AL--Victims blast Catholic officials for “secrecy obsession”
For immediate release: Friday, June 19
Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 503 0003, bdorris@SNAPnetwork.org)
Shame on Mobile Archbishop Thomas Rodi for spending parishioners’ donations to keep secrets about an accused predator priest.
Again, church lawyers are trying to make sure that Fr. Johnny Savoie won’t have to answer questions about his alleged child sex crimes under oath.
In February 2014, Savoie disclosed to his parishioners that he had been accused of molesting a child in Fairhope, Alabama. Earlier this year, the allegation surfaced during a separate civil lawsuit brought by several families charging bullying at Savoie’s parish school. Archdiocesan officials did not publicly announce the abuse report, nor did they suspend or remove Savoie during their purported investigation.
Fr. Savoie continues as pastor of St. Pius church (with a parochial school) in Mobile.
Rodi and his top aides are being incredibly risky and callous. They’re violating the official national Catholic church abuse policy. And they are putting kids at risk of horrific pain.
But if that’s not bad enough, Rodi is wasting thousands of dollars, generously given to the archdiocese by caring Catholics, trying to keep Savoie’s wrongdoing hidden.
If Rodi refuses to show caution – by suspending Savoie – we call on him to show some sensitivity to donors and fidelity to church policy by letting Savoie be questioned about his sexual misdeeds with a teenager.
And we call on anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered Savoie’s misdeeds or Rodi’s cover ups to come forward, speak up, call police, expose wrongdoers, protect kids 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. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has 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)
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.