CT- Victims challenge new Bridgeport bishop
Victims challenge new Bridgeport bishop
They're worried about two accused clerics
One abused an adult woman but is in a parish right now
Another is on 'tribunal' despite three accusations against him
Group wants prelate to bring in “outside investigators”
And it applauds him for meeting with concerned Catholics
SNAP: “But listening to your flock doesn't protect children”
Bishop should post names of child molesting clerics, victims say
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will
--disclose that a Catholic priest is still on a Bridgeport church tribunal despite having been accused of concealing another priest's child sex crimes and of committing child sex crimes himself, and
--discuss the case of another Catholic priest who is still in a parish despite church officials paying a settlement to one of his victims.
They will prod Bridgeport's bishop – in his new post now for six months – to
--hire an outside firm to investigate the charges against both priests and discipline them if the evidence shows it is warranted, and
--permanently post on his diocesan website the names, photos, whereabouts and work histories of all proven, admitted and credibly accused Bridgeport child molesting clerics.
Wednesday, March 19 at 11:00 a.m.
Outside the Bridgeport Catholic diocese headquarters (“chancery”), 238 Jewett Ave., (corner of Peet Street) in Bridgeport CT
Two or three child sex abuse victims who belong to a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (including a Chicago woman who is the organization's president and founder)
SNAP wants Bridgeport Bishop Frank Caggiano to hire an outside firm to investigate two local priests who are accused of abusing youngsters. One of them is in a parish now. The other is also accused of concealing a fellow priest's crimes.
1) In 2009, based on hundreds of pages of church records, the Connecticut Post reported that Msgr. William Genuario “reviewed sex abuse complaints against priests and gave orders to move them around.” (For nine years, he held a high ranking post as the diocese's vicar general.)
Specifically, Msgr. Genuario is accused of hiding the crimes of Fr. Frank Wissell. Two men charged that Wissell abused them and that Genuario did not take action to remove the predator or prevent abuse.
And he was accused of child sex abuse by two brothers and settlements were paid to them. (Their attorney was Jeff Anderson, 651 227 9990, 612 817 8665, email@example.com).
The diocese paid another settlement to a third victim of Msgr. Genuario in 2006.
Msgr. Genuario is supposedly “retired” but is currently head of the diocese's tribunal which (according to the Post), “a court where people can bring petitions to adjudicate issues involving their rights or status.” He reportedly lives at Queen of Clergy retirement home in Stamford.
2) In January, during masses at Our Lady of Grace Parish in Stratford, Monsignor Martin Ryan addressed – but did not confirm or deny – abuse allegations against him. And just before that, Bridgeport Roman Catholic Bishop Frank Caggiano apologized to members of the parish for not speaking earlier about the allegations.
In 2011, diocesan officials removed Ryan as pastor of St. Edward the Confessor Church in New Fairfield after they say he was accused of inappropriately touching a female parish employee and after he admitted sending inappropriate emails to her.
In 2003, the diocese settled a lawsuit accusing Ryan of molesting a teenage girl in the early 1970s at St. Theresa's Church in Trumbull. Ryan denied the allegations.
He was reportedly accused of molesting two other teenage girls.
According to the New York Times, then-Bishop William Lori said he “stood by the decision to allow Monsignor Ryan to continue working. ‘He’s not a predator,' he said. 'These allegations are old. He's not at all a threat to young people.'"
3) For the safety of kids, SNAP also wants Bishop Caggiano to release the identities of all child molesting clerics (proven, admitted and credibly accused) who live/lived or work/worked in the Bridgeport area and post them permanently on his web page. Roughly 30 US bishops have taken this step over the past decade.
According to a Boston-based independent research group called BishopAccountabilty.org, there are 34 publicly accused Bridgeport diocesan child molesting clerics. SNAP notes that the actual number of Bridgeport area pedophile priests is likely much higher because BishopAccountability.org lists only those clerics against whom allegations have been lodged in the public domain in civil lawsuits, criminal prosecution or news accounts.
Finally, SNAP also applauds Caggiano for meeting recently with members of VOTF, Voice of the Faithful, but cautions that one meeting “doesn't protect the vulnerable or heal the wounded or punish the enablers or deter future cover ups.”
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.