There was enough ambiguity to see innocence or guilt. My reasons for voting guilty (none of the reasons standing alone are enough to convict, but taken together tip the balance for me)
His resignation without fighting Sister Aloysius. This tells me that either he did something with Donald Miller, or he had skeletons in his past that he knew would come out if she dug for them. Her bluff wouldn’t have worked if there was no parent to find in one of his two previous parrishes if he were innocent. So, at the bare minimum, I think he did molest a child somewhere along the way (even if in this case he was not guilty of touching Donald Miller)
Donald Miller and the wine. Two things here. One, Father Flynn suggested that he was caught drinking wine by Mr. McGuinn. But this was not true. Mr. McGuinn knew that Donald drank some wine, but didn’t know how he came to drink it. Two, Donald showed no signs of being sick (drunk) before being called to the rectory. Only when he came back did he show signs of being sick, and Sister James also smelled wine on his breath at this time. I would think that if he drank wine before class, he would have been feeling sick before being called to the rectory, not after. And I don’t believe Donald would have access to the altar wine to booze it up between classes (but that’s just a gut feeling on my part).
The comment made by Father Flynn when he was questioned by Sister Aloysius. Instead of answering her, he asked her if she had ever committed a mortal sin. When she said “yes”, his answer was that they were both the same and that whatever he had done was in the healing hands of his confessor. A very strange answer given the circumstances.
At the end of the last meeting between Father Flynn and Sister Aloysius, when she was pushing him out, he said “there are things I cannot say… things beyond your knowledge.”
The first time the topic was discussed in Sister Aloysius’ office, he said he was uncomfortable. When asked why, his reply was “Why do you think?” Again, another odd answer.
These things together convinced me that he was guilty of developing an inappropriate relationship with Donald Miller.
Other hints at this were the t-shirt being put in the locker, the recoiling that a couple of the other boys had when approached or near Father Flynn, and the way he held Donald Miller’s head in the middle of the hall when his books were dumped. It was uncomfortably long.
The one thing I didn’t think of that was discussed in this thread was the idea that Father Flynn was a homosexual, and he recognized that Donald Miller was one as well. Perhaps his kindness to Donald was along these lines, helping him through a difficult time, and nothing more.
But I think Sister Aloysius was right. A dog that bites is a dog that bites. And even if he didn’t do anything to Donald Miller, he would eventually prey on another child if he indeed had a history. Which he must have, since he didn’t fight Sister Aloysius. Based on the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, he had all the power in any fight with any nun.