Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for November 23rd, 2020

Buffalo Diocese Accused of Yearslong Cover-Up of Sexual Abuse

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See the previous post: when you have a strongly hierarchical structure that emphasizes respect for authority and in-group loyalty (cf. police, the church, the military), you tend to get an authoritarian organization that becomes corrupted via power, with overt determination to hide misconduct and wrong-doing.

Liam Stack reports in the NY Times:

The New York attorney general, Letitia James, on Monday accused the Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo and three bishops connected to it of engaging in a yearslong cover-up of sexual abuse by priests in violation of church policy and state law.

The lawsuit is the first state legal action against the Catholic Church in New York since a new wave of abuse investigations began in 2018, and it is the culmination of just one of eight inquiries, one for each Catholic diocese in the state. The other seven inquiries are ongoing and could yield further lawsuits.

The lawsuit represents what prosecutors believe is a novel legal strategy: The state will attempt to use civil laws, in particular those governing religious charities and their fiduciaries, to sue a Catholic diocese for failing to follow church policies enacted in 2002, after a series of investigative reports by The Boston Globe thrust the sex abuse scandal into public view.

It also may also raise questions about religious liberty: In addition to restitution and changes in the way the diocese handles sexual abuse claims, the lawsuit seeks to ban two bishops from management roles in any charitable organization — a demand that may draw pushback from those who believe this encroaches into church autonomy.

The attorney general said its investigation found that the diocese and its two former top leaders, Bishop Richard J. Malone and Auxiliary Bishop Edward M. Grosz, used bureaucratic maneuvers to shelter more than two dozen priests accused of harming children.

Ms. James said in a statement that the prosecution aimed to right both a breach of trust and “a crisis of faith.”

“For years, the Diocese of Buffalo and its leadership failed to protect children from sexual abuse,” she said. “Instead, they chose to protect the very priests who were credibly accused of these atrocious acts. Individuals who are victims of abuse deserve to have their claims justly and timely investigated and determined, and the Buffalo Diocese refused to give them that chance.”

Greg Tucker, a spokesman for the diocese, said it was reviewing the lawsuit and was committed to working with the civil authorities to investigate “alleged crimes and complaints.”

“In the meantime, we wish to reiterate that there is zero tolerance for sexual abuse of a minor or of sexual harassment of an adult in the Diocese of Buffalo by any member of the clergy, employee or volunteer,” he said. “The diocese has put in place rigorous policies and protocols governing required behavior as well as a code of conduct which all clergy are expected to abide by.”

David Gibson, the director of the Center on Religion and Culture at Fordham University, said the lawsuit “represents a real sea change” in the way New York approaches clergy sex abuse.

“Even as recently as 2003 the state showed great deference to Catholic leaders,” said Mr. Gibson. “They did not want to be seen as attacking the Catholic Church because that was politically dangerous. Now in 2020 it is considered a political plus to try to hold the bishops accountable.”

The Buffalo diocese, which includes 600,000 Catholics, careened from crisis to crisis in recent years under the leadership of Bishop Malone, who held a senior position in the Diocese of Boston when its sex abuse crisis became public in 2002. He resigned from his position in Buffalo in December after a Vatican investigation into his mishandling of the abuse crisis there.

The Buffalo diocese filed for bankruptcy protection in February, citing a deluge of lawsuits filed by people who said they were sexually abused by priests as children. . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

23 November 2020 at 2:47 pm

The toxic-culture problem is not unique to US police

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The problem, it seems to me, grows from the sort of person who is attracted to police work: a person for whom rules and respect for authority are very important. The culture then encourages strong in-group loyalty (which leads to a negative view of civilians and an on-going effort to cover up wrongdoing and misconduct within the force (and punish any who expose it)). The result in time is a strongly-toxic culture that punishes those who do not embrace the culture and ultimately drives them out.

Rachel Aiello reports for CTV News on the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), which have the same problem as many US police departments:

The federal government and RCMP have admitted that “a lot of work” is needed to address the systemic problems within Canada’s national police force, after a scathing new report details a “toxic” culture and tolerance of misogyny, racism, and homophobia amongst its members and leaders.

