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Is There Really "No Trouble Here"?

Re "No Trouble Here, Diocese Says" (Street Talk, March 5): Cardinal Law of Boston recently disclosed facts related to allegations of sexual misconduct going back 40 years. Over 80 priests were implicated. By contrast, Richmond's Father Pat Apuzzo tells us only about confirmed incidents of current priests, and states that there have been no allegations since 1994. I suspect the number of active priests in the Diocese of Richmond is also much smaller than that in Boston. If the same rules of disclosure were applied, would we see a similar percentage of priests implicated?

Apuzzo claims that the Richmond Diocese has "been addressing this issue publicly for a long, long time," citing the diocese's first policy in 1988, but the U.S. bishops' conference drafted a similar document the previous year. Strangely, neither policy, nor the subsequent Richmond policies, specifically instruct the diocese to contact law-enforcement agencies.

Apuzzo denies any "confirmed" cases of sexual misconduct for current priests. Part of the reason for disclosing allegations to legal agencies is that it allows proper confirmation of cases, and this has not been enforced. Even the diocesan policy indicates that allegations should be reported to the bishop, not necessarily to Child Protective Services.

The 1994 incident regarding Father Hesch reveals the diocese's inability to handle these matters appropriately. Allegations of illegal activity were made, but standard legal obligation was ignored and the bishop himself confronted Hesch. Had the diocese involved local civil authorities instead of dealing with the allegations internally, Hesch's life might have been saved and justice might have been served.

Apuzzo attempts to address the immediate concern: Should I be worried about my parish priest? But he fails to address the more pressing concern, that diocesan policy and practice allow the church to skirt the legal and moral obligation to report allegations of misconduct to legal authorities. Perhaps the diocese's "policy of openness" should include public discourse to determine how well parishioners feel they are being served by diocesan policy.

Pete LegatoRichmond's Hispanics Offer Much

In response to "Mi Ciudad" (Cover Story, March 12), all I can say is "bien hecho!" I find the Latino culture a rich tapestry of unique people, history, food, music and dance, and it's about time we recognized it.

Richmonders should welcome the opportunity to enjoy all this culture has to offer. We have different cultural festivals around here, and we would do well by having a huge Hispanic festival to get all people together and learn about it. The Greek festival is such a success that I would like to see the same thing with the flavor of Latino food, music and dance.

Jodi Bock

Re "Mi Ciudad" by Meg Medina: As a Hispanic who has lived in Richmond for the past 20 years, I can relate very well to the "Richmond experience." The Hispanic familia is just that — we are a people of passionate concern for others; we do not take sides. As the city continues to bicker over issues that are "black and white," we are growing and uniting to become a community which will change the face of Virginia and the rest of the country.

I hope to see many more articles, reports, etc. shedding light on the needs of this community. Thank you, Meg!

Jose M. RubioRemember: Speed Kills

I find it ironic that in your issue of March 19, in which you include a Family Style section ("What makes family life better in Richmond?"), that you have a snide remark in The Score about new traffic lights that says, "be prepared to go slow."

Yes, some of us actually live in the city, with our children and our pets. As you drive through our neighborhoods on the way to your homes in the counties and the far West End, please do go slow. The speed limit in the city in most places is 25 mph, not the 50 mph that many of you drive on Cary Street and Ellwood Avenue.

If you want to drive faster, take US 95 or 64 or I95 or other high-speed roads. In return, we promise not to come out where you are and drive fast through your neighborhoods.

Sally Camp

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