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6949OCANews Reflection: The Special Commission: Working -- or Working Around?

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  • Nina Tkachuk Dimas
    Mar 1, 2007
      [This reflection is written by a priest from another jurisdiction.]

      The Special Commission:
      Working -- or Working Around?

      What is the Special Commission's direction? Will it go where it is

      In concluding his February 6 memo to the Metropolitan Council,
      Metropolitan Herman notes that counsel for the Special Commission,
      as well as counsel for the OCA, both advise a course of
      action "consistent with due legal process." Metropolitan Herman's
      directives repeatedly tasks the Special Commission to consult with --
      and even constrain (!) -- OCA's Proskauer Rose counselors. He
      says: 'meet with the attorneys of Proskauer Rose to determine what
      tasks still needed to be concluded by them, with the estimated time
      and money associated with its completion', 'meet with the attorneys
      of Proskauer Rose to review the scope of the investigation documents
      in order to help determine what form a written report should take',
      and 'instruct the attorneys of Proskauer Rose to provide the written
      report to the Commission only'.

      Suppose, instead, that these Commissioners independently answered
      Archbishop Job's original question: "Are the allegations true or
      false?" Might the Commissioners' own questions and their path to the
      answers, diverge from the direction tasked them by Metropolitan
      Herman -- the direction the attorneys call "legally due"? What
      would be the consequences?

      Would the FBI investigation of this crisis be harmed by a prompt
      Commissioners' report? Probably not.

      Instead, a wide-ranging report might aid the criminal case. First,
      it would supplement the prosecutor's investigation. Second, the
      Commission's candid disclosure of wrongdoings would 'awaken the
      peasants,' making prosecution more palatable politically both inside
      and outside the Church.

      As to civil law, would attorneys representing this crisis's players
      complain that the Commission's transparent, unredacted report
      taints their clients' due legal process? Again, not likely. These
      lawyers might instead welcome the Commission's wide-ranging
      assessment of wrong-doings. It could goad their reticent clients to
      finally engage the process by filing lawsuits.

      In fact, both criminal and civil due legal processes will likely
      quicken when the Special Commission addresses the tasks first
      proposed by Commissioner Nescott. These were aimed at discovering:

      "What took place,
      Why it went wrong,
      Why it won't happen in the future and what limitations have been put
      in place,
      And that the individuals responsible are not in those positions."

      (Metropolitan Council Minutes, 12/12/06, in OCANews, 2/3/07)

      Archbishop Job asked his question – and his fellow Commissioners
      seemed to have parsed it into these tasks whose accomplishment would
      indeed "move the church forward". They maintain that timely,
      credible answers will promote the OCA's healing.

      On the other hand, Proskauer Rose gives the OCA its "legal due" by
      helping it avoid criminal or civil actions. That's what lawyers do.
      Their direction, however, will fail to "move the Church forward".

      Must the OCA devise legally constructed niceties in deference to
      potential civil litigants? Must it wait, to avoid 'tainting' the
      FBIinvestigation -- one which may never be disclosed? Is the OCA
      obliged to defer instituting its own metanoia? By such waiting and
      by caution, the OCA may fail to ever examine its past.

      Were the Commissioners to investigate and report as originally
      planned, they would likely hasten further, deeper examinations by
      external investigators, both criminal and civil. No wonder, then,
      that Proskauer Rose directs otherwise. Their client might become
      even more uncovered, were legally muscled questioners to move even
      those rocks the Commissioners found too heavy. The sooner the OCA
      learns rigorous answers to the Special Commissioners' own questions,
      the sooner the OCA can confront its misdeeds and turn from them.
      Then the Church can move forward.

      Whither the Special Commissioners? God direct their paths!
      Rev. David Kossey

      Editor's Note: Fr. David Kossey is a coordinator for emergency
      disaster relief for the IOCC, a board member of New York Disaster
      Interfaith Services, and pastor of St. Mary's Carpatho-Russian
      Church in Manhattan.
      --- End forwarded message ---

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