These findings were part of a report prepared by an independent assessor, former Supreme Court of Canada Justice Michel Bastarache, in relation to the implementation of the Merlo Davidson settlement agreement.

He is calling for external help and an independent study of all aspects of the RCMP to identify and remove the systemic barriers that are preventing women from succeeding within the force, as well as an in-depth examination of the future of the RCMP as a federal policing organization.

Bastarache said the RCMP has had years to fix these issues and said he has strong reasons to doubt the force’s capacity to make the changes needed under the current organizational structure.

“What I learned in reviewing claims and speaking to claimants has led me to conclude that the RCMP has a toxic culture which has proved intractable to change despite numerous reports and substantial litigation costs. This culture promotes, or at the very least tolerates, misogynistic, racist and homophobic attitudes among many members of the RCMP. Such attitudes cause harm and are inconsistent with the Charter values of equality. They must not be allowed to persist,” he writes.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addressed the report on Thursday, saying that when his government appointed RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki, she was tasked specifically with changing the culture inside the police force, saying “for far too long,” people showed up to work in a place they did not feel safe.

“If an organization cannot keep its own members safe from harassment and discrimination, how can Canadians have confidence in them, to keep them safe as they enforce the law? There is a need for a lot of work, moving forward to improve and reform the RCMP,” Trudeau said.

As part of that class action lawsuit related to sexual harassment of women within the RCMP, 2,304 women received compensation out of a total of 3086 claims. The government has paid out $137.4 million as part of this process, $125.4 million of which went to claimants and the rest in legal fees to the firms that acted as class council.

The report, called “Broken Dreams Broken Lives,” digs into the “devastating effects” of the women who experienced this treatment within their workplace for years. Bastarache has made 52 recommendations for change, including to training, recruitment, job postings, human resources policies and more.

He stated that financial compensation and lawsuits don’t scratch the surface of remedying the top-down “wholesale” change needed across the country.

“Fixing the RCMP and addressing the negative culture that has taken root in it will take an immense effort and will require the good will of its leaders and members. Most of these individuals are invested in the status quo and will not likely want to make the necessary changes to eradicate this toxic culture,” Bastarache said.


In a statement responding to the report’s findings, the RCMP says it acknowledges the impacts of workplace harassment and the courage of the women who came forward. It also states that the RCMP is committed to making “meaningful, holistic” change. The statement goes on to highlight some of the measures taken and underway, that are meant to get at the harmful culture within its ranks.

During a teleconference, commissioner Lucki—participating in the teleconference from self-isolation, as she is awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test—expressed regret about the findings, saying said that many of these women set the path that she has walked.

“We failed them, because they are women,” Lucki said. She said that the behaviour documented is “not what we are as an organization,” and she found it hard to read, pledging to stamp out hate within her organization.

“I am angry for these women,” she said. “I am so very sorry.”

Facing questions about the impact these findings and the recent questions over Lucki’s acknowledgement of system racism within the RCMP have on the public’s trust in police, the commissioner said  . . .

Continue reading. There’s more at the link, including video.

Written by Leisureguy

23 November 2020 at 1:39 pm

Late start, big puck, great shave (good prep, slant razor)

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I promised a large-format puck — more like a soap palette, though with one color — and here it is: Wickham’s Smooth Shave Summer Garden, which has a wonderful spearmint fragrance. I loaded the brush well, and got a good lather (though not quite of the quality of the premium soaps), and with the iKon 102 easily achieved a remarkably smooth result. A small nick, which led to the discovery that I need more My Nik Is Sealed, which is now reasonably difficult to find (though IMO well worth searching out), and 3 replacement tubes are on the way.

A good splash of Pinaud Lilac Vegetal, and the day belatedly begins. I was up very early, returned eventually to bed, and slept very late.

Written by Leisureguy

23 November 2020 at 12:24 pm

Posted in Shaving

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