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Saturday, June 30, 2007

Rudy Giuliani and sexual assault

I have not written anything at my blog about Rudolph Giuliani and probably won't for the simple reason that I don't think I can calmly write about him. In all seriousness, I would rather have Dick Cheney as president for another four years than Giuliani. If I thought Giuliani's campaign had any chance of success, I would begin my ten million-part series on why he is unfit to hold office. I think the main reason he is running is not to become president but to drum up more business for his consulting company Giuliani Partners, former employer of convicted felon and Giuliani buddy Bernard Kerik.

It is another Giuliani friend and employee that prompts this brief entry. Today's information comes from Wayne Barrett's excellent Giuliani cover story in the July 3, 2007 issue of the Village Voice. I recommend the article to everyone. Wayne Barrett, for those of you outside New York, is the dean of the local print journalists. It was Barrett's 2001 biography of Giuliani that first revealed his family's mob connections. (His most recent book, co-written by Dan Collins, is Grand Illusion: The Untold Story of Rudy Giuliani and 9/11.)

Among the facts—some new, some familiar—reported in the Voice article are details of Giuliani's friendship with Alan Placa, a former Catholic monsignor removed from the priesthood because of a series of criminal sexual allegations against him. Where does Placa work today? Where else? At Giuliani Partners. From the article:
'Alan Placa is not just a major figure in Giuliani's marital life: He baptized both of Giuliani's children, and though already stripped of his priestly powers, he was given special dispensation from his bishop in Long Island to preside at Helen Giuliani's September 2002 funeral. A month earlier—despite still-pending allegations that he'd groped four minors in Long Island's Diocese of Rockville Center—he was hired as a three-day-a-week consultant at Giuliani Partners, where he remains today. Michael Hess, the managing partner of Giuliani's firm and the city's former top lawyer, represents Placa in the ongoing cases. When first reached by a reporter at Giuliani Partners, Placa claimed that he was only visiting—a falsehood quickly reversed by a firm spokeswoman.'

According to the article, there was a Suffolk County grand jury report on Placa in 2003, but he avoided prosecution because the statute of limitations had run out. That does not make the information reported by the grand jury, and quoted in the article, any less chilling.

Barrett's article does not just point out that Giuliani keeps an accused sexual abuser of children on his payroll. It also reminds us of the 2001 City Council bill requiring schools to report abuse claims directly to the police. Under Giuliani's direction, the bill, which passed as a charter proposal, was stripped of its language covering private schools. I'm tempted to joke that the different standards might indicate a higher regard for public education, but my sense of humour leaves me when I think about Rudy Giuliani.

I can only hope that more journalists will see through the 9/11 dust cloud of his undeserved image as 'America's Mayor' and report the disgraceful facts of his actual conduct in office and in business. Rudy Giuliani may be the one person in American public life who makes Dick Cheney look thoughtful and decent by comparison.

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