AR - Catholic teacher guilty of hiding child sex crimes; SNAP responds
For immediate release: Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013
Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 862 7688 home, 314 503 0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)
Today, an ex-Catholic school teacher has been found guilty of failing to report suspected child sex crimes. Yesterday, another ex-Catholic school teacher pled guilty to violating her probation by repeatedly contacting the girl she molested.
As a result, kids in both Arkansas (where the crimes happened) and Florida (where the predator has been living) are both safer. And we hope that these actions, especially today’s verdict, will deter future cover ups of child sex crimes.
The enabler, Kathy Griffin, received a year’s probation and $2,500 fine, which we think is a light sentence. The predator, Kelly O’Rourke, is in jail now awaiting sentencing.
Unfortunately, the institutional wrongdoers here – the Little Rock Catholic diocese and Mt. St. Mary’s School – have, for now at least, escaped consequences for their reckless, callous and deceitful behavior in this case. Neither school nor church officials made any real effort to help police and prosecutors pursue these criminals. At best, the diocese and the school did the bare minimum. More accurately, they minimized the crimes by O’Rourke and Griffin and refused to lift a finger to help find more victims, witnesses or whistleblowers that could have been helped or helpful.
We hope others who saw, suspected or suffered crimes by O’Rourke or Griffin – or any other Catholic employee – will come forward, call police, expose wrongdoing, protect kids and start healing.
Finally, Arkansas citizens owe a debt of gratitude to the brave family
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.
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.