BISHOP CLAIMS HE WAS ‘BULLIED’ INTO APOLOGISING FOR MAGA TEENS INVOLVED IN ENCOUNTER WITH NATIVE AMERICAN
BY TOM PORTER
The bishop of the Covington Diocese in Kentucky claimed that he and Covington Catholic High School were “bullied” into condemning the behaviour of students engaged in a controversial encounter with a Native American elder.
In a letter to parents, the Most Reverend Roger Foys said that he apologised to high school junior Nick Sandmann, who was filmed in a face-to-face-encounter with Native American elder Nathan Phillips near the Lincoln Memorial.
“We should not have allowed ourselves to be bullied and pressured into making a statement prematurely, and we take full responsibility for it,” Foys wrote in the letter cited by news outlets. “I especially apologize to Nicholas Sandmann and his family, as well as to all CovCath families who have felt abandoned during this ordeal.”
The students had been Washington on January 18 for the anti-abortion March for Life protest, while Phillips had been attending an indigenous people’s march.
In footage that went viral after the protests, Sandamnn could be seen standing face-to-face with Phillips, who was playing a drum and singing. Other students were accused of jeering at Phillips.
Many of the students wore clothing emblazoned with President Donald Trump’s ‘Make America Great Again’ slogan.
The diocese in a statement last week had condemned the students and apologised to Phillips.
“We extend our deepest apologies to Mr. Phillips. This behavior is opposed to the Church’s teachings on the dignity and respect of the human person,” said the diocese in a statemtnt last Saturday.
However, footage that emerged later on showed Phillips approaching the group of students, in what he claimed was an effort to defuse tensions between them and a group of African American activists who had been insulting them.
Sandmann in a statement rejected claims he had been taunting Phillips.
“As far as standing there I had every right to,” he said in an interview on NBC’s Today show. “My position is that I was not disrespectful to Mr. Phillips I’d like to talk to him.
He said he had been sent death threats in the wake of the incident. Kenton County Commonwealth’s Attorney said he and police were investigating multiple threats made against students and the school.
Foy said a third party investigator had been hired by the diocese to probe events in Washington D.C.
“The best we can do is, first of all, to find out the truth, to find out what really went on, what really happened. So we do have investigators who are here today, a third-party who is not associated with our diocese,” he said.