IL- Chicago priest promoted by pope has “disturbing record”
For immediate release: Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2014
Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 503 0003, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)
A Chicago priest who was promoted today by Pope Francis has some links to the case of a notorious, serial convicted predator priest who has ties to Mother Teresa.
Fr. Robert Geisinger will move to Rome to deal with child sex abuse and cover up cases. We're anxious to hear from him about his dealings with Fr. Donald McGuire, a once high profile but now-imprisoned Jesuit in Fr. Geisinger's own province who – despite multiple reports of abuse – was allowed to keep ministering until law enforcement officials finally arrested him.
In 2002, Fr. Geisinger was sent a detailed, three page, single spaced letter from a colleague (Fr. Rick McGurn) about Fr. McGuire:
Notice the phrase: “long list” of Fr. McGuire's “inappropriate behaviors.”
Not until 2005 were criminal charges brought against Fr. McGuire. We see no evidence that Fr. Geisinger ever helped police or prosecutors investigate Fr. McGuire, or any child molesting cleric. We challenge him to produce such evidence if he has any.
The letter show s that Fr. McGuire is repeatedly warned about his contact with children. But Fr. McGuire does exactly what he wants. More and more abuse reports and complaints against Fr. McGuire surface over time, yet neither Fr. Geisinger nor his colleagues take any effective action whatsoever. (At this time, Fr. Geisinger was in charge of “all matters of canon law” for the Jesuits. In other words, he was a high ranking cleric with the power to make a difference.)
The letter shows that Jesuit officials – including Fr. Geisinger – go on and on worrying about following canonical rules and whether or not Fr. McGuire will cause problems for them. There's no mention or concern evidently about the kids that he has assaulted or is assaulting kids. It is clear from the letter that Fr. Geisinger knew – or at a least strongly suspected – that Fr. McGuire was a criminal. Yet Fr. Geisinger went along with the plan to keep Fr. McGuire under wraps and away from law enforcement.
We're pessimistic about Fr. Geisinger's new position. On the church's continuing child sex abuse and cover up crisis, the pontiff’s promotions have been very disappointing. We see no evidence that Fr. Geisinger has done or even said anything encouraging about this scandal though he's been a cleric for decades.
At a bare minimum, Fr. Geisinger should publicly explain why he apparently never called police about Fr. McGuire, whether he ever called police about any predator priest, and why he deserves this promotion.
Geisinger had previously worked as the Associate Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Chicago, as well as a presiding judge on the archdiocese’s Metropolitan Tribunal.
(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 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)
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.