OH -- A man too dangerous to be a Catholic priest has been formally expelled by the Vatican
For immediate release: Sunday, Dec. 7
Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 503 0003, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)
A man too dangerous to be a Catholic priest has been formally expelled by the Vatican. But he is now teaching at a local college. Steubenville's bishop must do more to protect children from him and explain his own secrecy surrounding the troubling case.
After several credible allegations of child sexual abuse, Catholic officials in Rome have finally defrocked Gary A. Zalenski from the priesthood.
But despite repeated pledges to be "open and transparent" about clergy sexual abuse, Steubenville Bishop Jeffrey Monforton:
-- kept the Vatican's decision secret for more than a month
-- disclosed it only to his flock, not to the public
-- put a tiny, two sentence notice about it in a church publication and, in an astonishingly callous and deceitful move,
-- makes no mention of why Zalenski has been defrocked.
Zalenski is now on the faculty at Belmont College and has access to teenagers. For this reason and others, Bishop Monforton must do more. He should start by simply holding a news conference to warn parents, parishioners, police, prosecutors and the public about a credibly accused and permanently ousted predator priest and explaining - clearly and completely why Zalenski was defrocked.
That's what a caring shepherd would do.
At a bare minimum, Monforton should issue a news release with the same goal: to warn parents, parishioners, police, prosecutors and the public about a credibly accused and permanently ousted predator priest and explaining - clearly and completely why Zalenski was defrocked.
In his own diocesan newspaper, Monforton admits that the Vatican's defrocking of Zalenski happened on Oct. 30. So why has Monforton been secretive and delayed this news? Every day Catholic officials hide evidence of an accused predator priest's guilt, they help that predator fool unsuspecting families and be near children he can molest.
Unless Monforton "comes clean" and explains that Zalenski is a twice credibly accused child molester, Zalenski will keep finding positions where he has access to and authority over vulnerable children and teenagers.
Finally, it's both tragic and insensitive for Monforton to tell only Catholics that Zalenski can't work as a Catholic priest. It's as Monforton doesn't care at all about the safety and well-being of non-Catholics.
The only decent move would be to warn as many people as possible about Zalenski's crimes. But if for some inexplicable reason Monforton can't bring himself to do that, he should tell the public not the Catholics - about Zalensski's crimes. Because that's where Zalenski is now: among the public, not in a Catholic parish.
It's irresponsible for bishops like Monforton to recruit, educate, ordain, hire, train, transfer and protect predators like Zalenski and then when they're finally exposed cut them loose on society with little or no warning.
The Vatican doesn't defrock priests willy-nilly. It's a long process. It's usually not done unless the cleric's crimes are many or very well-documented. So once Rome has defrocked a priest, it's very clear he is in fact guilty of molesting children. More information and documents about Zalenski are posted on this link. http://www.steubenvilletruth.org/Gary_Zalenski_Pg1.html
We beg Monforton to use his vast diocesan resources, parish bulletins, church web sites, and pulpit announcements to protect kids and warn parents about a potentially dangerous child predator.
And we beg anyone who saw, suspected or suffered child sex crimes by Zalenski, or cover ups by Monforton or his colleagues to speak up, call police, protect others, expose wrongdoers and start healing
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world's oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We were founded in 1988 and have more than 20,000 members. Despite the word "priest" in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
Contact Judy Jones of St. Louis, Midwest Associate Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (636 433 2511, SNAPjudy@gmail.com)
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
Note to Letter Writers
Use your own words and style of writing. Cut and paste from the templates as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you were abused in or state now living in.