A Predator Priest (Kindle Single) - David Margolick This is a Kindle "Single." I guess it's a good idea. Reads like a nice, in-depth New Yorker article (a good thing.) (People unfamiliar with Bissonette's story should stop reading here.) The story follows the tragic career of a very troubled priest, Father Barney Bissonette, who, unconscionably, was moved from one parish to another in order for the Catholic Church to hide Bissonette's proclivity for molesting church acolytes.

One family of thirteen -- despite several very dangerous pregnancies the Church had insisted the parents not use birth-control as being too "selfish" -- was particularly hard hit and Thomas Deary, one of the older boys,committed suicide, unable to bear the shame and secrecy of it all. So three of his brothers decide to get even with Bissonette, now retired and ill in New Mexico.

The banality of the situation (or in Hannah Arendt's view, evil) is driven home sharply by the prosaic nature of the settlements agreed to by the Church: While Bissonnette cost the Santa Fe Archdiocese (or its insurers) $2 million or more in settlements, the individual payouts were actually quite modest. As always, the law broke things down very pragmatically: fondling (a one-time occurrence brought about $25,000) was worth less than oral sex, oral sex less than anal sex, anal sex less than anal sex with bleeding. Also factored in was the frequency and duration of the abuse. Not only the Church but its victims -- more determined to avoid embarrassment than to cash in to the max -- wanted these matters disposed of quietly and quickly. So the highest awards went for only around $300,000. This may explain why no one ever wrote much about Bissonnette; when it comes to public censure, he got pretty much of a pass.