The national (and international) scandal of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church has many layers. One of these layers is the Diocesan Sexual Misconduct Review Board. Its mission, one would believe, would be to protect victims and appropriately monitor clergy and other employees of the Diocese to stop and prevent sexual misconduct in the Diocese. Unfortunately, diocesan boards such as this one have too often been simply part an established effort to hide or protect potentially dangerous individuals. At this time, many of the Diocesan Sexual Misconduct Review Boards have become discredited and have lost the trust and confidence of faithful Catholics. Our Diocese is no exception.
In order for a Sexual Misconduct Review Board to be credible and deserving of trust by faithful Catholics, a few fundamental principles need to be in place. One the the most basic tenets is that members of the board should be free of any connections that could unduly influence their decisions. The Review Board should be made up of impartial, sincere, and faithful Catholics who can render difficult but fair decisions.
In the case of the Diocese of Gaylord, multiple obvious conflicts of interest are apparent from those on the Sexual Misconduct Review Board. The following are examples of these conflicts from some of the board members (The job descriptions here represent our research results. We would like to confirm this information with the Diocese but the Diocese has thus far refused to meet with us):
- Dave Martin – works for Catholic Human Services which receives Diocesan Funding. If he makes a determination of which the Bishop or his Vicar General are not in agreement, will Catholic Human Services’ funding be jeopardized?
- Fr. Joe Muszkiewicz – how can he serve on a board that might possibly look into sexual misconduct of a fellow priest or a superior, as would have been the case with disgraced former Vicar Fr. Dennis Stilwell? The Vicar General is second in command at the Diocese.
- Bob Kellogg – principal at St. Anne school in Cadillac. He is paid by the Diocese. Would he lose his employment if he made a decision the Bishop or his Vicar did not like?
- Tom Tenerovicz – director of Human Resources, Diocese of Gaylord. Would he be impartial regarding the conduct of a fellow employee? Would he make a decision that might harm the job or reputation of his boss?
Please pray for our Diocese. We encourage our readers to continue their efforts to bring us information, both good and bad, that needs to be brought out and addressed.