CO--Victims blast archbishop & leaflet downtown church today
Victims blast past Denver archbishop
Church officials keep quiet about cult-like group here
Its founder abused kids in Peru & others allegedly did so too
SNAP members will hand out leaflets to Cathedral mass-goers
Several members with the controversial group are now in Sheridan
And the widely-criticized organization has run a local retreat center
Advocates ask Catholic staffers to “disclose predators & warn flock”
WHAT: Handing leaflets to parishioners as they arrive for mass, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will urge Colorado’s top Catholic officials to:
–– “come clean” about their support for a controversial, ultra-conservative Catholic cult-like group whose founder is a confirmed child molester (and seven other officials are accused of wrongdoing),
–– stop promoting the group, supervise its local members closely, and
–– start warning other US bishops about it.
They will also beg anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes or cover ups in Colorado to call police officials, not church officials.
WHEN: Thursday, Oct. 27 at 11:50 a..m.
WHERE: Outside the Denver Catholic Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, at the corner of Logan and E. Colfax Avenue.
WHO: Several members of the 28,000 plus international support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org), including a Denver man who is the organization’s long-time volunteer Colorado director
WHY: Several years ago, the former head of the Denver Catholic archdiocese, Charles Chaput, brought to Denver a controversial Catholic sect whose founder sexually molested kids. His successors in SVC have said the allegations were credible. Seven others in the sect are accused of kidnapping and assaulting youth. Several members of the group ran/run a retreat center for the archdiocese and now work in an archdiocesan parish.
However, as best SNAP can tell, neither Chaput nor current Denver Archbishop Samuel Aquila have ever disclosed or discussed the crimes of the group’s officials, or explained their vigorous support of the group, either in Colorado, Pennsylvania, or Peru, where it is based.
The sect is called Sodalitium Christianae Vitae (SCV) and is sometimes called the Christian Life Movement.
The SCV runs the retreat center for the archdiocese called Camp Malo. http://sodalitium.org/the-sodalitium-in-the-us/
The pastor is an SCV priest, Fr. Daniel Cardó.
On the parish's Facebook page is a photo of one of the accused, former SCV “superior general” Eduardo Regal, attending an event at Holy Name with Fr. Cardo
Besides Figari, seven other SCV staffers have been accused of kidnapping, assault and criminal conspiracy. http://perureports.com/2016/05/13/new-criminal-allegations-catholic-society-peru/
"Former members of the SCV have formally accused founder Figari and other leaders of new crimes.
"Five former members have presented sworn statements to Peru’s justice department accusing Figari - along with SCV leaders Jaime Baertl, Virgilio Levaggi, Jose Ambrozic, Jose Antonio Eguren, Eduardo Regal, Oscar Tokumura and Erwin Scheuch - of kidnapping, assault and criminal conspiracy. ..."
The organization is an arch-conservative, cult-like group that is now the subject of shocking news coverage from Peru to Rome, SNAP says.
Its founder, Luis Fernando Figari, is a confirmed child molester (according to current SCV officials) and is in hiding in Rome. Figari was first accused publicly in 2011, but the crisis around his group exploded in 2015 in Peru, with the publication of a book, Half Monks Half Soldiers, that documented the allegations of 30 former SCV members.
For more than a decade, Chaput has been actively involved in Figari's group and is their leading U.S. patron.
In or around 2003, despite prior public reports of "psychological abuse and mistreatment" of SCV members, Chaput imported the group to Denver, where it still operates and thrives. In 2014, after he moved to Philadelphia, Chaput set up a branch there as well, and the group now runs centers at two Pennsylvania colleges.
Although no Philly-based or Denver-based member of the group has been accused of wrongdoing, a recent investigative report in Peru revealed that the organization is fundamentally a cult, and its culture both racist and misogynistic: "Obedience to [the founder was] forged on the basis of extreme physical demands and punishments" as well as "abuses which violated the fundamental rights of people."
The sect also has been described as fascist: Figari, the founder, admired Hitler and Mussolini, according to whistleblower Pedro Salinas, a former member and co-author of the 2015 book.
In the last year, dozens of SCV victims have come forward in Peru, forcing officials in the Vatican and in Peru to finally take action: 1) Six months ago, the organization’s current leader confirmed that the allegations against Figari were true; 2) Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani of Lima publicly decried the SCV, saying that all of its past officials were tainted; 3) an ethics commission recommended “barring anyone from representing the organization who held any position in the SCV during the years that the abuses were permitted;” and 4) in June, the Vatican sent Archbishop Joseph Tobin of Indianapolis to investigate the group at its Peruvian headquarters.
In the midst of this global uproar, and all these denunciations of the SVC, Aquila and Chaput have stayed silent. As best SNAP can tell, Chaput has not admitted his pivotal role as the SVC’s U.S. patron nor denounced Figari, whom he presumably knew well. Nor has Aquila discussed his association with the sect's leaders, eight of whom are today accused of kidnapping, assault, and criminal conspiracy.
In fact, in 2012, three of these now-accused leaders -- Eduardo Regal, former Superior General of the society: Jose Ambrozic; and Peruvian archbishop José Antonio Eguren SCV-- traveled from Peru to attend Aquila's installation as Denver archbishop. This SCV Facebook photo shows a beaming Aquila with Regal (far left) and Ambrozic (far right), both of whom are accused of kidnapping, criminal conspiracy, and assault.
Also in 2012, a year after Figari first was outed publicly as an accused sex abuser, and many years after Figari was first accused of psychological abuse and mistreatment, Chaput traveled to Lima to speak to the SCV and lavishly praised Figari: "God has worked something extraordinary through the passion and genius of Luis Fernando [Figari]." The talk is still posted on the Philadelphia archdiocese website:
Given the gravity and scope of the allegations against the group, SNAP believes Chaput owes the public a full accounting of his deep and longtime involvement. He and Aquila should explain the steps they took to vet the group's members whom he brought to the U.S., especially those currently living and ministering in Denver, SNAP maintains.
No matter what lawmakers or church officials do or don’t do, SNAP urges every single person who saw, suspected or suffered child sex crimes and cover ups in Catholic churches or institutions – especially in the Denver archdiocese – to protect kids by calling police, get help by calling therapists, expose wrongdoers by calling prosecutors, get justice by calling attorneys, and be comforted by calling support groups. SNAP says this is how kids will be safer, adults will recover, criminals will be prosecuted, cover ups will be deterred and the truth will surface.
Contact: James E. "Jeb" Barrett 720-608-8532, SNAPdenver@comcast.net, Michael Carpino 303-522-8956, firstname.lastname@example.org, David Clohessy 314-566-9790 (cell), email@example.com, Barbara Dorris 314-503-0003 cell, bdorris@SNAPnetwork.org, Barbara Blaine 312-399-4747, firstname.lastname@example.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.