- Victims beg Catholics “Read abuse files”
- And they urge ex-church staff: “Help fill in gaps”
- Group believes archdiocese records are incomplete
- SNAP: “Now’s the time for witnesses & whistleblowers to step up”
- Mahony’s restriction & Curry’s resignation are “weak,” victims say
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will react to the moves by two top Los Angeles officials (Archbishop Gomez & Bishop Curry).
They will also urge:
-- victims, witnesses, police, prosecutors, church employees and lay Catholics to step forward with information about clergy sex crimes and cover-ups that is NOT in the newly-disclosed files,
-- parishoners and the public to read the files carefully and discuss them with friends, family and fellow church-goers, and
-- law enforcement authorities to “double down” on efforts to prosecute high-ranking Catholic supervisors who ignored, enabled and concealed the “heinous crimes” of 252 LA-area predator priests.
Friday, February 1 at 11 am
Outside of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, 555 W. Temple (at Hill), Los Angeles.
Four-to-five victims of child sex abuse and their supporters who are members of a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org)
SNAP members are relieved, for the most part, that long-hidden sex abuse and cover-up records are finally being disgorged from secretive Catholic officials, thanks solely to the persistence of brave victims, assertive lawyers and determined journalists. But SNAP is convinced that many letters and memos about these child molesting clerics are NOT among the pages being released.
The group is urging current and former parish and archdiocesan staffers and congregants to 1) go to independent sources like BishopAccountability.org, 2) read the files carefully, and 3) step forward and contact police, prosecutors and journalists with any documents they may have that are NOT included in this disclosure.
SNAP also wants law enforcement officials to work harder than ever to pursue charges against any and every church supervisor who hid and enabled pedophile priests to keep hurting kids, flee the country, destroy evidence, intimidate victims, threaten whistleblowers and discredit witnesses.
The group feels that Archbishop Jose Gomez’ so-called “restrictions” on Cardinal Roger Mahony mean little or nothing, especially because Mahony is retired and Gomez should have known about the information in the files since assuming the position of LA archbishop in 2011. SNAP also feels that Bishop Thomas Curry should have been harshly punished, not allowed to resign (while still getting his paycheck and all the other financial benefits of his church position).
According to the independent website BishopAccountability.org, there are 259 publicly accused child molesting clerics in the LA archdiocese. SNAP believes the actual number is considerably higher.
When I experienced my flashback in the fall of 2001 I was totally unaware of what was brewing in Boston. While I am a Boston priest, I had served in the USN as a chaplain and had retired in 1997. I chose NOT to return to Boston — I did not know exactly why, but I knew I was not comfortable there. What kept me from returning was the slow realization that I had been raped.
The theology training I had received in the seminary has me “intimately” associated with the hierarchy. Theologically I am an “extension of” the bishop (or apostle.) In essence I am one of them in that I represent all that they say and do. After my flashback I went into counseling. I struggled to remain in ministry but it was becoming harder and harder. Each day that I read about Mahony’s antics in the courtroom trying to evade the release of information or documents pushed me into a corner. I could no longer represent the bishops. I could no longer be a part of their conspiracy, their deception, their cruelty.
In November 2005 I contacted the Archdiocese of Boston and requested “retirement.” I flew to Boston to meet with Bishop Lennon and within fifteen minutes was granted medical leave. I never did hear from O’Malley. I thought, surely, a priest struggling with remaining in active ministry would be worth a few minutes of his time – but that did not happen. I was scheduled to leave my assignment as chaplain at the Washington Hospital Center on 1 June 2006. On Tuesday of Holy Week I made the announcement at noon Mass in the chapel, and I explained “why” I would be leaving. Within hours I was reported to the Diocese of Washington and I was IMMEDIATELY relieved of my faculties, in short, I WAS FIRED for speaking the truth.
And so, thanks to the likes of Mahony, George, Todd, Brown and all the others, I languish outside of Ministry that I so enjoyed. As I said earlier, this “banishment” of Mahony is too little, too late. Now, had the vatican stripped him of the title “Cardinal” I MIGHT have a different attitude – but then, what about all the others??