As my dearly departed father would say, the plot thickens…
From the Oregonian:
In my earlier post, I said that “the failure of Fr. Bien to report the camera at all until after it was subsequently “lost” speaks volumes about the continuing systemic failure of the Archdiocese to educate parishioners on the reporting of suspected abuse and misconduct.”
Well, let me hand it to the parishioners, they didn’t just let it go, and they were active in making sure the misconduct had been reported. Fr. Bein simply lied to them that it had been.
Here’s the load of horse pucky the priest gave the teen’s mother when she followed up to find out what was being done about the camera:
[Fr.Bien] told her that police had visited the parish and they didn’t need the boy’s statement or fingerprints because the priest had filled them in on everything, records say. Police had a suspect in mind who had used similar devices in other places, he continued. They were gathering more evidence to make an arrest, he said.
As the kids used to say, ya, right.
Even better, Fr. Bien started penning what appears to be his first in a series of fictional novels based around police investigation techniques:
“Sherwood police did not have enough to go with from the device,” the priest wrote. “Two sets of fingerprints were found: mine and, by process of elimination, (your son’s). … They were hoping to find a third set of fingerprints to lead them to the perpetrator. But there was none. Not surprising because they said it is consistent with the modus operandi of the person they have in mind. The device – same style and model – is ‘affiliated’ with this person. Unfortunately, these are ‘circumstantial (sic). Because of insufficient and inconclusive evidence, they are not able to place the person they have in mind in our church bathroom. …
“Fortunately, however, other police departments are pursuing the same person for another on-going case investigation (I am not sure if it is a crime of a similar nature or different and bigger). Happily, this is where they are confident they are going to get him. So, officially Sherwood police investigation of our incident is over. But other police departments (Tigard or Beaverton, I’m not exactly sure) are currently pursuing the person they think is also our perpetrator …”
The priest then asked the couple to pray for him because he was having some medical tests done.
On the last part, the medical tests, of course he would add that, to distract from the issue at hand.
In a court of law, if prosecuted, Fr. Bien deserves a presumption of innocence. No such presumption applies in our regular lives. I’m going out on a limb here and saying Fr. Bien was likely intimately and personally involved with placing this camera. If that excludes me from the jury pool in his potential upcoming criminal trial, well, too bad.
Serious kudos to the family here for not letting this go, and for following up with police themselves. That’s the way that all good Catholics should behave. I’m proud of them, even as I’m ashamed of one of the priests of my faith. Always listen to that little voice.
And yes, the device could have been bluetooth enabled. Now of course, you all should go read the entire article, but let me leave you with this gem: “A judge signed search warrants for the church, Bien’s home, his car, phones and computers.”
Oh, what a tangled web we weave, Fr. Bien.