Sins of the Fathers

Letters from the week of May 2, 2002

Church Confession

Come clean: Well, well. The pope has finally made a public statement that anyone accused of abusing children is a criminal. That would also include priests. Duh!

Will church leaders now release a list of all who have ever been accused of abusing children? Or will they continue to hem and haw, shuffle their feet and otherwise evade the matter ("Silent Witness," Robert Nelson, April 25)?

What about the children? The ones who are now adults, as well as all those affected by these atrocities, cannot and will not forget what has happened to them! Yet the Catholic Church refuses to disclose a list of those who have taken the innocence away from the children.

That says nothing of what it has done to the families of these victims. The parents have had their Catholic faith stolen from them. The siblings do not know how to help. How can their faith in the Catholic Church be restored?

I do not see how being in denial over these issues can be of help to anyone -- the church itself, let alone the families of all those involved, including the families of the perpetrators.

Shame on all of you who have the information yet refuse to disclose it. Especially you, Thomas O'Brien. What kind of leadership are you showing to Catholics and all faiths? Contrary to what seems to be construed as truth, priests are not above the law here on earth.

The police and only the police should be the ones handling this investigation of the Catholic Church's misdeeds. Obviously, the church has failed, dismally, at keeping its own within the laws of the people. And God's laws.

Shere A. Fischer
Phoenix

Youthful Indiscretions

How to help the children: I want to compliment you on your timely and important piece of journalism ("Dying Young," Amy Silverman, April 18). These facts and information need very much to be published. I have copied it and am mailing and e-mailing it to some people I know who deal with the Juvenile Justice System here in Yavapai County. I hope there will be follow-up articles and I will watch for them and bring attention to them when I can.

What else can I do to contribute to the improvement of this situation in our badly managed juvenile detention centers in this state?

These are forgotten and disregarded children who will most certainly offend again when we add these conditions to their lives. Please don't think I don't know that there a lot of violent offenders detained in Adobe Mountain. There are also some very troubled kids there who should be in an environment that addresses their needs and can contribute to their rehabilitation.

Marje Henry
Mayer

Reporter delinquency: Once again, Amy Silverman has chosen to write about the Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections, and once again, she failed to represent the truth about this department, about the situation that was the focus of her story, and the efforts of our staff to deal with delinquent youth.

The April 11 death of Christopher Camacho was a tragedy. It has caused deep pain not only for the youth and his family, but also for the staff who worked directly with this troubled young man, as well as all employees of this department.

The staff of this department has rallied to respond to the trauma of Camacho's death. Crisis counseling has been provided for the youth's family, and for youth and staff. The leadership of this department, along with counselors and chaplains, spent several hours with the family at the hospital, answered the family's questions, and attended the youth's funeral.

It is important to complete a thorough examination of the events that led up to Camacho's death, and that is being done. While it has been 14 years since the last such tragedy, the Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections is determined to do everything possible to keep another from occurring.

Steve Meissner
Public Information Officer
Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections

Portrait of a young man: This message is for that troubled young man (Letters, April 25) who wrote about juvenile corrections.

Young man, so far you've been dealt a bad hand in the game of life. However, it ain't over yet. You are on the verge of adulthood. You have the power to determine your own destiny now. All the excuses in the world aren't going to make your life any better. You have to take actions to make your life better.

I'd suggest for you to explore options to enlist in any of the branches of the United States Armed Forces. Between the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard, I'm sure that you'd find something to your liking.

No, you don't have to learn how to be a killer. Fighters only make up a small portion of the military manpower. There are many technical fields. What you don't know, the military will teach you. It will also help you on your journey to self-discovery and help build up your character and self-esteem. You can use the GI Bill for college after your service ends. You can go to night classes and get a GED. You can attend college courses and the military will help defray a large portion of your tuition and book fees.

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