Saturday, October 06, 2007

Just Keep Passing The Collection Plate Right Past Me

The Catholic Diocese of Orange County recently settled four sex abuse lawsuits concerning allegations against lay teachers(not clergy) at three Orange County schools. This time, no priests or boys were involved (ain't that a switch?).

One case in particular jumped out at me.
The move to settle came a week before the anticipated jury trial in the case of a woman called Jane C.R. Doe. The former Mater Dei High School student said Catholic officials were partially responsible for her abuse by former assistant basketball coach Jeff Andrade. The former student alleged she had been abused for two years by Andrade, starting in 1995, when she was a minor.
This gal was freshman basketball player, who had sex with an assistant coach. Due to her age, I guess it falls under the legal definition of abuse. But was it, really?
In her deposition, she testified Andrade first accosted her in the coach's office, grabbed her, groped her and forced her to have oral sex. Later, she had sex with him at the school, in his car, in his house and in Las Vegas.
I doubt she was just randomly accosted, or forced to have sex. Flirtatious signals were sent,I'm sure. Taken advantage of, yes. But forced?
I'm not buying it.
If she didn't like screwing and blowing the coach, I'm sure she could have stopped the activities.
I've had a teenage daughter, and still do. I can't force her to do anything she doesn't want to do. And I doubt this girl was much different.
And if my daughter came home from practice all upset, and told me what her coach tried to do, I assure you all, his testicles would be hanging from the marquis before nightfall. And I don't think I'm much different from any other Dad in this respect.

I suspect what we have here is a sexually active teen who gave it up to the coach. And a coach who was behaving way out of line, and should be in prison to say the least. Keep in mind, also, this was a basketball player. Girls who play basketball are not generally the weaker of the weaker sex. In all my observations, nobody messed with a basketball chick who didn't want to be messed with. That's just the way it was.
I could be wrong, but I doubt it.

So, this gal is going to receive a million dollars for bad decisions she made when she was 14 and 15. Decisions she continued to make for two years but later found a way to blame on somebody else.

To be sure...
The Church hierarchy brought much of this shit on itself, and I'm not raising a finger to defend their crimes.
And there must be reason (i.e. something to hide?), why they want to avoid trials on so many of these cases.
But there sure seems to be a bit of 'piling on' with all the piglets sucking at the teet for a payout.
And with all the covering up that appears to be going on, I don't think we're going to see the end of it anytime soon.

And is why I haven't put a dollar in the plate in over four years.


Vanesa Littlecrow W. said...

Sadly, I concur. Even though I'm an atheist, I love my religion, but am none too thrilled with the management.

Jade said...

I hate these situations. It's so hard to know exactly what happened when you weren't there.

Speaking from experience, it is possible to be forced to have sex and not feel inclined to tell people about it if you have some kind of emotional connection to the person doing the forcing. (Later when you come to your senses, it creates a wonderfully sticky he-said/she-said situation, which is amplified when you have mutual friends involved.)

You may not be able to force your daughter to do something she doesn't want to do, and I applaud you for raising a strong daughter. But being involved in sports does not automatically mean the girl was a strong individual. Girls at that age battle self esteem issues to varying degrees, it's not always apparent.

If the first "attack" (for lack of a better term) was an attack out of the blue, and she had a decent level of self esteem, chances are good she would have either reported it, or at the very least avoided ever being alone with him again.

If she, on the other hand, had some sort of crush or otherwise emotional attachment to the coach and he took advantage of that... he may have pushed her too far beyond her limits in the first encounter she describes (which would explain her using the word "accosted" - if that was even her word and not the lawyers) Beyond that, being alone with him at school, in his car, and in his house in Vegas long enough for the opportunity to have sex suggests she had emotions invested in the situation.

She may have had a crush on him, may have thought she loved him even... it would make sense... it's easy enough to allow yourself to be talked into doing something you know you shouldn't be doing when you are battling with your stupid heart.

Now, being that he was an older man, clearly acting in an illegal manner, and taking advantage of the emotions of a young girl... he should know better. Technically it is statitory (sp?) rape, which is abuse, and we have these laws for a reason. For her to be in this kind of physical and emotional involvement at her age - whether she *thought* she wanted it at the time or not - can do some serious damage.

