AZ - Catholic cleric accused of abuse
For immediate release: Wednesday, Aug. 21
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)
Phoenix Catholic officials admit having gotten a child sex abuse report on 8/13. They admit suspending the accused cleric on 8/19. And they apparently posted a small notice on their website, rather than warning Phoenix parents and parishioners by holding a news conference or sending out a news release.
The alleged offender is Deacon Ron Gonzalez. Phoenix Bishop Thomas Olmstead doesn’t disclose why a deacon from Dallas was sent to work in Harrisburg Pennsylvania and then to Phoenix. Nor does Bishop Olmstead disclose where Gonzalez is now. We call on Bishop Olmstead to reveal these facts.
These delays and this secrecy is troubling because every day the identity of a credibly accused child molester remains hidden, there are more opportunities for the offender and his supervisors to intimidate victims, threaten witnesses, discredit whistleblowers, destroy evidence, fabricate alibis and even flee the country. And every day the whereabouts of a credibly accused child molester are unknown is a day when kids are needlessly at risk.
And we call on Bishop Olmstead to personally visit any and all Phoenix parishes where Gonzalez worked, even briefly, begging victims, witnesses and whistleblowers to contact law enforcement officials, not Catholic church officials.
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.