Wednesday, October 5, 2011

If at first you don't succeed ... try smearing them again ....

Bp. David Zubik
This is not Bp. David A. Zubik's first rodeo.

Last December, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune, SNAP (Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests) accused Bp. Zubik of having destroyed evidence of sexual abuse while he was bishop of Green Bay. The diocese denied the allegations, noting that some of the records were required to be destroyed under HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act of 1996), as the priests were still alive, and that the rest of the records destroyed were those of dead priests. The diocese also claimed it destroyed no records of priests with outstanding claims against them. No federal investigation or criminal charges are pending as of this date; it's hard not to conclude that the feds either decided there wasn't enough evidence to warrant opening up an investigation or that Jeff Anderson and SNAP were grandstanding again.

Now, Mike Rock, 45, has publicly accused Bp. Zubik of sexually assaulting him while Rock was a student at Quigley High School in the 1980s. Rock had made allegations last year against two priests who were teaching at Quigley at the time. Offered a meeting with Bp. Zubik, Rock demurred until this May; at the meeting, according to the WPXI-11 website, "Rock didn't talk about the two priests and instead asked him to overturn the background check that prohibited him from working at a local church." Rock has a lengthy criminal record with charges including burglary, indecent exposure and open lewdness.
Denied by Bp. Zubik, Rock then posted his allegation on the Quigley Facebook page.

The incident has been passed on to the Vatican and Diocesan Review Board for review. Zubik also passed the matter on to the Beaver County district attorney, Tony Berosh. According to Berosh, Rock never approached the police or the DA; Berosh began his investigation at the bishop's request. 

The district attorney said they conducted an investigation even though the statue of limitations was up. Berosh said Rock was hard to reach and was not cooperative. When Rock finally responded, Berosh said he told him that he was represented by council [sic] civilly and was going to handle matters in his own fashion. [Let me guess who counsel for the plaintiff is ... could it be, maybe, uh, Jeff Anderson?]
 There are some discrepancies between WPXI's report and that of the Philadelphia Inquirer. In the Philly.com story, the accusation was against +Zubik and two nuns, and last summer's accusation was against one priest. But the real surprise is that the media was willing to print allegations undermining Rock's credibility.

Nevertheless, I'm sure we can count on SNAP to release a statement within the next twenty-four hours siding with Rock and rehashing the Green Bay allegations in the hope of raising more interest the second time around. Where there's smoke ...

... there are bound to be mirrors.