Gino said...

jade: i certainly dont want to get into 'blaming the victim', and i hope i'm not doing that, and i thank you for not making that charge.
i'm suggesting she did indeed have a crush on him.
i'm positive whatever issues she has were not caused by her serially boinking the coach. instead, the boinking was a symptom of a larger pre-existing probelm, one the diocese should not be held to account for.

but, she wasnt just an athlete gal. she was basketball. a different kind of gal plays basketball. those girls are tougher. they are not generally meek.

but, she's gonna get $1 million.

because the bishops got something to hide, and wont go to trial.
this is becoming a boon for lawyers who have been 'fishing' for victims where they see a pot of gold for the taking.
i blame the bishops for leaving the deep pockets vulnerable.

and why isnt this coach in prison?

kr said...


first, there is an aspect here of "if the shoe fits, wear it"--it's not like the diocese doesn't deserve to have to put out some serious moolah; undoubtably many of the victims of actual priests killed themselves, so a few golddiggers here and there, I just consider even-ing up the score.

I take it the diocese didn't cover its collection plates that way the Portland one did? Part of the bankruptcy settlement was sorting out that regular collections are presumed by the congregants to go towards daily operations ... Portland is paying out by selling properties and insurance.

On the other hand, it sounds like Portland is being more open in general.

Now, I have another couple of pieces to add to the puzzle. First, I played basketball. Yes, there are tough players. But tough is sometimes a mask for vulnerable--just like for guys. Second, especially if a girl is unexperienced, but even if she has some experience, and even if she has quite a lot of experience but it has all been with younger guys or otherwise in her control (these are THREE VERY DIFFERENT SITUATIONS, but all lead to the same problem), there would be a huge amount of confusion and shame after a first things-went-too-far encounter.

Tough girls can have it worse, that way, because it is such a huge whack to their understanding of themselves as "tough."

Now, with your psyche completely thrown off balance--the question of how much control you actually have over your life, and even who you are and what you are worth up in the air--lots of girls (and women!) choose to believe they "want" (and "wanted") that relationship. It makes them feel like they are in the driver's seat of their own life again, even though they aren't.

And that ignores the ones who are in fact scared of the abuser, or the ones who are terrified of the social exposure of standing up to him.

The fact that he forced her into oral sex on the first encounter, makes all the shame issues much worse, since whatever the American bedroom norm is, oral sex carries a MUCH huger stigma than vaginal, especially for a teenage girl, and expecially several years ago. At a Catholic school, the social stakes for exposure would only be higher, especially pre-scandal.

As for your being positive whatever her issues are were not caused by serially boinking the coach, bullshit. She may have had other issues, which may have made her more vulnerable. Or she may have had a teenage crush and not realised she needed to set her own boundaries firmly. I'd say 99% of 14 year old girls have this combination. I'd say a lot of women have this issue too (unwise crushing + indefined boundaries).

Going at it for two years simply says she wanted very badly for the relationship to make sense to her--and the longer the relationship went on the more she would have wanted to believe she had wanted it!--not necessarily that she wanted the relationship.

But, maybe she did. That certainly happens. Coach was still a dumbshit shitball for doing it, though, and yes, should spend some time in prison.

Perhaps speaks to her (still) mixed feelings that she is trying to take the Church down instead of him. Or the staute of limitations is past.

Jade said...

Gino - I didn't think you were blaming the victim... I do believe her lawyers are probably spinning her side of things - after all that is what they are paid to do. She's getting a million dollars because the bishops don't want to go to trial, they just want the bad press to go away. If there was nothing to hide, there wouldn't be an issue.

KR - "or the ones who are terrified of the social exposure of standing up to him."
This is exactly why I detest people who falsely accuse people of rape... it's like crying wolf, then those who really are facing down a wold feel the social pressure of being judged.
"Is she telling the truth, did it really happen? But he's such a nice guy, she must be lying."

Or my favorite... "Well they were dating, she should have expected it."

