CT--Victims asks AG to investigate "cult-like" group must take action in abuse case
For immediate release, November 8, 2016
The second-in-command of a Connecticut-based scandal-plagued religious group has been accused of child sexual abuse in a local civil lawsuit filed last week.
The priest, Fr. Luis Garza, has been accused of sexually abusing a child and trafficking the teen across international borders.
It is time for the George Jepsen and the Connecticut State Attorney General’s Office to take action and investigate the Legionnaires. No organization that cares for children and teens and enjoys nonprofit status should also be allowed to facilitate international child sex trafficking and cover up. The cult-like group has also been accused of financial misdeeds. It is time for law enforcement to use the power of the tried-and-true criminal justice system to stop these crimes.
The Legionnaires of Christ has had their American headquarters in Cheshire, CT, since the 1950s. It was founded by a priest who the Vatican admits molested up to 100 children.
While acting as the second-in-command of the order, Fr. Garza traveled the world and forced the victims of the order’s founder, Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado, to take secret vows to never tell of their abuse.
We fear there may be hundreds of victims of Legionnaire priests around the world—most of whom have been forced into vows of secrecy. Our children deserve full protection of our criminal justice system. We urge Mr. Jepsen to act now and keep our children safer from abuse.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has 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)
Contact - Joelle Casteix of Orange County, volunteer western regional director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (949 322 7434, email@example.com), David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, firstname.lastname@example.org), Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003cell, bdorris@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.