Another Legion of Christ sex scandal, SNAP responds
Our hearts go out to this woman and her child, and to everyone who has been hurt by the reckless, callous, secretive and cult-like Legion of Christ. We know that there are many other cases like this, in which a powerful priest has manipulated a vulnerable parishioner. (see Fr. Henry Willenborg on BishopAccountability.org)
We also suspect that neither Fr. Williams nor the Legion have adequately taken care of this woman or the child, as is so often the case when clerics father children. Such secrecy and insensitivity is hurtful to everyone involved.
Genuine sexual consent between a parishioner and a priest is extremely unlikely if not impossible. Catholics are taught, essentially from birth, that priests are God's representatives on earth, able to forgive sins and turn bread into Christ's body and wine into Christ's blood.
This kind of experience is almost always harmful to the women who are exploited by powerful, popular, charismatic and well educated clerics.
We call on Vatican and Legion officials to publicly discipline Fr. Williams. (He claims he's taking a year off to "reflect" on what he's done.) As long as priests who engage in sexual misdeeds get to determine their own consequences for their misconduct, little will change in the church and vulnerable adults will remain vulnerable.
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.