Deliver Us from Evil
Reviewed by Feb 5th, 2013

I had this in my Netflix queue for a while, and completely forgot about it until last night. It focuses mainly on “Father Ollie,” who abused 25 children in California over a span of twenty years. In addition to a few victims and their families, it also focuses on a larger problem of how the Catholic church deals with (or rather, does not deal with) priests who abuse children.

Some of the most powerful footage is of the Japanese/Irish couple who came to California, and allowed Father O’Grady to stay overnight in their home on many occasions. They had no idea he was raping their young daughter right under their noses. They were good Catholics who automatically trusted clergy. The daughter didn’t tell her parents because her father had once said he’d kill anyone who harmed her, and she didn’t want her dad to go to jail.

Another woman interviewed went to a camp where she didn’t have any friends, and started spending time with O’Grady. He soon began molesting her, as well.

Third, they interviewed a man named Adam and his family, and he talks about O’Grady raping him in his family’s kitchen when he was a young boy, and the effects it has had on him since.

There are also a lot of interviews and courtroom footage of O’Grady and Bishop Mahony, later the archbishop of Los Angeles. He is very evasive when questioned, and claimes to have had no idea what was going on. He moved O’Grady to other areas every time there was a scandal. Mahoney also talks about how he didn’t see a pattern in the early molestation allegations, because one was a girl and another a boy. One victim was told that she wasn’t taken seriously because she was female, and if she’s been a boy, they’d have looked into it more.

It makes for painful viewing, especially when Bob Jyono finally breaks down on camera. Jyono also makes a good point about people euphemizing the situation. He doesn’t want to use the word “molested,” he wants to use the word “rape.” I agree. So many people in the documentary talk about “touching.” “Touching” sounds so harmless. A psychologist interviewed says to understand this, we really need to sit down and visualize exactly what happened in these cases, imagining every detail. She then talks about O’Grady raping a nine month old baby.

O’Grady himself laughs and smiles a lot, and seems very detached. He says these things “should not have happened,” but seems quite blissfully unaware of the impact he had on these people’s lives. He was deported back to Ireland, living as a free man, shown wandering through the streets next to children. O’Grady does say one thing that I agreed with, that, in some ways, we are still living in the Dark Ages.

Besides the obvious molestation problems, the larger problem is discussed in footage of Father Tom Doyle. He basically says it’s all about saving face, the rights of children mean nothing to the church when compared to making the church look good. Someone compares it to the mafia. The end of the film notes how George Bush gave Pope Benedict immunity from any legal issues stemming from child abuse coverups.


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