Why aren't Catholic leaders who helped coverup molestation charged with obstruction of justice?

This is something I’ve always wondered about. I figure if one of my relatives were molesting little children, and I actively helped them cover up their crimes, I myself would be charged with a crime. So why aren’t Catholic leaders who shuffled pedophile priests around and tried to keep their crimes under wraps prosecuted?

FTR: I don’t know if it matters, but I’m Catholic myself, and though I don’t go to Mass very often, still consider myself (for the most part) a follower of the church’s teachings.

Some of it has to do with jurisdiction issues and with statutes of limitations. Clearly there’s a political element too, though.

Generally obstruction of justice only occurs once the authorities are on the case. Someone lies to investigators, or pays someone not to testify, hides a fugitive, etc. My understanding of the molestation cases is that the civil authorities were never involved. No one is obligated to turn in criminals or to cooperate with the authorities if they choose not to.

As often as not, the coverup was aided and abetted by the civil authorities. Not that the Catholic Church enjoyed any special treatement. I’m sure the Boy Socuts or the school boards or any other large major organization full of important people was eager to hide their juicy scandals. Just that a group full of sexually frustrated males with lots of impressionable young boys around was probably more likely to have problems.

You still see the similar attitude up to today where police, for example, would rather the (non-sexual) misbehaviour of their members be covered up than to air their dirty laundy.

I suppose in what way is transfer of a priest to a different jurisdiction “obstruction”? If they destroyed or hid evidence, or outright lied to investigators, that would be obstruction - if you could prove it. Plus, as pointed out, a statute of limitations probably applies.

I don’t believe that they had the laws then that a case of abuse must be reported by a professional; and those laws today apply to teachers, doctors, etc. - but does that law apply to clergy?

For the same reason that the priests aren’t prosecuted. The statute of limitations has usually expired. In New York State, for example, the limit is five years after the crime is reported, or five years after the victim turns 18, whichever occurs first. Even if you charge the church leaders as co-conspirators, which is probably a stretch, the same limits apply.

There is the statue of limitatons. Right now the church is flushing them out country by country. We discussed it during bible study and you and another parishoner would have to help a priest now to get away with it. The ‘Protecting Gods Children’ course has to be taken by anyone in the church that works with children. It includes a full backround check. Also The priest can not be alone with children unless their are two adults that have been through the program. Even during sunday school it has to be two teachers with the kids at all times. If one child goes to the bathroom we have to take them all. If it was to happen now the adults would be held as guilty as the priest as accomplices.

The priests go to prison but not their superiors. They are guilty of being silent. The church really did not know what to do with these priests. I mean a priest is a mortal man and when they are found perverted they kick them out but some of these children never reported it till they were older.

Pedophiles are everywhere and it is impossible to rehabilitate them. They should not be allowed to be around children.

In simple land, which is where much TV and some people live, the perpetrator is simply “known” to be a perpetrator (he probably confesses in the final scene) and then he gets “tossed” in jail and it’s all easy. In real land it’s much more complicated. The victim may not say anything for decades. There may be only some level of behaviour which provokes a suspicion, or merely competing allegations. The authorities may be brought in but be unable to prove anything.

Instances of persons who “covered up” with the level of certain personal knowledge at a time within limitation and who then took steps decisively intended to obstruct justice sufficient to constitute a punishable offence are probably far more rare than the current wave of hysteria assumes.