Monsignor Alan Placa, the priest who presided over the wedding of Rudy Giuliani and Donna Hannover, stands accused of repeatedly sexually molesting at least three boys at his former parish. Amid the controversy, Placa stepped down from his duties at the Long Island Catholic diocese, but he did not have much trouble finding work. According to ABC News:
Presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani hired a Catholic priest to work in his consulting firm months after the priest was accused of sexually molesting two former students and an altar boy and told by the church to stop performing his priestly duties.
In 2002, a Grand Jury found that Placa, along with several of his fellow priests, could not be prosecuted because the statute of limitations had passed on the crimes. Placa also had a role in covering up the sexual crimes of the clergy, including his own, as he worked as the lawyer for the diocese, employing what the Grand Jury termed, "deception and intimidation," to keep the allegations from the light of day.
Mr. Placa remains on the Giuliani payroll, despite the growing outcry from protesters at his campaign events. In an appearance on "Good Morning America" one of the victims, Richard Tollner, had this to say about Placa and his Giuliani's relationship:
"This man did unjust things, and he's being protected and employed and taken care of. It's not a good thing."
Rudy's response to those who would criticize his choice of company is now a familiar one. As is the case with Bernard Kerik, Giuliani is standing by Placa:
"I know the man; I know who he is, so I support him," Giuliani said. "We give some of the worst people in our society the presumption of innocence and benefit of the doubt," he said. "And, of course, I'm going to give that to one of my closest friends."
Such compassionate rhetoric from the man running on his law and order record as New York's mayor is a tad hard to swallow. Mr. Giuliani has always prided himself on possessing a prosecutor's zeal, but it seems that when his own friends are the criminals in question, his loyalty comes first. Indeed, the Grand Jury found plenty of evidence against Placa, but the shelf-life of the statue had simply expired. Mr. Kerik may not be so lucky. He faces Federal charges on bribery and obstruction of justice.
The question is whether these episodes tell us something about the kind of president Mr. Giuliani would make. Certainly, he's not the only candidate whose judgement had been called into play as regards misplaced personal loyalties. Mitt Romney and Barack Obama come to mind. But what is particularly striking in Rudy's case is that in stretching his compassion to cover the indiscretions of his friends, he undercuts a central theme of his own making: that he's tough on crime.