Cardinal should release 35 priest files now
For immediate release - Wednesday, February 05, 2014
Statement by Kate Bochte, SNAP member (630 768 1860, firstname.lastname@example.org)
It took almost nine years - and dozens of lawsuits - to get records on 30 archdiocesan predator priests released by the Chicago archdiocese.
That's fewer than half of the 65 predator priests George admits to, and less than one fourth of the 121 predator priests listed by an independent group called BishopAccountability.org.
So at this rate, we'll get another 35 predator priests' records in around 2025, assuming that dozens more victims file dozens more lawsuits and insist on more disclosure.
And we'll never see the records of the other 56 predator priests who worked and abused in the Chicago archdiocese but who George refuses to take any responsibility for (because another Catholic entity, a religious order, signs their paychecks).
According to the Tribune, “The archdiocese said it is developing a method to release the rest of the files.” What “method” is needed?
It's not rocket science. Someone has to read the files and redact the names of victims, then release them. That's it. Each file might take a day or two, but not more. (Recall that last month, victims' attorneys got 6,000 pages of records. A week later, they were able to make those records available to the public.)
Keep in mind too that Catholic employees are members of a feudal system. They aren't union employees. They can't sue Cardinal George if they feel he's been unfair to them. (We know of only a handful of cases in which predator priests have sued their bishops. We know of no cases in which those predator priests have succeeded.)
So Cardinal George doesn’t have to worry about legal headaches when he releases this information.
He should of course worry that every day he sits on these files, he's endangering kids and protecting current and former clerics who commit and conceal heinous crimes against kids, and those who may, right now, be committing and concealing more heinous crimes against kids. We know of thousands of lawsuits in which bishops have been charged with concealing crimes against children.
For that secrecy and recklessness, Cardinal George, and his archdiocesan, has been sued dozens and dozens and dozens of times. And hundreds of lives have been shattered.
So George should stop discussing “methods” of transparency and start actually practicing transparency. Starting tomorrow, he should release one file every day until all predators' files are disclosed.
Cardinal George's public relations staffers insist that they do what they can to protect kids. But if that were true he would not protect cleric's reputations and endanger children's safety.
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.