CA- Controversial priest is tapped to replace deceased bishop, victims respond
For immediate release: Wednesday, September 10, 2014
Statement by Joelle Casteix of Newport Beach, CA, Western Regional Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (949-322-7434 cell, firstname.lastname@example.org)
A controversial priest has been chosen as "temporary administrator" of the San Diego diocese.
We were dismayed to hear this.
The blogger is Rocco Palmo of Whispers in the Loggia. The cleric is Msgr. Steven
Callahan, the long-time vicar general for the diocese, who has a troubling history.
We are sad that San Diego clerics chose an “administrator” with a such a tarnished reputation of complicity in clergy sex abuse and cover up cases.
-- In a 2004 deposition, Callahan admitted that he destroyed secret personnel files which contained valuable evidence about child sex abuse and cover-up.
-- In 2011, Callahan was vicar general when Fr. Alexis Davila was reinstated as a priest after pleading guilty to sexually assaulting a young woman. Davila was only removed after victims informed the press.
-- Callahan was Bishop Robert Brom's "right-hand man" in 2007 when the diocese sought bankruptcy protection to avoid embarrassing child sex abuse and cover up trials. The behavior of the diocese in the bankruptcy process was so awful that the federal judge in charge of the case called Brom and his attorneys "disingenuous" and "lacking candor."
The only way to ensure that the status quo of child sex crimes and cover-ups end is to stop promoting wrongdoers. The next diocesan administrator should have been a cleric with no history in the diocese. That way, Catholics could have been assured that the administrator's loyalty is to safety and child protection, and not to powerful local men and women who commit or cover-up sex abuse.
(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 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.