It was announced yesterday that Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the Roman Catholic archbishop of Washington, will ask Pope Francis to accept his resignation in light of the ongoing Catholic Church sex abuse scandal.
Shortly after becoming Bishop of Pittsburgh in 1988,Wuerl created support programs for survivors and adopted a zero-tolerance policy against abusive priests. In 1993, he defied the Vatican in refusing to reassign predator priest. However, last month a Pennsylvania grand jury accused Wuerl of a “systematic cover-up” between 1988 and 2006 when he was the head of Pittsburgh’s diocese. According to the grand jury report, Wuerl allegedly mishandled complaints, concealed allegations of sex abuse, and reassigned and/or reinstated priests with allegations levied against them. A two-year investigation into the diocese revealed that at least 1,000 children have been abused at the hands of Catholic clergy members, dating back to the 1940s. Wuerl is facing scrutiny over what he may have known about abuse allegations against his predecessor, former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick in Washington.
There seems to be a long-standing “policy” of vigorously defending predator priests and attacking victims. In fact, my first novel, Betrayal of Faith, is a fictionalized account of my experiences with these tragic cases.
Betrayal of Faith follows Jennifer Tracey as she sets out to expose the predatory behavior of the new parish priest and obtain justice for her two sons. In an effort to hold the church accountable, Jennifer retains attorney Zachary Blake and files a lawsuit against the pastor and the church. Attorney and client are obstructed in these efforts by The Coalition, a secret church organization that has orchestrated an elaborate cover-up of the priest’s former and present child sexual abuse.
Hopefully, Betrayal of Faith will encourage victims of similar abuse to come forward, seek out professional assistance, and confront those responsible for their trauma.
Attorney, certified civil mediator, and award-winning author of the Zachary Blake Betrayal Series. Mark Bello is also a member of the State Bar of Michigan, a sustaining member of the Michigan Association for Justice, and a member of the American Association for Justice.