How to Catch a Catholic Priest

7 min readMar 12, 2023

Anyone can be found

Image: Shutterstock

In my work as a researcher looking into matters of historical child sexual abuse, I’m often called upon to ‘find’ a person accused of sexually assaulting a child, an event which may have occurred many years in the past.

But let me first define the terms I’m using and the scope of the operations. To be clear, this is not law enforcement, nor is it – strictly speaking – private investigation, although it contains a very small sense of the former and a much larger portion of the latter. I just use the term ‘researcher’, which frightens people less either way. However it is, the professional term for it is ‘skip tracing’: finding someone who doesn’t want to be found.

Image: Grant Whitty, Unsplash

Believe me when I say that many are the people who do not wish to be found, and when it comes to historical sex predators the urgent need to avoid accountability increases by a significant factor, to put it mildly. In the case of Catholic clergy, the matter becomes more complicated still. Aided and abetted by a global criminal conspiracy of truly astounding and sinister proportions, an already…