CA- Predator priest on the job in Pope's archdiocese
For immediate release: Monday, May 5, 2014
Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, SNAPclohessy@aol.com)
Nowhere are kids more at risk of sexual violence than in the developing world. That's why it's so immoral when predator priests are sent there from the developed world by callous Catholic supervisors.
Fr. Carlos Urrutigoity went from Scranton Pennsylvania, where he assaulted several kids, to Paraguay (where he's now second-in-command of a diocese).
Fr. Joseph Jeyapaul raped a Minnesota girl, Megan Peterson, just a few years ago. He returned to India and until recently, oversaw a group of schools there, even though his bishop knew he was a fugitive from justice. He's being extradited now.)
Fr. Nicholas Aguilar Rivera, one of California's most notorious and prolific predators, went from Los Angeles to Mexico.
Fr. William Christensen, who sexually assaulted boys in a St. Louis boarding school, was sent to Bangladesh, where he's accused of molesting dozens more.
There are hundreds of such examples – predators from Belgium, England and Canada being sent to India, Uganda and the Philippines.
(And while Italy isn't a developing nation, Rome is the literal and figurative power center of Catholicism, where millions of devout families – many with teenaged daughters -pass through every year. So it's incredibly irresponsible for the U.S. Marianists to send Fr. Charles Miller to work there, after Miller molested at least one U.S. teenager. He's still on the job today.)
So the bottom line is kids are being endangered, predators are being moved, and bishops are being callous, doing little or nothing to safeguard the vulnerable. That’s reckless and wrong.
That's why we're calling on local Catholic officials – in the LA archdiocese and in the Claretian religious order, to warn parishioners and the public about a credibly accused child molesting cleric, Brother Richard Suttle, who now works for the church in Buenos Aires, Argentina – Pope Francis' home diocese.
Specifically, we want these Catholic officials to;
--Demand that Brother Suttle immediately return to the United States
--Aggressively seek out others in LA who saw, suspected or suffered his crimes, and
--Announce the accusations against him in parish bulletins and on the archdiocesan website.
Brother Suttle, a member of the Claretian Missionary order, was accused in 2008 of sexually abusing a child in the Phoenix Diocese in the 1980s. Church officials said the allegations were credible. When we exposed this allegation in 2013, Claretian officials admitted that they sent Suttle to Argentina. They say the cleric is being monitored and has been "removed from any ministry with children." http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chi-accused-clergyman-was-sent-to-argentina-chicagobased-religious-order-says-20130801,0,216928.story
But he is still on the job, with a Claretian United Nations team. Now living in Buenos Aires, Argentina, he's almost certainly among vulnerable and unsuspecting families who know nothing of the accusations against him.
Claretian officials claim that they restricted Suttle's ministry 2008: http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news13/2008_12_18_CatholicSun_CommunityNotification_Richard_Suttle_2.htm
But as recently as 2011, they recklessly let him to work with children in Nigeria.
While in Los Angeles in 2001-2002, Suttle worked as executive director of the Lay Mission Helpers. http://www.bishop-accountability.org/Claretians/Newsletters/2012_02_15_Claretians_East_Nigeria_Province_Newsletter.pdf
Regardless of what LA Archbishop Jose Gomez and Suttle's direct church supervisors do or don't do we call on every current and former Catholic church employee and parishioner who saw, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes by Brother Suttle to speak up. It's crucial that they protect kids by calling police and exposing wrongdoers.
Gomez will likely claim he has no supervisory power over Brother Suttle. But since Suttle worked in the LA archdiocese, and had access to LA archdiocesan kids, and walks free today and is still a priest, Gomez can and should, for the sake of public safety, use his “bully pulpit,” parish bulletins and church websites to warn parishioners and the public about him.
(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 15,000 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.