As a matter of fact, Gino, that was the most disturbing aspect of your post... assuming that just because the girl plays basketball it indicates a specifically strong personality trait. You can't assume by their outward appearance or activities that they will be tough, or capable of handling situations... and making that assumption can make it more difficult for the girl to come forward.
"Everyone thinks I'm so strong, I can't let them see me as a victim. They will never believe I was a victim."
You have to have a lot of confidence to stand up for yourself, because you are going to face people who doubt you and try to tear you down. That confidence can be significantly reduced if you are in an abusive situation, particularly for such a long stretch of time.

Jade said...

And oh yeah, why the fuck is this guy not in jail?

Gino said...

jade: "assuming that just because the girl plays basketball it indicates a specifically strong personality trait."
i'm assuming the liklihood. i have some experience dating the previous yr's captain through 1/2 my senior yr.(she graduated the yr before). i spent lots of time with her b-ball buddies as a result of being with her.
i'm telling ya... nobody pushed these gals around. (that, and they could fight like a dude if they had to. so dont push your luck).
unless maybe they were just different at my school.

kr: our plates are separate, also. but money is fungable. and i got an attitude.

Jade said...

Gino - :) My nieces all play soccer. The oldest one went to a dance with a guy, who made the mistake of saying to her as they were dancing "You know, I have some expectations about tonight...." and grabbed her ass. She swept his knees, body slammed him into the floor, stepped her 4 inch heel on his chest and said "I have expectations too, and they no longer involve you"

My sister took her out for ice-cream after the dance... proud mom.

Yes, athletic girls are more likely to be stronger and more self assured, but still... I try not to make assumptions.

Gino said...

love it.
your neice rocks!

Mercy Now said...

Dang it, I wish I was brought up Catholic so I can file a lawsuit as well since I was a boy at one point. Unfortunately, it's the greedy lawyers.

Bike Bubba said...

Jade, I'm bummed that's not out there on YouTube. May my daughters be so tough; I'm training them to fight on skates already.

kr said...

Dude, Jade, 4 inch heels??? I take it your relatives are taller than you?

She rocks. Go girlfriend, go girlfriend, go girlfriend ... :)!

Jade said...

KR - Yeah, I'm the shortest one in the family... my sister (the one I like, with all the nieces) is actually a half sister, she is about 5 10... her kids are all taller. My nieces range from age 11 to 16... they are all taller than me. Have been for years.

kr said...

oh and hey: gino, you have a lot of attitudes. doesn't justify not supporting the Church's works, if you believe in fact it is the One True Church

I had a friend in NY who stopped attending mass because she was disgusted with the whole scandal. What reaction could Satan want more? I asked her when I found out, a year and a half later. How can the healing ever happen for you or the community, if that is your reaction?

Do you trust your pastor? Most of "your" money would be distrubuted via him/your parish council.

and then this "what are they still hiding" thing.
Did it ever occur to you that besides the conspiracy theory sensationalism of the Eeeville Heirarchy, perhaps the victims were requesting non-exposure? That has been the case in many situations here. Generally an aversion to exposure is why most rape cases don't make it to trial; as far as I can tell an aversion to exposure was nearly universal in these cases for years and years.

Get over yourself.

The leaders of our church did some shitass stupid things, and maybe continue to. Withdrawing ourselves from the church doesn't make sense as the right answer.

Besides, you can pray over every dollar you put in ... then their right usage is God's problem. (Which it should be anyhow.) I'm pretty sure God is up to the challenge.

Gino said...

kr: and what is wrong with attitude?

besides, i still give generously. i just dont filter it through the pastoral office. there's plenty of good groups within the church ,doing the gospel right, that i give it too.

kr said...

nothing wrong with attitudes, as long as they don't make you think you are superior ;)

there is something to be said for the physical recognition of the magesterium and heirarchy of the Church... I don't understand a lot of choices my husband made, but inasmuch as he ever said anything to me about his conversion, watching our money go into the collection plate every Sunday forced him to decide about his feelings about the Church--he was involved in a way that giving to other Church-related groups really doesn't cause. It's part of identifying with and supporting the local community and the ideas that define the sturcture of the Church. And if you aren' t doing those things, you slip into dogmatic inconsistency pretty fast. Not a cafeteria Catholic, but maybe one who sends some key items back to the kitchen uneaten.

Thinking on the fly here, gotta run, hope I was somewhat coherent