Chile- Group blasts Chilean bishops over baby theft by priest
For immediate release: Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014
Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, email@example.com)
Chilean Catholic officials admit that a priest who “was instrumental in the forced adoption of at least two babies without the knowledge of their mothers” will not be punished. Shame on them.
Let's put this as clearly and simply as possible: Fr. Gerardo Joannon stole children from their mothers through deceit, and Catholic officials acknowledge this fact.
As depraved as this is, it's every bit as depraved that Catholic officials are doing nothing to punish Fr. Joannon. Shame on every member of the Catholic hierarchy who made or is silently tolerating this irresponsible, hurtful decision.
Fr. Joannon should be loudly and promptly drummed out of the priesthood.
Instead, Catholic officials are simply moving Fr. Joannon to Spain where, presumably he'll be around unsuspecting and vulnerable families. (Catholic officials also admit that the priest had an “inappropriate relationship” with one mother.)
By this callous and reckless act, Catholic officials are actually making a terrible situation worse – moving a predator to somewhere his abusive and criminal acts are less well known and thus more apt to be repeated. (And make no mistake about it: it's predatory and coercive for a priest to sexually exploit a Catholic woman, abusing his power and prestige with someone who likely was taught since birth to respect and trust an allegedly celibate cleric.)
What excuses will Catholic officials offer parishioners and the public if Fr. Joannon exploits and impregnates a woman in Spain?
(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 25years 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.
The Attorneys General of forty states have inquired about the grand jury process in Pennsylvania. Let's get statewide investigations going in fifty states.
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.