Monday, December 07, 2009

The Greenwich Board of Non-Ethics

Probably relatively few people in Town have had much occasion to deal with the so-call Board of Ethics, but back in the day when the nutty ex-wife (NEW for short) was doing everything in her power to disrupt his life, your scribe once turned to this organization in a predictably futile effort to seek help. Unbeknownst to everyone in Greenwich at the time, the Board was itself violating every code of proper FOI ethics, including failure to calendar meetings, to keep minutes, or indeed to keep records of just about any kind. And then, of course, there was the perennial problem of the local Roman Catholic clergy to deal with....

"The PP of the LRCC? Whatever can you mean, dear scribe?" Ah, dear reader, where to begin? The financial swindling of St. Michael the Archangel on North Street by Michael Moynihan? The sexual predations of Charlie Stubbs at St. Mary's on Greenwich Avenue, or Al McGoldrick at St. Paul's in Glenville? The cover-ups and transfers of abusive priests by William Genuario of St. Catherine's in Riverside? Perhaps these wolves in clerical clothing may suffice as a starting point.

Not that the Roman Catholic clergy have any kind of lock on misbehavior in Town. Two priests have been dismissed for cause at Christ Church in recent years, not to mention the unfortunate discovery of child pornography on choirmaster Robert Tate's computer, the aftermath of which got the church's then attorney, the notorious Phil Russell, branded as a felon. When Rebecca Spencer's illicit affair on church property with the son of her superior, Mert Rymph, at the Second Congregational Church became public knowledge, the members quickly gave her a standing ovation and arranged for her to find another job out of state. And then there were the serial adulteries at the local hot-sheets motel carried on by Dick Stearns, then Senior Pastor at the First Presbyterian Church. Dick also used a trust fund left to the church as his personal cash kitty. So no, sad to say, the Catholics do not have any denominational exclusivity on clerical misbehavior.

But back to the Board of Non-Ethics, our subject of the day. When the NEW abused her position as a Town of Greenwich employee by creating fake library "fines" to block your scribe's borrowing privileges, this appeared to violate a section of the Town's Code of Ethics that proscribed using one's Town employment to the detriment of others. And so your scribe called on Board member Bill Genuario at the rectory of St. Catherine's in hopes of finding redress.

Glib and smooth, Genuario pretended to listen. But something else was obviously going on behind his eyes, which were a little too shifty for your scribe's taste. No surprise, then, when it devolved that this grievance was deemed to be "outside the Board of Ethic's purview", or words to that effect.

Your scribe should have known better than to waste his time. The Diocese of Bridgeport documents recently unsealed by court order show that Genuario was part and parcel of the ongoing cover-up process of moving abusive priests from parish to parish rather than disclipining and defrocking them according to canon law.

Ah, canon law. Yes, indeed. Guess, dear reader, who is presently in charge of the diocese's Tribunal, its highest court of canon law, which is always ready to annul any marriage upon payment of a suitably serious sum, or to twist and turn "facts" so as to lay the blame for sexual abuse on the victims? Well, you probably don't have to guess. It is Bill Genuario, who admitted in a deposition writing a letter transferring a priest at Sacred Heart University who had performed oral sex on a male student and then bitten his penis, causing the student to seek medical aid. "A recurrence of hepatitus was to be feigned should anyone ask," said Genuario's letter - which, it turns out, he typed himself.

So why should he care a fig for a trumped-up library card fine? He dealt with real issues, serious issues, in a real and serious way. No wonder his eyes were so shifty.

And no wonder at the total lack of ethics on the Board of Ethics in those waning days of the 20th century. Are things any better today? Well, reportedly the paperwork is now more complete than it used to be. But can the citizens of Greenwich really sleep safely in their beds at night, knowing that this fearless bastion of high moral standards is keeping vigilant watch over the goings-on in our fair Town? Only in your dreams, dear reader...only in your dreams.


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