Canada--Victims blast Catholic school officials for “dangerous secrecy”
For immediate release: Wednesday, April 15
Shame on Bruce Campbell and every official with the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board for their reckless, callous and dangerous practice of secrecy in child sex abuse cases.
We call on Toronto Cardinal Thomas Christopher Collins to discipline top administrators of this school and issue a strong public statement that known or suspected child sex crimes in Catholic facilities must be immediately reported to parents, parishioners, police, prosecutors and the public. Every delay in reporting, every hour of secrecy, gives accused criminals more chances to destroy evidence, intimidate victims, threaten witnesses, discredit whistleblowers, fabricate alibis, and even flee the country. Every hour serious accusations of clergy sexual misconduct are kept quiet, other innocent children and vulnerable adults are left in harm’s way.
The school’s public relations man claims that Fr. Roth occasionally went into elementary and secondary schools to help deliver liturgies and was always accompanied by a staff member in what were large group settings. We suspect he’s lying. And even if he’s not, this is irrelevant. It takes only seconds for a child predator to shove his hands down a boy’s pants or his tongue down a girl’s throat. These predators are usually very cunning and manipulative, able to win the trust of both students and staff. So this pathetic effort to reassure parents that Fr. Roth allegedly had little chance to hurt Dufferin-Peel students is stunningly irresponsible.
It’s also possible that Fr. Roth befriended and molested kids of school staffers or kids in the neighborhood around the school. But apparently Dufferin-Peel officials don’t care to try to find out.
Catholic officials can always find or invent excuses for doing little or nothing to reach out to others who may have been sexually assaulted by clerics. But these excuses (like “Roth had limited interaction with students and the allegations against him reportedly occurred in a non-school setting, in another country, and the priest had no history of wrongdoing with the Dufferin-Peel board”) are incredibly irresponsible and self-serving. Take the claim that Fr. Roth “had no history of wrongdoing with the Dufferin-Peel board. So does that mean that the school would hire a teacher or staff who had molested a dozen kids in a dozen different schools, so long as he “had no history of wrongdoing” with THEIR school? That’s preposterous.
Every single person who saw, suspected or suffered child sex crimes or cover ups in Dufferin-Peel should call police, get help, expose wrongdoing, deter cover ups, protect kids and start healing.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We were founded in 1988 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)