Sunday, June 9

There are certain things I can't write about. I can barely stand to think about them. Prime among them is the suffering of children.

But I finally forced myself to read about that poor little child in Virginia forgotten in the van and left to die.

I know the family is devastated. I know that it was an "accident." But that accident involved terrible, astonishing neglect, and I tend to believe the father should be prosecuted. I don't care how wonderful a family it is or how well mannered the children are. The fact is, a little baby was forgotten about for seven hours, and was only discovered by a neighbor passing by who spotted her, dead in the van.

In deciding to present the case to a grand jury, Ebert said he "took into account the entire background facts and circumstances." That probably included evidence of an alleged pattern of neglect: In February, Kelly left his 3-year-old son, Martin, behind at a video store, where the child waited for a couple of hours until store clerks could track down where he belonged. And in April, a Manassas police officer found Frances running in the middle of her residential street, scooped her up and returned her to her parents with a warning to be more careful.....

I was revolted by this comment at the end of the article:

Marshall, too, said what happened to the Kellys could happen to anyone in a moment of distraction. "Mary and Joseph lost Jesus for three days," he said, recounting the New Testament story of Jesus lingering behind to talk to the elders, "and God himself picked them."

This will be an interesting discussion. Those of you who are lawyers can find your way around it better than I can. An accident, but part of an apparent pattern of neglect, that results in the death of the child. Is the grief punishment enough? Is living with the knowledge of the child's suffering for the rest of your life enough? What purpose would prosecution serve? What purpose would jail time serve? I'm not saying...I'm really asking.

As for me, this is what I can't stop thinking: if I had done this, I think I would feel that I deserved to go to jail.

Update: A reader has commented about the number of children this family had, wondering, I think, if I thought this was relevant. I don't, and I hope people with large families will stand up in this regard. I don't care how many children you have - it's inconceivable to me that one - especially one of the little ones - would be gone for seven hours and not be missed. Think about it. seven hours. From, say 10 am to 5 pm. Even if you had 12 kids, could you imagine for a second not seeing your 21-month old for say, five minutes, and not wondering where she was?????

From the Tampa Tribune:Spinmeister Helps Bishop Lynch Tell His Side

A crisis management expert who led a successful drive to defeat casino gambling in Florida in 1986, Carter is now advising the lawyer for the Catholic Diocese of St. Petersburg on the wave of controversies that has been washing over the diocese since March.

Carter's job, working behind the scenes, appears to be to massage public opinion, reassure parishioners, turn down media heat and polish the bishop's image. It's the crisis manager's classic challenge, but one fraught with peril.

One danger is alienating donors who might question why their money is being used, even indirectly, to pay for an image-maker to clean up a mess created by their spiritual leaders.

....Carter, who attends Blessed Trinity Church in St. Petersburg, calls Lynch ``a very forthright guy.''

``This bishop has always been a real open, liberal, free- thinking bishop,'' Carter said. ``He's not been the old, traditional, closed kind of guy. He's a new-wave bishop, compared with other bishops, according to what I've read.''

But he has generally avoided the media since the Urbanski matter broke and instead responded to news reports through mass mailings, a Catholic newspaper he controls and the church-owned FM radio station.

And then a little tidbit about some victims' lawyers:

Some of the numerous lawyers across the country who are making a fortune representing victims of priestly abuse have publicity agents to help generate more of the valuable stories that lead to new clients.

For example, the firm of Greenberg Traurig, with more than 800 lawyers, keeps Florida reporters updated through a public relations firm on the progress of abuse victim lawsuits from Florida to Boston

Given the opportunity, anyone can be a snake, it seems. Not to give a bad name to snakes, but....


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