paper (“A rainbow of issues at pride parade”), HIV testing (“HIV tests of teens still rare“), and “Kagan hearings are set to start,” a “news focus.”

Marshall McLuhan’s telling newspaper publishers,”People don’t actually read newspapers, they get into them every morning like a hot bath” never rang truer. It’s all soft, soft, soft, comfort food for a certain demographic, even the Kagan piece, which is purely a scene-setter.

No news on this front page. God forbid. We wouldn’t want to upset anyone. Not even city workers loafing on the job, as in the Col. McCormick days. Bye-bye newspapering.

color pic of

Justice turned off in Phila.

Terrible story out of Philadelphia, where New Black Panther party members intimidated voters in ’08 and were charged by U.S. prosecutors. Bad enough, but the fix is in at the top of our justice department, where incompetence and corruption are going hand in hand. J. Christian Adams quit the dept. in protest, supplies grim detail in this Wash. Times piece.

Moonbattery: Jan Brewer Isn't Ready to Surrender

Desert area 30 miles from Phoenix: signs say keep out, unsafe because of drug gangs (armies). 80 miles from the border. Gov. Brewer on camera. A stunner. (video)

Men Astutely Trained

This “history of the Jesuits in the American century” is worth spending time with and on. McDonough is cogent and interesting. Rewarding stuff.

For instance, the sociologist John L. Thomas SJ, on p. 439, according to McDonough:

The family [is] the crucial unit of social morality . . .  The church, then, [should] specialize in bolstering the ethical order.

This was Thomas’s view in the 50s and 60s.  His The American Catholic Family was published in 1956 by Prentice-Hall.

This view vied with the vision of socio-political change that eventually overtook and took over Jesuit thinking, with its concentration on “social problems” and emphasis on direct action, usually governmental, to solve them.

A big mistake in my view, having been there and done that as a fire-breathing young Jesuit in the 50s and 60s.  Problem is, this focus on the problems — poverty, racial discrimination, etc. — is essentially defeatist, encouraging as it does the short-term fix to the exclusion of later consequences.

For instance, how has society profited from massive welfare fixes that helped undermine black family structure — paying women to have babies in the absence of resident father, etc.?  Not very much, it seems.

Everyone's a Zionist in this town

Trib full of puffery, but some of it is fun, as this from a far-north ‘burb:

Actor Kevin Costner‘s “Field of Dreams” is under construction at a rural intersection in Zion a foul ball away from a nearby pharmacy where workers are scrambling to finish the minor league baseball field in time for next Friday’s home game.

Play ball.

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