AZ--Hearing today for ex-priest accused of murder
For immediate release: Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016
We are disappointed that an accused murderer and ex-priest is fighting extradition to Texas from Phoenix. We hope his bid to keep evading justice fails and that the court system moves quickly to try him.
And we’re disappointed that his long-time former Catholic colleagues are apparently doing nothing to persuade him to face justice or to help law enforcement prosecute him. For more than a half century, John Feit has been the sole suspect in the murder of Irene Garza.
Feit lives in Arizona, lived in Missouri, and worked in Texas, Arizona and New Mexico. Now, Catholic officials in all five states have a moral and civic duty to prod other witnesses to step forward. We fear he may have hurt young women in New Mexico and Arizona too.
So we hope that Santa Fe Archbishop John Wester, P hoenix Bishop Thomas Olmsted, Brownsville Bishop Daniel Flores, San Antonio Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller (where Feit went to seminary), and church staff in the Springfield MO diocese (where there is no bishop now) will use personal appeals, parish bulletins, church websites and pulpit announcements to beg others with information or suspicions about Feit to call law enforcement immediately. Now is no time for Catholic officials to act powerless or for citizens to be complacent. No shred of evidence – no matter how small, old or seemingly insignificant – should be withheld from police and prosecutors.
Finally, we reiterate our hope that Fiet’s arrest brings some hope to Irene Garza's brave and devoted family. We applaud them for their persistence and patience. And we hope that anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered clergy crimes or misdeeds by Feit – or cover ups by his church supervisors will call police, expose wrongdoers, protect others 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.
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.