Abuse victims blast southern IL bishop
Abuse victims blast southern IL bishop
He should add 9 clerics to his “accused” list, group says
One worked in Carbondale & the Vatican press office in 1990s
SNAP: “Victims, witnesses & witnesses should call attorney general”
Among them, an accused CA priest who also worked in Carbondale
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, a clergy sex abuse victim and advocate will
--publicly disclose for the first time that an accused California priest also worked in Carbondale,
--prod southern Illinois’ Catholic bishop to add more names to his “credibly accused” clergy list, and
--beg anyone who saw, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes or cover ups in Illinois to contact the attorney general who is conducting a statewide investigation into this crisis.
Wednesday, January 16 at 11:45 a.m.
On the sidewalk outside St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, 303 S. Poplar (corner of W. Walnut St.) in Carbondale
Two abuse victims: a Missouri man who is the St. Louis volunteer leader of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (and the organization's former long time executive director) and an Illinois man who is the group’s Chicago volunteer leader
1) In October, a report on abusive clerics in California disclosed that Fr. Larry Lorenzoni, who reportedly worked at Southern Illinois University, was accused of sexually abusing at least two children. His name has never surfaced publicly in Illinois before as an alleged abuser. Fr. Lorenzoni is included in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles’ list of priests accused of sexual misconduct involving minors. His whereabouts from 1990 until he died in 2017 are unknown.
2) Belleville's Bishop Edward Braxton has quietly posted names of "credibly accused" abusers on his website.
However, his list omits at least 8 other clerics who worked in southern Illinois and allegedly molested kids elsewhere. They are:
---Fr. Kenneth J. Roberts, who has had his faculties revoked and is accused of molesting at least seven kids, including one Illinois boy.
--- Fr. Fred Lenczycki, originally of Joliet IL, who has been accused of molesting at least two dozen boys and was the first US priest to be deemed a "sexually violent predator" by secular professionals.
--- Fr. Thomas Meyer, Fr. Emil Twardochleb, Fr. Michael Charland, Fr. Orville Munie, Fr. Paul Kabat and Fr. James Vincent Fitzgerald. They belong(ed) to a Belleville-based order called the Oblates which runs the Shine of Our Lady of the Snows in Belleville. Each of them was, according to the church's own records, "credibly accused" of assaulting kids in Minnesota, but they also spent time in southern Illinois, and remain essentially "under the radar."
3) Bishop Braxton omits the work histories, photos and whereabouts of every accused priest or deacon. Where these priests are now is important because nearby parents and prospective employers should be warned about their presence. That is the single best step the bishop could take to prevent more horrific crimes against more innocent kids.
Where they worked and how they looked in the past is important because that information helps victims identify them. It usually takes decades for victims to come forward. They might only recall that everyone called him "Father Mac," not knowing whether he was Fr. Mack Smith or Fr. McGillicuty or Fr. MacArthur. Even parents who are long-time parishioners may have trouble remembering a priest who worked in their church just a few months before mysteriously vanishing with no explanation or a vague explanation from the diocesan hierarchy.
Every time an abuser remains hidden, kids remain at risk, SNAP maintains. “Disclosing the truth is the best way to safeguard the vulnerable, heal the wounded and help the church move forward,” the group says.
Finally, SNAP is begging anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered crimes or cover ups in southern Illinois to contact Illlinois’ attorney general who is investigating all of the state’s dioceses.
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.
The Attorneys General of forty states have inquired about the grand jury process in Pennsylvania. Let's get statewide investigations going in fifty states.
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.