- Abuse group lists “12 worst bishops”
- SNAP evaluates prelates on kids’ safety
- Choices are based on their deeds over last decade
- And victims urge NYC Cardinal to explain payoffs
- They want all bishops to divulge funds paid to predators
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will
-- release a list of the “Twelve Worst US Bishops” on abuse, based on their actions over the past decade,
-- urge the head of the US bishops to explain and apologize for his deceit around payouts to pedophile priests, and
-- prod every American prelate to disclose how much he has paid to how many predators.
TODAY, Wednesday, June 13 at 1:30 pm
Corner of Peachtree Center NE & Baker Street (265 Peachtree Street NE), across the street from the Hyatt, where the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is meeting
Three to five clergy sex abuse victims and supporters who belong to a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests), including a Chicago woman who is the organization’s founder and president
Almost two weeks ago, USCCB president and New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan blasted the New York Times and SNAP instead of answering questions about his paying off predator priests and then lying about it.
Long-secret church records from Dolan’s tenure in Milwaukee show that he paid some pedophile priests up to $20,000 to not fight their defrocking. Since then, a Milwaukee chancery official admits “a handful” of child molesting clerics there got such payments that were called “settlements” in one document.
Dolan is also refusing to explain a letter he wrote to then-Cardinal Josef Ratzinger in which Dolan pledges to set up a “special fund” for an admitted serial pedophile priest.
SNAP maintains that paying off predators is reckless because it lets dangerous criminals quietly move elsewhere among unsuspecting neighbors, employers and co-workers, making it easier for them to hurt other kids. The group is also upset that Dolan keeps mischaracterizing the payments as “charity” and designed to help one predator get health insurance, when church records clearly show that to be false. SNAP wants Dolan to explain his practice and apologize for his deceit.
It’s been a decade since every US bishop promised to be “open and transparent” about clergy sex crimes and cover ups. Yet the NY Times reports that “Experts say that payouts to dismissed priests are not uncommon.” In light of these revelations, SNAP is calling on every bishop to divulge how much money he has secretly spent or is spending to pay proven, admitted and credibly accused sex offender clerics to quietly go away.
SNAP is also, on the ten year anniversary of the bishops’ abuse “charter,” naming the twelve prelates who’ve done the worst job of honoring promises and protecting kids over the past decade. The list includes the current prelates in Houston, New York City, Chicago, Boston, Kansas City, and Seattle and the former prelates in Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Yakima WA, Santa Rosa CA and Manchester NH.
At the same time, however, SNAP believes that there are even more abuse cover ups still hidden in America’s Catholic religious orders. Roughly 30% of US priests belong to orders (like the Jesuits, Marianists, Dominicans, etc.) which typically find it even easier to transfer and shield child molesting clerics than bishops do.
Yesterday, SNAP urged bishops to totally scrap and revamp their ten year old child sex abuse policy, commit to an inclusive, one year planning process with public hearings and "real input," and adopt tough penalties for church officials who ignore, conceal and enable child sex crimes.