Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Ed Martin and Pedophile Priests (VIDEO and AUDIO)

One major story I did not have a chance to discuss was the emergence of The Real Ed Martin website last week that put together a detailed piece claiming that Ed Martin did not take action to stop sexual abuse while he was working in a high profile position for the Catholic Church in St. Louis. For an overview of the basic story, check out this report by Jaco for Fox 2 News:


I actually had written something about this last week, but wasn't comfortable enough with the story to post it. However, since Ed Martin and the tea party have been lying about this, and since the Post-Dispatch is being actively coached by the tea party in how to cover right-wing politics, I feel like I need to weigh in on the issue.

First of all, Ed Martin and the tea party's claim that the Carnahan campaign is involved is false. They did not want to publicize the story since they were worried that it would offend Catholics, and that led to the investigator, Michael Corwin, to terminate his relationship with the campaign several months ago. All of the conspiracy theorizing by the same people who claimed that the local dog catchers were involved in a massive government conspiracy against them is hardly surprising.

Second, Ed Martin and the tea party's claims that the web site's argument "basically says," that Ed Martin is involved "because he worked for the church," is also false. The website actually extensively details that Ed Martin was a member of a group called the Curia, which was tasked with, among other things, providing ethical guidance for the Archdiocese. It further documents that the St. Louis Curia was actively talking about the sex abuse cases. So the claim that this is a smear against all Catholics or anyone who worked for the church is simply false. The website was quite clear that it was addressing Martin's documented role as a member of the Curia.

That being said, I should note that this is why I was uncomfortable blogging about this story when I first saw the site. It looks like there are over 40 members of the St. Louis Curia. Are all of them partially responsible for the church's coverup of sex abuse cases and decisions to move priests around rather than dealing with the issues? I simply don't know enough about how the church operates to feel confident in answering that question. It seems like it depends quite a bit on the details of what they discussed in meetings and what they knew about the actual cases. Because this is such a heavy issue, it seemed a bit unfair to me to single out Martin. However, it certainly seems fair to me that the investigators were asking for Martin to answer some questions.

And this is where it gets interesting. Because in all of Martin's responses, press conferences, tweets, etc. on the subject, he hasn't really addressed the core issue brought up by the site: the claim that Martin knew about the abuse allegations and failed to act. Here's how the Real Ed Martin website describes their core claims:
Ed Martin knew pedophilia was an issue at the Archdiocese; he knew pedophile priests were moved around and had continued access to children; he knew the laws of the State of Missouri; and worst of all, he chose to remain silent.
Martin's responses have systematically avoided mentioning whether or not he was aware of the abuse allegations. In fact, even when he claims to be addressing the issue, he only says that he didn't have authority to do anything:
To speak directly to the implied accusation: I worked for the Catholic Church doing education and advocacy about charity and service to our community. I had zero involvement or authority on the adjudication or disposition of those accused of crimes or wrongdoing. The only scandal I was responding to was that the Human Rights Office was supporting goals and making contributions to organizations that reflected poorly on the Church and her mission.
But no one said he was "involved" or had "authority." The site claimed that he knew about the abuse, yet said nothing while the priests were shuffled around to new places.

Not only is Ed Martin not answering the question, but he appears to be desperately avoiding situations where he might have to answer the question. In fact, Charlie Brennan, said that for the first time since he's known Martin, Martin refused to appear on his radio show to respond to the allegations. You can listen to Brennan's interview with David Clohessy, National Network of the Survivor's Network of Those Abused by Priests here:

I didn't originally think that the website showed that Ed Martin did anything wrong. However, it did ask some legitimate quetions, and it's striking that Ed Martin is refusing to simply say that he didn't have any knowledge of what happened.


  1. Agreed. Martin must speak to the advice that he gave the church on ethics during his tenure with the Curia, especially if he or the Curia had any role to play in advising the Church on ethical issues regarding the handling of pedophile priests. My great Uncle was a priest, and founder of one of St. Louis's Catholic churches. If he were alive today, he would demand that Ed Martin answer any and all questions as to his advising role with the Curia regarding the issue of pedophile priests.

  2. Martin will not talk about what was discussed inside the Curia because he is still adhering to his oath of secrecy. He has placed that sacred oath dictated in canon law above the oath he took to the United States Constitution and the laws of the State of Missouri when he became an officer of the court. Imagine the howls from the Tea Partiers if a Democrat did that.

  3. Martin worked for the Archdoesis, and there were pedophiles, so Ed Martin MUST be a pedophile.

    Sorry. Got a little carried away using tea party logic :)