Bahamas--Secret records about 3 ex-Bahamas abusive cleric are released
For immediate release: Friday, Dec. 4, 2015
Hundreds of pages of long-secret records about three child molesting Catholic priest who spent years in the Bahamas have been released. Church officials should tell parents, parishioners and the public about them.
Fr. Richard Eckroth, Fr. Thomas Gillespie and Fr. Finian McDonald worked at Saint Augustine’s in Nassau the Bahamas. They’re all “credibly accused” of abuse, according to their church supervisors, and have been or are being sued for abuse.
McDonald admitted abusing 200 children and traveled frequently to Bahamas until 2002.
Eckroth is accused of abusing boys and girls and at one point was ordered back to St. John's Abbey from Bahamas and then sent for treatment.
Gillespie allegedly abused at least four students and church officials admitted to one another in 2002 that he had molested kids.
Nassau Archbishop Patrick C. Pinder should personally visit the parishes near where these priests lived or worked, begging victims, witnesses and whistleblowers to come forward. He should also use parish bulletins, church websites and pulpit announcements across the entire diocese to seek out others who may have been assaulted and are still suffering. And he should permanently post on his diocesan website the names, photos and whereabouts of every child molesting Bahamas area cleric, whether alive or dead, diocesan or religious order, or admitted, proven or credibly accused. (About 30 US bishops have done this. It’s the bare minimum a bishop should do to protect the vulnerable and heal the wounded.)
We hope that every single person who saw, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes or cover ups in the Bahamas will summon the strength to speak up. Kids are safer only when victims, witnesses and whistleblowers are courageous enough to act. Silence is tempting but it only helps wrongdoers.
It’s important that people with suspicions or knowledge of these crimes and cover ups call the independent professionals in law enforcement, not the biased amateurs in church positions.
NOTE – The attorneys involved in the records release are Jeff Anderson (651 227 9990 office, 612 817 8665 cell, email@example.com) and Mike Finnegan (651 227 9990 office, 612 205 5531 cell,firstname.lastname@example.org). The Minnesota church spokesman who’s responsible for information about the priests is Brother Aelred Senna (320 363 2004, email@example.com, 320 363 2085 phone, 320 363 3039 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
(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)
Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, email@example.com, SNAPclohessy@aol.com), Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003 cell, bdorris@SNAPnetwork.org), Frank Meuers of Plymouth MN, SNAP director Southern Minnesota(952-334-5180, firstname.lastname@example.org), Verne Wagner of Duluth, SNAP director Northern Minnesota (218-340-1277, email@example.com)
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.