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Stop passing judgment on other people

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Posted: Saturday, April 28, 2012 12:00 am | Updated: 6:57 am, Sat Apr 28, 2012.

I am writing this letter because I have been reading about Father Michael Kelly and all of the people who say they know him and how he could not have done what he is being accused of. Then, there are the others who say the plaintiff is lying and is only in it for the money.

I am not passing judgment, because I feel only God can do that. But having been sexually abused myself 50 years ago, I would like to say as a former victim that the victim never forgets when this happens. The memory can suppress itself for a time, but you never forget. I still remember everything about my incident very vividly, but my attacker (a family member) still swears he does not remember.

For those of you who swear you are certain Father Kelly would not do this, to you I say that you did not know him at the time the incident happened. He was probably a different person, and most likely does not remember what happened himself.

It took me 40 years to forgive my attacker because that is what God wanted me to do, and that is what the plaintiff in this case should be doing.

Everyone should stop passing judgment and pray for both Father Kelly and the plaintiff — that they both can find peace.

Betty Peters


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Welcome to the discussion.


  • Steve Schmidt posted at 4:48 pm on Sun, Apr 29, 2012.

    Steve Schmidt Posts: 2680

    Excellent posts Mr Kinderman.

  • Jerome Kinderman posted at 2:12 pm on Sun, Apr 29, 2012.

    Jerome R Kinderman Posts: 2370

    Another thing that confuses me is people who would have us actually believe that God should be the only one to pass judgment. For Christians and Jews, just where in the Bible does it suggest such a thing? "Judge not, lest ye be judged" has always been taken out of context.

    As human beings we are beholden to the laws of men just as to our Heavenly Father. Without judgment, how could those laws ever be upheld? Or are juries in violation of God’s Will? I think not.

  • Ben Sanacore posted at 10:02 pm on Sat, Apr 28, 2012.

    Ben Sanacore Posts: 106

    There are excellent points in all of your posts on this subject Darrell. Thank you for taking the time and perservering in your efforts to help people understand what injustice has occurred in Fr. Kelly's case.

    Does anyone remember a Mr. Rose who was convicted of raping a young girl and was sent to prison? He served nearly ten years at Mule Creek State Prison in Ione, Calif for this alleged rape. Later it was discovered that DNA on the victim's under clothing did not match that of Mr. Rose. Mr. Rose was released from prison; his record was cleared; and he was paid a well deserved amount of money for the time he spent in prison.

    Want to hear the really interesting part? This girl testified in court that Mr. Rose had raped her. Aggressive police questioning and suggestion had convinced the girl that Mr. Rose was guility. Oh yeah, everyone, accusers and juries get it wrong all the time.

    Just imagine what it must feel like to be falsely accused and punished, sometimes with the taking of your freedom, for a crime you did not commit? There is only one thing worse than being a victim of a crime; it is being falsely accused and convicted of that crime. It is an outrage against humanity.

  • Ben Sanacore posted at 9:32 pm on Sat, Apr 28, 2012.

    Ben Sanacore Posts: 106

    Mr. Lennon, you need to take a page from Ms. Peters book. You need to find forgiveness and peace. Your bitterness and unresolved anger have caused you to be blinded to logic and reason in Fr. Kelly's case. Vengeance in the guise of helping children will ruin you life. You do not help children and you do not further justice when you destroy an innocent person.

  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 3:39 pm on Sat, Apr 28, 2012.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9405

    For me... this is not a matter of passing judgment on Travis Trotter or Mike Kelly. This is about justice and keeping faith in a court system.

    Many horrible crimes and murders happen on a daily basis. For years, I wanted the death penalty enforced upon people convicted of these things.
    Today, I am against the death penalty because of the realization that many “innocent” people were found guilty and imprisoned. Thanks to DNA evidence, many falsely accused and convicted people have been set free after years of false imprisonment.

    In repressed memory cases that have “no” evidence to examine, false accusations cannot be refuted as no absolute DNA evidence is available. It makes it too easy for a false accuser to win their case.

    I think it is everyone's duty and responsibility to make certain we pass judgment on the quality of our judicial system. We should not want innocent people punished. When the bar is set so low that a person can be convicted with unreliable repressed memories that cannot be substantiated, we are sentencing
    “justice” to death.

  • Tim Lennon posted at 9:46 am on Sat, Apr 28, 2012.

    Tim Lennon Posts: 45

    I am so sorry to hear of your abuse. I admire your courage for bringing your story before the public. I wish you well in your continued healing.

  • Ben Sanacore posted at 7:01 am on Sat, Apr 28, 2012.

    Ben Sanacore Posts: 106

    Ms. Peters, when allegations of sexual abuse toward anyone are brought forward they must be proven. These are such heinous allegations that can destroy a persons life, so I repeat that they must be proven.

    The allegations in Fr. Kelly's case were completely unsubstatiated. What this case boils down to is he said and he said. Fr. Kelly's word is not less credible than Travis Trotter's word. Pedophiles usually don't stop with one victim; they often possess child pornography; and they often engage in on-line activities related to child sexual attraction. No such evidence was presented. No physical evidence was presented. Many others have clearly explained why Mr. Trotter's case clearly doesn't hold water. Above all else, many many people have stated that such charges are completely out of character for Fr. Kelly.

    I'm very sorry that you were molested. You deserve every consideration. I'm glad you've found forgiveness and peace; they will nourish your soul.

    You're right, we should pray for both Fr. Kelly and Travis Trotter. We should also pray for justice because it was not served in this case, and it sets a bad precedent for the destruction of other people under such false accusations in the future.

  • Jerome Kinderman posted at 6:05 am on Sat, Apr 28, 2012.

    Jerome R Kinderman Posts: 2370

    I'm a bit confused.

    On one hand the title along with Ms. Peters suggests that we should withhold judgment of others regarding what they may or may not have done in the past. Without delving too far into the fact that simply as a course of human nature we all are susceptible to passing judgment - it can't be helped – such judgment is a very personal thing to those who went through such terrible ordeals. But insofar as what happens to those who break the law, it's true that only a jury or judge has the ability to not only judge, but also to punish.

    Onward to the confusing part. Ms. Peters also puts forth the notion that she doesn't forget all those things that have happened to her - the horrible ones in particular - and I agree. My heart goes out to her. But then she actually wants us to believe that those who perpetrate these crimes actually might forget what they've done. I find that hard to believe.

    And while Ms. Peters has found her inner peace by forgiving the one who violated her so many years ago, I don't think it is appropriate for her to even suggest that the plaintiff (or should that be victim) in this case should do the same thing.

    Every one of us "should" do whatever it takes for us to find our way through such terrible nightmares. For others it might very well mean knowing that the criminal is safely ensconced within a very small prison cell for the rest of their lives - regardless if they might probably be different people today than way back when.

  • Steve Schmidt posted at 4:36 am on Sat, Apr 28, 2012.

    Steve Schmidt Posts: 2680

    Great letter Betty. Thank you for sharing your painful but relevant experience.

    The simple truth is that we live in a society of laws. The jury has spoken loud and clear in this case and the defendant has confirmed their decision by fleeing the country.

    Until the criminal investigations in neighboring counties resolve themselves, the time has come for the rest of us to sit down, shut up and give the victim the peace that Father Kelly denied him all those years ago.


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