Accused abusive cleric is still on the job
He now works in Pope’s home archdiocese
Church admits charges against him are “credible”
But they keep quietly transferring him overseas
He’s been put back to work twice since allegation
SNAP: “Put him & others accused predators in a center”
A cleric who has been credibly accused of child sex abuse now works in Pope Francis’ home archdiocese. A US-based support group wants the alleged predator kept out of ministry and put into a treatment center.
According to a church newsletter, Brother Richard Suttle now works for the Chicago-based Claretians on a “human rights project” in Buenos Aires - the archdiocese that was run by Pope Francis until just five months ago.
This is Suttle’s second church job and transfer to a developing nation since 2008, when the Claretians suspended Suttle, admitting that their investigation showed the child sex abuse allegation against him was credible.
The disclosures were made today by SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.
SNAP also revealed a list of 14 accused child molesting Claretian clerics. The organization prodded religious order officials to house all of its alleged abusive employees in a treatment center and, “for the safety of kids,” permanently post the names of offenders on church websites.
They also urged victims, witnesses and whistleblowers to contact law enforcement with any information or suspicions they have about clergy sex crimes and cover ups in this religious order.
SNAP made the disclosure and the requests at a sidewalk outside the Claretians headquarters in downtown Chicago. The Claretians has long operated in Chicago but moved their US headquarters here a year and a half ago.
“This is gross recklessness and callousness,” said Barbara Blaine, president of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, including the organization’s long time president. “The Claretians are knowingly putting kids in harm’s way and breaking every pledge Catholic officials have made for more than a decade about openness and children’s safety.”
Last year, an investigation by the Chicago Tribune found 32 admitted, proven or credibly accused predator priests who have moved or been sent to other nations after allegations against them were reported. http://media.apps.chicagotribune.com/fugitives/priests.html
A 2004 investigation by the Dallas Morning News found more than 200 priests, accused of sexual abuse, who sought refuge in foreign countries. Nearly 100 cases involved clergy who escaped or were sent elsewhere to elude law enforcement.
SNAP suspects these overseas transfers of troubled clergy are increasing.
Two other Catholic religious orders – five in California yesterday and one in Milwaukee late last month (the Capuchins) have recently disclosed names or information about child molesting clerics.
SNAP contends that religious orders are even more irresponsible and less forthcoming about clergy sex crimes and cover ups than bishops are. Because they have must larger geographic jurisdictions, it’s easier for religious order superiors to transfer known and suspected offenders far away, often abroad.
Suttle’s alleged child sex crimes reportedly happened in 1982-83 at Sacred Heart elementary school in Prescott AZ (where he was a teacher, a coach and later, starting in 2006, a principal).
According to an account written by Suttle in a church newsletter, he was born in Selmer TN, grew up in Charlotte NC, and joined the Claretians in 1979. He first worked in Prescott AZ (as a youth director and teacher), then in Cameroon (in schools), then Phoenix AZ (as a teacher, counselor, administrator, and coach at Bourgade Catholic High School for ten years, 1988-98), then San Antonio TX (as a counselor and administrator at St. Gerard Catholic High School), then Los Angeles CA, then to Vietnam (2002), then back to San Antonio, then back to Prescott AZ (as a school principal), then to Nigeria (as head of the Claret Secondary School in Nekede from 2010-2012).
Suttle denies any wrongdoing. His photo, along with roughly 15 articles about his case, can be found at BishopAccountability.org
In Feb. 2011, the Claretians moved their US national headquarters to Chicago. They have 105 clerics in Illinois, Georgia, New Jersey, Missouri, Texas, Arizona, California, Nigeria, Sudan and Equatorial Guinea. http://www.claretians.org/site/PageServer?pagename=clr_aboutclaretians_history
Other Claretians accused of child sex abuse include David J. Clark, Daniel Michael Drinan, Henry Herrera, Modesto Leon, Joseph Lopez, Lawrence Joseph Lovell, Ronald John Luka, William Paiz, Eusebio Pantoja, Thomas Paramo, William Roper, Marcel Salinas, and Octavio J. Suar