CA--Parish honoring admitted child molester
Parish honoring admitted child molester
He was sued for abuse last year, however
San Gabriel Parish still calls him priest, gives him award
May 25 event will also honor actor Edward James Olmos, others
Victims to Archdioceses: Act now to stop dangerous callous behavior
Victims of child sex abuse wrote a letter today to the Archdioceses of Los Angeles and Chicago and a Chicago-based religious order to express their outrage that a banned priest and admitted child molester is being honored by a local Los Angeles-area parish.
That man, Bruce Wellems, has been banned from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, removed from the priesthood in both Los Angeles and Chicago, and has also been taken out of ministry by the Claretians, a religious order—all for allegations of sexual abuse.
(The announcement is on page two of the link)
The letter was written by two members of SNAP, the Survivors Network (SNAPNetwork.org) the nation’s largest support group for men and women sexually abused as children in religious and institutional settings.
Bruce Wellems and the Claretians were sued by Wellems alleged victim, Eric Johnson, in September 2016. As a result of the case, Wellems is not allowed to wear a priest collar, present himself as a priest, or perform any of the functions of a priest.
Parishioners at San Gabriel Mission were informed of allegations against Wellems in 2014, when letters written by Claretian officials surfaced, saying that Wellems had been accused of sexual misconduct and banned from Los Angeles.
“To honor a man like Bruce Wellems is tone deaf and utterly callous,” the letter said. “He’s not allowed to be in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. He’s been sued for sexual abuse. He’s admitted to the offenses. He's been taken out of ministry by his religious order. He’s not allowed to act as a priest. Yet, San Gabriel and his fellow Claretians decided to give him an award next to Edward James Olmos. I doubt seriously that anyone wants to share the stage with Wellems knowing his track record of alleged abuse."
The letter asks that the parish and the Claretians rescind the award and write an immediate apology to Wellems’ alleged victim and anyone else who was hurt by this award announcement. The letter also asks for an apology from the Archdioceses of Chicago and Los Angeles and reassurances that reckless and dangerous behavior like this will not happen again.
"Through this entire ordeal,” the letter says, "no one has ever expressed a word of sorrow or remorse for the boy and the family that Bruce Wellems hurt to deeply. How shameful for an organization that claims to care about those who have been so deeply hurt.”
The alleged victim of Bruce Wellems is represented by Chicago attorney Marc Perlman (773) 368-0142.
The letter, sent by email, is attached below.
Joelle Casteix, SNAP Volunteer Western Regional Leader
Barb Dorris, SNAP Managing Director
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
PO Box 56539
Saint Louis MO 63156
Archbishop Jose Gomez
1. Require San Gabriel Mission and the Build the Dreams Scholarship Fundraiser immediately rescind the award honor for Bruce Wellems2. Require that San Gabriel Mission and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles issue immediate public apologies to Bruce Wellems alleged victim and anyone else who was offended by this insensitive action3. Conduct immediate sexual abuse prevention and sensitivity outreach at San Gabriel Mission, so that the Mission does not honor or protect other admitted
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.