|Just What Are You Looking for, Sir?|
By John W. Lillpop
Never underestimate the sheer idiocy that the federal government is capable of when it comes to the simplest, most common sense issues.
For example, take the case of Thomas Harkins who was a Catholic priest with the Diocese of Camden, New Jersey, until 2002, when he was removed owing to allegations of sex abuse.
As reported at reference 1, despite Harkins’ tainted background, the man found work at TSA, in a sensitive security post no less:
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The CBS 3 I-Team has learned that a Catholic priest who was removed from the ministry over sex abuse allegations now holds a sensitive security post at Philadelphia International Airport.There you go, travelers! A word of advice seems appropriate:
The security checkpoint between Terminals D and E is a busy place where thousands of people – including lots of kids – pass through every day. But you might not believe who the I-Team observed working as a TSA supervisor at that checkpoint this week: Thomas Harkins.
Until 2002, Harkins was a Catholic priest working at churches across South Jersey. But the Diocese of Camden removed him from ministry because it found he sexually abused two young girls. Now, in a new lawsuit, a third woman is claiming she also is one of Harkins’ victims.
The I-Team asked Harkins about the suit as he was leaving his shift at the airport.
“I have nothing to say,” was Harkins’ reply.
The new lawsuit, filed in federal court against the Camden Diocese says quite a bit. It accuses Harkins of sexually abusing an 11-year-old girl 10 to 15 times in 1980 and 1981. The lawsuit, filed on behalf of the alleged victim, claims the abuse occurred while Harkins was a priest at Saint Anthony of Padua parish in Hammonton, NJ, with one assault even occurring in Harkins’ bedroom at the rectory.
The I-Team asked Harkins if the traveling public should be worried.
“No, they shouldn’t be,” he said.
“The public should not be worried with you in a position like this despite your past?” reporter Ben Simmoneau asked.
“I have nothing to say,” Harkins repeated.
“They should know who they’re hiring,” said Karen Polesir, a Philadelphia spokeswoman with the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP). She believes Harkins’ TSA job is inappropriate.
The TSA says all its employees go through a criminal background check before they’re hired, but because these cases are so old, criminal charges were not filed. A spokesman says the Camden Diocese settled the first two lawsuits with Harkins’ accusers–it has not seen this suit just yet.”
Next time an overly-eager TSA screener leers at your “junk,” remember this: That fellow or Philly with the creepy hands has probably seen it all in his or her sordid past. Consider it a high compliment that he or she is actually interested in your endowments!