Church abuse scandel raised in Mo. congressional race

by Dennis Coday

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You readers can check me on this, but I think that this is the first instance of the Catholic church's sex abuse scandal being raised as a possible issue in a congressional race.

Read these two stories, Website Claims Ed Martin Hid Priest Sexual Abuse and Accusations fly in the 3rd district over anti-Martin website, for the details, but here is my summary of the case:

Ed Martin, a protege of Justin Rigali before Rigali was archbishop of St. Louis, is the Republican candidate for the 3rd Congressional District in Missouri. Martin has a law degree from St. Louis University, and Rigali hired him as director of the St. Louis archdiocesan Human Rights Office. He also served in the archdiocesan curia, the official advisory body for the archbishop.

Fox News in St. Louis reports that "Martin, a favorite of the Tea Party movement, has mounted an unexpectedly strong challenge to incumbent" U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan, a Democrat.

Suddenly a Web site appears,, which alleges that because of Martin's position on the archdiocesan curia, he must have been privy to discussions about sexually abusive Catholics priests, and implies that he may have been aware of attempts by the archdiocese to cover up the priest abusers and/or move the abusive priests from parish to parish. But, the web site alleges, Martin took no action.

Martin has said the web site is a smear campaign engineered by his rival.

The Carnahan campaign says it has nothing to do with the web site, although the campaign does acknowledge that the man behind the web site, Michael Corwin, a political "opposition researcher" and investigator based in New Mexico, was hired by the Carnahan campaign to investigate Martin.

Corwin said he stopped working for the campaign in May after Carnahan's people refused to use the material he dug up on Martin. Carnahan's people confirm this.

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