CA--Convicted/defrocked priest is back in LA parish; Victims respond
For immediate release: Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016
We’re alarmed but not surprised that a convicted child molesting Catholic priest is back in a parish. We call on LA law enforcement officials to quickly but promptly investigate whether more charges can be brought against this cleric. And we call on Archbishop Jose Gomez to use church bulletins, parish websites, archdiocesan websites and pulpit announcements to warn his flock him and seek out others with information or suspicions about his crimes to call police.
We understand Rodriguez has been defrocked and he’s in some parish that’s reportedly isn’t affiliated with the LA archdiocese. Neither of these facts, however, absolves Gomez and his colleagues of their moral and civic duty to protect the vulnerable from shrewd predators, especially one who has been recruited, educated, ordained, hired, trained, transferred and shielded by Gomez’ predecessors. If your institution protects a child rapist for decade, your obligate to safeguard others doesn’t end the minute you finally stop paying him.
Gomez should also work hard to help make sure every predator priest is prosecuted or put in remote, secure, independent treatment centers far away from the families they’ve duped and betrayed. He should do everything he possibly can to let the police, prosecutors, parents, parishioners and the public know who and where these dangerous men are. He should beg anyone who might be able to help law enforcement charge Rodriguez with more crimes to step forward immediately.
No matter what church officials do or don’t do, we urge every single person who saw, suspected or suffered child sex crimes and cover ups in Catholic churches or institutions – especially in the Los Angeles archdiocese – to protect kids by calling police, get help by calling therapists, expose wrongdoers by calling attorneys, and be comforted by calling support groups like ours. This is how kids will be safer, adults will recover, criminals will be prosecuted, cover ups will be deterred and the truth will surface.
(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 - Joelle Casteix of Orange County, volunteer western regional director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (949 322 7434, email@example.com), David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, firstname.lastname@example.org), Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003 cell, bdorris@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.