Yesteday was a busy day in a very different kind of way. The suicide of Father Dale Crampton has touched a nerve in so many, myself included.
There are two articles posted regarding the suicide:
14 October 2010: City priest convicted of sexual assaults kills himself
14 October 2010: Pedophile priest leaps to death
Victims and others are wrestling with their emotions on this. I too am trying to understand my own thoughts.
I find there is no joy in the suicide of a priest, even one who has inflicted so much pain and suffering on others and one who, with his many confreres, has been party to so sorely tarnishing the image of the priesthood and bringing scandal to the Church.
It’s strange. Would it be different had he died of a massive heart attack? Would I feel differently had he died of natural causes? I don’t know. I think so. I think it would be different. I don’t believe I would be left wondering and as unsettled as I am had he died of natural causes.
There is something terribly sad about anyone reaching such a point of despair that suicide is seen as the only resort, – when that someone is a priest it’s numbing and confusing, even when, yes, he is a convicted child molester.
Someone suggested to me that it could well be that Crampton vowed he would never set foot inside a jail again, and that, since he was under investigation yet again, he saw and feared the cell block looming.
That I suppose is a possibility. But, then I think: a priest committing suicide to avoid another stint in jail? Maybe. I just don’t know. I know the inside of a jail only through Perry’s experience. I know Perry didn’t tell me everything. But, I know it wasn’t pleasant. But, suicide to avoid it? I have difficulty with that. Still, maybe. Maybe. But, a priest?! A part of me can not fathom it. But then I can not fathom a priest molesting a child either.
I wonder why he chose to jump to his death? Why not a gun? or an overdose? Suicide is bad enough, but there’s something about jumping from a balcony which, at least for me, is particularly chilling. There’s no turning back. And, there’s time to think – however brief, there is time to think.
I wonder if he begged God’s forgiveness? In that brief spell after he jumped did Father Crampton beg God’s forgiveness?
I wonder why he never sought laicization? It seems he had little use for the Church, so why did he stay? And why did he still want to be a priest? Was it a financial thing? Was it perhaps not so much a case of wanting to remain a priest as it was needing whatever financial assistance he may have received from the diocese? Perhaps that’s it.
We now learn that there apparently were sex abuse allegations against Father Crampton dating back to the early 60s. He was ordained in 1963. Was he molesting from the day he was ordained? It sounds like it, doesn’t it?. That begs the inevitable question: Was he molesting while he was in the seminary? If indeed he was, why would he dare think himself fit for ordination?
Did he have no conscience? How could he possibly do the despicable things he did and not have a conscience?
Diocesan officials allegedly knew he was abusing in the 60s and did nothing. Setting aside the obvious fact that from that day forward children were wilfully put at risk and were indeed molested, what favour did they do Father Crampton? What favour did they do him by recycling him? It’s a given it was no favour to his victims, but was it, in the long run, a favour to Crampton?
I wonder too if he was devoid of even one tiny little vestige of faith? Was there nothing left? Absolutely nothing?
And I wonder if before he took that awful plunge he thought for one little moment about his many victims? I wonder if he considered apologizing to the many whose innocence he had so selfishly violated? Did he? I wonder.
I hope he begged God forgiveness in those final seconds of his life. I hope he thought of and prayed for his victims.
He may have. I think there was time.
So very unsettling. May God have mercy on his tortured soul.
A final note. There was no obituary in the paper.
Other media which some may not have seen, with quick comment
(1) 14 October 2010: Priest’s bail hearing continues Monday
Why does this go on and on and on? One bail hearing after the other.
(2) 14 October 2010: Investigation into Sexual Abuse Allegations Against Priest Ongoing: RCMP
Good news that the investigation is ongoing. It’s taking a long time.
(3) 14 October 2010: Retired priest faces new charges
Finally Ted Holland’s allegations against Hod Marshall have been heeded and acted upon. Perseverance paid. Good for you Ted, and good for the others who had the courage to come forward.
(4) 14 October 2010: Priests child sex abuse scandal spreads to third Ontario city
There is actually a warrant out for Hod Marshall’s ’s arrest! That apparently will be negated if and when the Sudbury charges are joined with those in Windsor. Hod’s lawyer Andrew Bradie apparently hopes to have all charges from Toronto and Sudbury transferred to Windsor.
Here is the current breakdown of charges and allegations against Hod Marshall:
Sudbury: 6 complainants. 6 counts of indecent assault. 6 counts of gross indecency
Windsor: 6 complainants. 1 count sexual assault. 5 counts indecent assault
Toronto: One victim. 2 counts indecent assault. Three additional complaints under investigations
The current totals:
Complainants: 13 whose allegations have led to charges and
3 whose allegations are still under investigation
Enough for now,