Law and Order
SVU, Episode 3.23
Production number: E3103
First aired: 17 May 2002
  th of 502 produced in SVU  
th of 502 released in SVU
  th of 1271 released in all  
Stabler Cragen Silence.jpg
Written By
Patrick Harbinson

Directed By
Steve Shill


The murderer of a priest blames his crime on the sexual abuse that he had to endure as a child.


The murder of an adolescent prostitute in a Catholic church, along with arson, results in the SVU team uncovering evidence of sexual abuse by priests. They also discover evidence of hiding the fact that it occurred. After a false allegation against a suspect briefly interrupts the investigation, Stabler must convince one priest to break the sanctity of Confession to prove that the reach of the abuse scandal goes much higher than the priests themselves.


Main cast

Recurring cast

Guest cast


Jamie Doyle


"Please! Don't touch me. I'll go where you want... but don't touch me."
"Looks like we got us a racist."
"I'm a Jew. Is that better or worse? "

- Gus Yoder, Odafin Tutuola and John Munch

"Sit down Gus, you're making me nervous."
"I'm not sitting there. It's disgusting."
"It's a chair."
"It's filthy! Think of all the scum that has sat there!"

- John Munch and Gus Yoder

"So he's really clean."
"And really dirty."

- Olivia Benson and Elliot Stabler

"The murder of a transvestite who caught him trying to burn down a Church? I could try that in my sleep."

- Alexandra Cabot

"What about the faithful, Father? Who protects us?"

- Elliot Stabler

Background information and notes

  • The episode title "Silence" was also used for the Law & Order second season episode, "Silence".
  • "Peccavisti" isn't the Latin word for "you have sinned", or even a word in Latin. The correct word is actually "Peccasti". Whether "peccavisti" is even a word in a language is debatable.
  • Eric Stoltz's last name is misspelled in the opening credits as "Stolitz".
  • Actress Charlayne Woodard makes her first appearance as Sister Peg.

Episode scene cards

1 2 3 4

Sister Peg's
Mobile Help Unit
Tuesday, May 7

Columbus Avenue
Youth Center
Wednesday, May 8

Chelsea Soup Kitchen
216 Ninth Avenue
Wednesday, May 8

Douglas Residence
401 West 22nd Street
Wednesday, May 8

5 6 7

Office of Special Victims Unit
Bureau Chief
Elizabeth Donnelly
Thursday, May 9

Rikers Island
Monday, May 13

Chambers of
Judge Linden
Tuesday, May 14

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Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Season 3
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