The Catholic church has come under increasing fire in recent decades for the horrifying number of priests being accused of sexually assaulting children. What makes the allegations worse is that in many cases, it seems other church authorities were aware of the abuses, but made every effort to cover them up instead of reporting them to law enforcement. So when a Michigan-based “secret” Catholic organization came to light last year, that appeared to be hiding priests accused of sexual abuse, the media exploded.
The group provides services and help to accused Catholic priests
Opus Bono Sacerdotii, which is based in Dryden in Lapeer County, is dedicated to raising money (for Catholic priests) “to facilitate immediate and confidential assistance for difficulties including vocation crisis, relationship issues, financial guidance, abuse allegations, spiritual direction, psychological counselling, medical aid, and emotional support amongst others.” The name translates to “work for the good of the priesthood” – and that’s exactly what the organization aims to do. Which sounds great. But what about when the good of the priesthood comes at the direct expense of little children?
Opus Bono Sacerdotii was investigated by the Michigan AG!
Michigan’s former Attorney General, Bill Schuette, led an investigation into Opus Bono, after co-Founder and President Joe Maher’s daughter, Rose, wrote a letter to the Attorney General’s office. “A simple investigation into the Michigan non-profit charity Opus Bono Sacerdotii would bring to light the millions of embezzled dollars, years of mail fraud, and the constant systemic abuse of donations.” she wrote, and so an investigation was launched, which opened an enormous can of worms…
Opus Bono was discovered to be misusing funds and lying to donors…
The investigation revealed that Opus Bono was misrepresenting themselves in their efforts to raise funds, and then misusing those funds. As part of the settlement with the state, two of the group’s founders – Maher and Treasurer Pete Ferrara, were forced out and forbidden to return to non-profit work anywhere in Michigan in the future. But the work of the organization continues here in Michigan, providing shelter to hundreds of alleged child abusers. Many who are later convicted of those crimes.
Child abuse is a difficult subject, and addressing it requires skill and finesse.
Being accused of child abuse is devastating. For those who are innocent, the damage to their reputation can destroy their entire lives, even if they are later proven not-guilty. So on the one hand we understand what this organization was trying to do. But while we believe that everyone is entitled to a good defense when accused of a crime in the US, we also believe that people need to be honest and upfront about what they’re doing and why they’re doing it. So if you’ve been accused of abusing a child and you need help, call The Kronzek Firm at 866 766 5245. We believe in our work, which we do passionately and with integrity.