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Paul Kiesel
Paul Kiesel
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Bishop Steinbock Continues to Blur Belief and Fact in Fresno Clergy Sex Abuse Trial

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BELIEF:

Bishop Steinbock continues to give "seemingly" contradictory statements in the Fresno Clergy Sex Abuse Trial, like "I have never returned anyone to ministry that I believe was guilty of sex abuse."

FACT:

In 2006, a Fresno jury found Father Swearingen guilty (9-3) of molesting a child. The case ended in a mistrial because the jurors could not agree on whether the church ignored the abuse.

Despite jurors believing Swearingen molested a child, Bishop Steinbock allowed Swearingen to remain a priest.

BELIEF:

Bishop Steinbock stood by Swearingen saying, "I do not believe that was credible at all [. . .] I believe he was absolutely innocent."

FACT:

Father Swearingen is still a pastor at Holy Spirit and continues to work with children.

Click here to see a photo of Swearingen unfortunately surrounded by children, in December 2008.

The Piety Problem

The reality is that Steinbock and the defense team continues to make an argument based on blind faith: That the church, until recently (meaning within the past 15 years), alleges that it was unaware of cases of child abuse throughout the 1950s, 60s, 70s and 80s.

Any reasonable, fact-based individual will know: 1.) That’s a lie and 2.) The Catholic Church has been using sex as a means of intimidation that predates the Middle Ages.

People are entitled to their own beliefs, but those beliefs should never supersede fact. And the fact is: Church employees who prey on and abuse children and the churches that are complicit in this abominable behavior by doing or saying nothing, are all due to get their comeuppance, whether they believe that to be true or not.