Yesterday I learned about the latest emerging pedophile scandal in the Catholic Church, one that centers on Cardinal George Pell, by some reports the third most powerful man in the Church. (I’m not up on Catholic polity so I won’t render an opinion either way on that.)
This will be settled in the courts, but for now I believe the victims. Two decades ago two grown men filed statements with police that they were abused by Pell when they were children. They didn’t make this story up to be rich and famous. And I see now evidence they are psychotic. Ergo…
As that case plays out in the Australian courts, I find myself thinking of Bob Jyono. I first met Mr. Jyono in the harrowing 2006 documentary Deliver Us From Evil which chronicles how the Catholic Church enabled a pedophile priest — Oliver O’Grady — as he raped dozens of children for decades. Mr. Jyono was one of the parents interviewed in the film and he recounted as a father and one-time faithful Catholic how this pervert priest had raped his own daughter in his own house for years.
I find Mr. Jyono’s case particularly haunting, so much so that I’ve referred to it in three of my books. As Deliver Us From Evil ends, we find that we have not been delivered from evil. Jyono and his family and countless other families just like theirs, have been destroyed. Meanwhile, O’Grady — one of the clearest examples of a clinical psychopath I’ve encountered — suggests in an interview that he’d like to meet with his victims to mend fences. That obscene proposal made me want to drop a marble pedestal on his serene grandpa face.
I recall with grim satisfaction that day in 1984 when Gary Plauche plugged some lead into the brain of his son’s rapist. (See this excerpt from an old story of the case on Court TV.) If there is any point at which my professed pacifism takes a beating (how ironic is that?) it is here, with my overwhelming impulse to inflict egregious bodily harm on anyone who would harm my own child.
As for O’Grady, he isn’t wearing an orange jumpsuit when he coyly proposes a meeting to mend fences. As he is interviewed he is living free back in his native Ireland. The pedophile roams free with a little grin while his victims are left in their respective cages of pain, torment and rage.
I said that Jyono was a “one-time” Catholic. He now describes himself as an atheist: Jyono is unable to reconcile himself to the notion that God stood by while one of the designated divine representatives raped his precious daughter in his own house.
Cases like that of Bob Jyono are one of the reasons I get angry when I hear Christians ascribe all disbelief in God to rebellion. You’re not in a place to judge Mr. Jyono, and you won’t be until you’ve walked a mile in his shoes.
And God forbid you ever have to.