When you know someone who is murdered

The news report this week of someone shot dead in their garage hardly penetrated my consciousness, so used are we to the reporting of such gruesome events. A couple of days later, I received an email from a friend in Queensland with nothing more than a link. I followed the link and found to my horror that the man shot dead was Dr Luping Zeng whose skin cancer clinic I have been attending for the last six or seven years.

One can only grasp the horror of the killing of an innocent person when you have known them so well.

Dr Zeng was unfailingly polite in his manner and supremely professional in his work. His family will be devastated, but hardly more than his many patients and colleagues at the Watford clinic.

It is difficult to comprehend that a 17-year-old has been arrested for Dr Zeng’s murder. What was the 17-year-old doing with a gun? And why did he think he had to use it on a much older small man whom he could have manhandled out of his way?

Where is this taking us?

Many people my age are asking the same question.

‘Between coincidence and imitation: what would the Pell jurors have made of this?’

The Australian’s Cut and Paste rubric (11 April 2019) ran the following reports and comments together. I suggest the scrutiny of the Pell conviction has only just begun.

Keith Windschuttle in Quadrant magazine on the George Pell child sex abuse case, April 7:

… what is the probability that the evidence given in Australia was not an authentic account of what happened in Melbourne but, rather, a copy of a story that had already been aired in print and online? Here are the similarities between the American (2011 Engelhardt case) and the Australian allegations: Both cases of sexual abuse occurred in the sacristy after Sunday Mass. In both cases, the victims had been drinking wine they found in the sacristy … Both boys were made to kneel before the priest. Both boys were made to perform fellatio on the priest. Both the alleged victims were the only witnesses who testified for the prosecution in court … This does not mean the (Pell) accuser (Victim J) was deliberately making it up. He might have come to persuade himself the events actually happened, or some therapist might have helped him “recover” his memory.

The 2011 claim by a former Philadelphia altar boy, “Billy Doe”, may have been a fabrication, Ralph Cipriano, Newsweek, January 20, 2016:

Catholic Guilt? The Lying, Scheming Altar Boy Behind a Lurid Rape Case

Priests, altar boys and wine — could this be a meme? CatholiCity review of the 2008 film Doubt, February 20, 2009:

The drama focuses on the question of whether Father Flynn (Philip Seymour 

Hoffman) is worthy of the admiration so easily extended to him by the altar boys … or is guilty, as suspected by Sister Aloysius (Meryl Streep), of being the worst type of predator … (It turns on) circumstantial evidence: Fr Flynn’s calling the young Donald Muller one day … to come to the rectory; the boy’s returning to class looking upset and with alcohol on his breath … When they confront Fr Flynn, the priest first expresses his indignation … and then gives a partial explanation. He called Donald over to speak about the young boy’s having drunk some of the altar wine earlier in the sacristy. He didn’t inform the sisters because he knew it would result in his being expelled from the altar serving corps.

There’s a long history of anti-Catholic stories about depraved priests and altar boys. American Greatness, Michael Walsh, August 15, 2018:

The priapic cleric has been a staple of creative pornography since Rabelais and de Sade, and the list of sins attributable to the popes alone would make a harlot blush.

But such stories may sometimes (or often?) be a reliable guide to an evil reality. RTE news, June 24, 2013:

A former Catholic priest, who confessed to sexually assaulting two altar boys in the sacristy of a Co Cork church over 20 years ago, has been imprisoned for 12 months.

Unanimous jury verdict in Pell’s case, December 11 last year:

Guilty.

‘Catholic Guilt? The Lying, Scheming Altar Boy Behind a Lurid Rape Case’

The above is the heading to a Newsweek report about a sexual abuse case in the US. It is reminiscent of several in Australia. The report by Ralph Cipriano should be read carefully, mindful of possible parallels with cases in Australia.

On October 9, 2015, a former Philadelphia altar boy reported to the office of Dr. Stephen Mechanick to undergo a court-ordered forensic psychiatric evaluation. It took nearly three hours because the two men had a lot of ground to cover. Daniel Gallagher is a slender 27-year-old with a wispy beard who is better known as “Billy Doe.” Under that pseudonym, he made national headlines in 2011 when he claimed to have been serially raped as a fifth- and sixth-grader at St. Jerome’s parish by two priests and a Catholic schoolteacher.

Gallagher subsequently became the Philadelphia district attorney’s star witness at two historic criminal trials. His graphic testimony helped convict three alleged assailants, as well as Monsignor William Lynn, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s former secretary for clergy, who was found guilty of endangering the welfare of a child. The monsignor became the first Catholic administrator in the country to go to jail for failing to adequately supervise a sexually abusive priest.

The Billy Doe rape story was so sensational it attracted the attention of crusadingRolling Stone writer Sabrina Rubin Erdely. She described Billy Doe in a 2011 story, “The Catholic Church’s Secret Sex-Crime Files,” as a “sweet, gentle kid with boyish good looks” who had been callously “passed around” from predator to predator. According to the charges recounted by Erdely, two priests and a Catholic schoolteacher “raped and sodomized the 10-year-old, sometimes making him perform stripteases or getting him drunk on sacramental wine after Mass.”

Read on…

The Borrowed Testimony that Convicted George Pell

Keith Windschuttle, Quadrant, 8 April 2019

“Billy” was a 10-year-old student at St. Jerome School in 1998, and an altar boy just like his older brother before him. A sweet, gentle kid with boyish good looks, Billy was outgoing and well-liked. One morning, after serving Mass, Rev. Charles Engelhardt caught Billy in the church sacristy sipping leftover wine. Rather than get mad, however, the priest poured Billy more wine. According to the grand jury, he also showed him some pornographic magazines, asking the boy how the pictures made him feel and whether he preferred the images of naked men or women. He told Billy it was time to become a man and that they would soon begin their “sessions.” A week later, Billy learned what Engelhardt meant. After Mass, the priest allegedly fondled the boy, sucked his penis and ordered Billy to kneel and fellate him – calling him “son” while instructing him to move his head faster or slower – until Engelhardt ejaculated. The priest later suggested another “session,” but Billy refused and Engelhardt let him be.
                              
— Sabrina Rubin Erdely, “The Catholic Church’s Secret Sex-Crime Files”,
                                                                                   Rolling Stone, 15 September 2011

What is the difference between this account of child sex abuse in a Catholic church in Philadelphia and the evidence given by the sole accuser in the Victorian court case that convicted Cardinal George Pell of sexually abusing a thirteen-year-old choir boy at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Melbourne, in 1996? Not much…

Read on…