NEW YORK (ChurchMilitant.com) - On Thursday, New York's Cdl. Timothy Dolan announced he was hiring former judge Barbara Jones to conduct an independent investigation into the archdiocese's handling of sex abuse cases. But some are doubting the vigor of Jones' investigation into homosexual misconduct because of her track record on issues like abortion and same-sex "marriage."
In a press conference Thursday, Cdl. Dolan announced measures to respond to the sex abuse scandal, including his hiring of Jones. Addressing the former federal judge, he said, "I've given you a lot to do, judge, but I need your help if I am going to respond to my people's plea for accountability, transparency and action."
"I look forward to receiving your recommendations and your insights, and I pledge that I will take them all with utmost seriousness," Dolan added.
But some faithful Catholics do not feel so confident in Jones' ability to address the root of the clerical abuse crisis, arguing she has an ideological blindspot concerning homosexuality. In June 2012, Jones struck down a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) which denied benefits to same-sex couples.
In the case that Jones ruled on in 2012, there was a woman whose lesbian partner passed away. In order to inherit her property, she had to pay $363,000 in federal estate taxes, because DOMA did not allow it to be passed on tax-free the way it would between husband and wife.
Jones was appointed to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York by then-President Bill Clinton in 1995. She retired from that position in 2013 to enter private practice with Bracewell LLP. In 2013–2014, Jones chaired the Response Systems to Adult Sexual Assault Crimes Panel, created by Congress to assess the handling of sexual assault in the armed forces.
Most recently, Jones was involved in reviewing documents in the criminal case against Michael Cohen, former personal lawyer to President Donald Trump. Cohen pleaded guilty on Aug. 21 to a slew of charges such as tax fraud and unlawful corporate contributions.
The former judge said during Thursday's press conference, "My review will focus on the efficacy of the programs and whether the archdiocese has followed its existing protocols in addressing reports of abuse."
She also said, "The cardinal has asked me to be really rigorous in my examination and call out deficiencies as I see them. He has assured me that he will take appropriate action as expeditiously as possible based upon my recommendations."
Jones' pro-gay history is worrying to some faithful Catholics. Amid the ongoing sex abuse scandal, some leftists have been quick to defend gay priests, claiming homosexuality in the priesthood is not the source of the problem.
But the actual statistics suggest otherwise. The John Jay Report, a study commissioned by the Church in the United States, found in 2004 that 80 percent of the alleged victims of priestly sex abuse were male and nearly 90 percent were post-pubescent. An updated version of the John Jay Report in 2011 had about the same percentages: 81 percent male and 78 percent post-pubescent.
The Boston Globe's findings in 2003 showed the same trend — more than 90 percent of cases involved male victims.
A 2005 document from the Vatican officially banned gays from seminary, saying, "The Church, while profoundly respecting the persons in question, cannot admit to the seminary or to holy orders those who practice homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called 'gay culture.'"
On Sept. 6, the New York attorney general announced an investigation into priestly sex abuse and sex abuse cover-ups in all eight Catholic dioceses in the state.