The Dark Road Ahead (Part Five)

For Church employees:  Frozen pay and reporting wrong-doing

Part Five of a Five Part Series

Part One here.

Full interview here.

By Beverly Stevens, REGINA Editor

Image by John La Maestra

She’s spent a career getting up close and personal with predators and their victims.

‘Cathy’* was a Special Deputy to an agency investigating narcotic trafficking for ten years. An RN with a master’s in psychology, she now works as a consultant to US law enforcement agencies, interviewing subjects as well as victims. She also coaches law enforcement working on undercover assignments, especially those that involve human trafficking.

For Catholics wondering what is going on behind the scenes with dioceses responding to law enforcement investigating the Catholic Church in 15 US states and at the Federal level, Cathy’s insights are quite timely.

*Not her real name. REGINA’s interviewee asked to remain anonymous in order to protect law enforcement agents working in the field.

In this last in our five -part series, Cathy discusses what Catholic employees and parishioners need to be aware of: 1) What a federal crackdown will mean for them financially; 2) What addiction to sex drugs looks like physically and in terms of behavior and 3) What they should do to report wrongdoing – and the risks they take in choosing not to do so to law enforcement.

REGINA: If and when law enforcement succeeds in establishing a credible pattern of criminality within the US Church, is it possible that all Church assets would be frozen?

CATHY: It’s not only possible, it is probable that much if not all of the Church’s financial assets within at least the US would be frozen. It’s also possible that the Church’s physical assets could be seized. 

REGINA: What would this mean for Church employees?

CATHY: Unfortunately for the employees of the Church having the Church’s assets frozen would mean that they would not be able to be paid, their benefits would not be able to be paid for. For the average Catholic this would also mean that their parish’s bills could not be paid.

REGINA: What telltale physical signs should we look for in people using Cocaine, Methamphetamine, opioids, Ecstasy, Flunetrazepam, Rohypnal, Temazepam or GHB?

CATHY: Someone losing a good amount of weight in a short period of time, or changes in their demeanor. That is, someone who is always friendly and outgoing might become short with others and seem more withdrawn.

Also the development of acne in someone who has always had clear skin, and/or discolorations of teeth– either a severe yellowing or even a grayish brown. Appetite loss when there’s no known reason for this to happen.

Some people using just about any of these drugs might become easily agitated for absolutely no reason. You might see odd behaviors, such as a sudden obsession with something, such as insects, especially human parasites. Someone always touching their nose or mouth.

People on cocaine will generally develop cold-like symptoms. Some people on meth not only develop the sores that look like severe acne and dental problems, they frequently will develop an nearly insatiable thirst.

Opioid abusers can lose weight, become extremely unstable in attitude, frequently lashing out at others for no reason. They also can cycle from being very tired to being very energetic in short amounts of time. 

REGINA: Any behaviors that should make us suspicious?

CATHY: I look for people who start having personality changes, such as mood swings, a kind of Jekel and Hyde persona.

REGINA: And in a priest?

CATHY: Things I would be looking for if I was concerned my priest was involved in abuse is the same person or type of person being around the parish far more frequently that they should be.

It might be the same teenage boy who isn’t a member of the parish and who isn’t involved in a parish sponsored activity, or working in some way for the parish. This would also be applicable to a young man who is a parish member.

Many abusers have a specific type of person they seek out, this might not just be an age range. There’s probably a problem if someone notices a lot of young men who are blue eyed with blonde hair, or young men who are six foot tall or taller, really muscular, with brown hair.

REGINA: Wow, didn’t know that.

CATHY: Another thing that should be watched for is unidentified persons showing up in large numbers, appearing one at a time and staying only for a few minutes.

Often, too, people may find that they are unable to get in touch with their priest when they would normally expect to, such as emergencies in evenings, over night etc.

REGINA: If employees of dioceses or other Catholic organizations suspect or know of wrongdoing, what should they do?

CATHY: If an employee is aware of or suspects that any member of the clergy or any other employee is involved in criminal activity that information should be given to the FBI as soon as possible.

REGINA: Really? Isn’t that a bit extreme?

CATHY: It’s important that everyone understand that the Catholic Church is now being investigated as a criminal organization on the federal level. This includes all entities within the Catholic Church, not just the dioceses. It’s the goal of law enforcement to bring an end to all of the criminal activity within the Church on every level.

REGINA: What if what they see is not criminal per se? 

CATHY: It’s important for suspicious activity to be reported to law enforcement because most offenders are pretty good at concealing their activities.

It’s impossible for the majority of people to know what information law enforcement already has and even if law enforcement isn’t already aware of there being suspicious activity at a given location the information that one person has just might be the piece of information needed to completely connect a large part of this activity and allow the government to bring RICO charges, and be able to effect the end of a lot of the illegal activity within the Church.

REGINA: So you’re saying that people should leave the decision as to what is or is not illegal to the FBI professionals?

CATHY: Exactly. It’s also important that individuals not try to confront someone who is involved in criminal activities, because this can be very dangerous. Individuals need to be safe — turn over information they have and allow law enforcement to determine if there is or isn’t anything criminal going on and not try to make that determination on their own.

REGINA: Is it true that if they do not report wrongdoing, employees can be charged as accessories to crimes?

CATHY: If an employee is aware of a crime being committed, then yes, even if they are not a part of the crime, there is a possibility of their being charged as an accessory. If they have taken part in a crime, even if they aren’t truly aware that the activity is or leads to a crime, they could possibly be charged.

REGINA: Very scary for employees.

CATHY: That said, law enforcement in much more interested in finding and charging those who are active criminals. This is another reason why it is vital for anyone out there who knows anything related to these crimes contact the FBI office that is closest to them.

REGINA: How can people report wrong-doing?

CATHY: There is an FBI tip line, though the primary drawback to contacting this tip line is that the information you call with might take weeks to reach the correct investigator or might never reach them at all. An example of this is that the Parkland School shooter was reported to this line several times prior to the shooting in February. (Editor’s Note: The FBI also has field offices in major cities, which can be found HERE)

REGINA: If people know of priests accused of sexual abuse being re-assigned to parishes, what should they do? How about if they are re-assigned outside the USA?

CATHY: If anyone has information on a priest who is an abuser being re-assigned to another parish, different diocese or outside of the US it is extremely important that they report this information immediately.

Abusers simply don’t stop abusing once they start until they are either physically unable to abuse any longer and this generally means that they are arrested and imprisoned. 

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