AZ- Local pastor removed for allegations of abuse, Victims respond
For immediate release: Thursday, May 29, 2014
Statement by Joelle Casteix of Newport Beach, SNAP western regional director, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (949-322-7434, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Phoenix's St. Thomas parish has been plagued by alleged abusive clerics. Another one has just been publicly exposed.
Our hearts ache for the parishioners. They have had two pastors credibly accused of abuse, an assistant pastor jailed for sexual abuse, and another pastor who "disappeared." Now, they have had to fight the diocese just to be heard regarding complaints about their latest pastor, Fr. John Ehrich. He has been accused of sexually harassing adults and being inappropriate with children.
We urge Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted to immediately reach out to every current and former parish member and staffer, and beg them to call the police if they have suffered, seen or suspected abuse. We also hope that he does everything necessary to encourage healing and accountability at the parish.
We urge parishioners to continue to be vigilant and speak out against clerics who may be abusing children. We also beg them to talk to their children about abuse in a safe and age-appropriate manner. Finally, we ask them to "speak with their pocketbooks" and refuse to give any more money to the Diocese of Phoenix, who has repeatedly shown that it cannot monitor the men they employ or keep Phoenix children safe from abusive priests.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 25 years and have more than 18,000 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.