Clovis Vilchez-Parra, former associate pastor at Mission San Juan Diego Catholic Church in Arlington Heights, Illinois was sentenced to four years in prison through for distributing child pornography.
The Chicago Tribune reports:
A former associate pastor at an Arlington Heights church was sentenced to four years in prison Thursday for distributing child pornography, according to court records.
Clovis Vilchez-Parra, 36, also was ordered to register as a sex offender after pleading guilty to the charge during a hearing in Cook County’s Rolling Meadows branch court. Numerous other pornography charges were dropped in exchange for his plea.
Vilchez-Parra was a priest at the Mission San Juan Diego Catholic Church at the time of his arrest in 2015 by police in Palatine, where he lived in housing provided by the Archdiocese of Chicago, authorities said.
Prosecutors said Vilchez-Parra used computer file-sharing software to locate, download and distribute pornographic images of children younger than 13. The computer activity was traced by the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, prosecutors said. Authorities obtained a search warrant and found the images on a laptop computer and a flash drive at his residence, prosecutors said.
After his arrest, the archdiocese said in a statement, Vilchez-Parra was withdrawn from ministry “pending the resolution of this matter.”
You can read the original story here.
One grows weary seeing the images of broken men who ‘serve the Lord’ and have to discover for themselves in ‘service’ or be discovered as sick bipeds. Personally, being made aware of the various punishments meted out to these people is not nearly sufficient. The punishment paradigm we have handed down in patriarchy is a massive failure, a shallow defense against the darkness of abuse in our world.
When will we ever strive for a bit more? Why is the public not interested in the reasons behind abusive acts? It is not victim-blaming to seek root causes in offensive acts committed, to bring to light the abuse suffered by men that then creates ‘monsters’ who are aroused by children, or who beat and shame those in their charge.. My feeling is that patriarchy fears insight and speculation, fears opening their own closets to the light. They want to hide in churches and positions of power and they seek those positions of cloaking, of uniforms in order to do the dirty deeds that will reveal their own histories, their own harm. We are not so unique and original at all. When as innocent children and youngsters we are loved and cherished, we flourish but if we are seriously harmed, then we carry that history in us forever. It does not change when we become preachers or policemen, teachers and doctors.
The knowledge is out there and kept under wraps by our history, our cultural history. Sadly, religion supports blind punishment, black and white thinking, perpetuating abuse. Newspaper, most media merely reflects our desire to keep the status-quo. We cry out in horror at crimes against children and then put the newspaper down and listen to preachers talk about the devil inhabiting humans and other such woo.
It makes an old man tired and miffed.
“…if we are seriously harmed, then we carry that history in us forever.” As I said in my other comment recently, we repeat what we have learned, because it is what has been imprinted on our brains early and often, thereby becoming the default setting. And when we are under stress, most of us revert to our default positions, even when we don’t want to.
That was a source of constant fear as I raised my own sons and I still made several grievous mistakes that can make me weep to merely think of to this day. Knowing I harmed my children or allowed them to be harmed due to my own ignorance and pain is an awful burden. I have apologized repeated and made what amends I can, but I can’t take away the scars and memories. It is heartbreaking, to say the least. I so wish I could have gotten the psychological help I so desperately needed decades sooner.
My youngest son had to take a one semester class called Childhood Development, complete with take-home doll/babies that had to be fed, changed, bathed and entertained. They were given facts rather than old wives’ tales and habit. That this happened in a rural Indiana school system of less than 1000 kids in K-12 combined gives me hope.
I do take some consolation in knowing that my mistakes were not as grievous as the ones my parents and elders made, but it is often small comfort. I never left welts that took days to go away; I never left a mark that last more than a couple of minutes and only on their butts. There was no sexual abuse. But I punished far too often and too harshly; I said things that never should have entered my head, let alone passed my lips. The remorse I feel is deep and will abide for the rest of my life. I can only pray that the burden I unwittingly placed on my own children is at least lighter than the one I have carried.
anotherami, you are a very brave person… that allows you to speak the truth and that is the character that you are passing on…. Thank-you for being as you are and for sharing it here.
I remember reading a British discussion about pedophilia. If we believe men can for a variety of reasons be attracted to children, how do we as a society deal with men who admit this desire, having not yet acted upon their desire? Can pedophiles be cured? How do we determine they are cured? If they can’t be cured, shouldn’t we lock them up so they can’t have access to children? When caught, they must be punished, but the greater question for me is how we keep this from happening in the first place. Abuse breeds abuse, often for generations. How do we best put an end to this violent, harmful cycle? We know religion doesn’t work. Telling people to repent and get right with God doesn’t change people. At best, it makes them outwardly conform, all the while they are secretly holding on to bad behaviors.
We cannot change the world. We can sing a song about doing so but then we go home. What we can do is begin there and love our children by not repeating the harm done to us and we can do that by spilling the beans ourselves and admitting the harm that we carry in us. Talk therapy is a portal to that possibility perhaps, seeing a therapist but I think that until the talk leads us to really feeling (a kind of re-experiencing), then we miss the mark and have pseudo-feelings around the harm.
So in order to allow love and freedom, we must fight to be free and to love. Our children accept love and freedom without all the trouble we have with it, that is, if we can offer it without passing on the harm we have carried in us too long.
Pedophiles are a specific end result of severe harm done early in childhood.
The answers might be in loving our kids from the get-go, not giving them over to sick Gods and Woo-men. Behind each true pedophile is one sick puppy who never had someone to look-out and stand by him. You cannot correct that, only prevent it.
A wise teacher once quit teaching to be a child advocate. He told me, First, do no harm. Second, let the child lead you.
Took me a long long time to hear his words and do it but he was sure on the money.
Those are questions we have yet to answer. My counselor was in the process of obtaining his doctorate in Human Sexuality and pedophilia was the subject of his dissertation. Probably the hardest thing to accept during my therapy was that I will never know why I was abused. At least back then ( 2002-2005), they did not have any idea what makes someone a pedophile.
Almost as difficult was the idea that if a pedophile were to be put into a room of young adults that included those who were sexually abused, they could probably pick out those people. (Testing this idea would highly unethical though.) Pedophiles seem to have the ability to instinctively know which children are most vulnerable and least likely to reveal the abuse.
As to your original question of how to deal with men who admit this attraction but have not acted on it, I am unsure of the proper course. While my own experience makes me want to keep this person away from kids at all costs, I also recognize that this is not justice in any way. I read once of a man just as you describe, but he had written down his thoughts in a private diary that had been found and read. He was being prosecuted for producing child pornography (his diary was explicit). I was deeply troubled by that incident, though I do not know the outcome of the case. Does such a person deserve to be punished? This was a private journal, not a manuscript draft he wanted to publish. In the same journal he also expressed how troubled he was by his own desires, clearly showing he had no intention of acting on them.
Is this entering into the arena of the ‘thought police’? That is clearly a direction we do not want go. Otherwise I would be in jail, because I have thought about committing murder in the heat of rage, though I went no further than the momentary thought. As strange as it might seem, I felt sorry for the poor man cited above. He clearly knew his desires were ‘bad’, yet could not stop them from reoccurring. That must be it’s own kind of hell. Far different from the hell of the victims, but hell nonetheless.
I wish we had more answers, but clearly they will be found through science and not religion. Otherwise, the Black Collar Crime series would have far fewer entries.