For immediate release: July 31, 2013
Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, SNAPclohessy@aol.com)
We see no evidence that Bridgeport’s new bishop has shown any real courage or compassion in the church’s on-going clergy sex abuse and cover up crisis. The crisis has hit the Brooklyn diocese hard – it has 53 proven, admitted and credibly accused priests. We see no indication that during his 25 years in Brooklyn he took any steps that were any different from any Catholic priest anywhere. So we are not encouraged by his promotion.
In Bridgeport, there are 34 proven, admitted and credibly accused priests. Many of them are still alive, few of them are incarcerated, and most are likely living among unsuspecting neighbors. Alerting the public about the whereabouts of these potentially dangerous men should be Caggiano’s first act as Bridgeport’s bishop. Then, he should post their names, photos and whereabouts on the diocesan website and in parish bulletins.
Bridgeport parishioners have endured years of poor leadership. Complacency won’t reverse this. Connecticut Catholics must be vigilant and skeptical. Complacency protects no one. Vigilance is crucial.
Many will be inclined to give Bishop Caggiano the benefit of the doubt. That’s reckless. He’s been a priest for decades, during a crucial time in the church. But he seems to have done little or nothing to distinguish himself from a largely callous, timid and deceptive church hierarchy.
We hope our misgivings about him will be proven wrong. For now, however, we urge everyone in Bridgeport who sees, suspects or suffers child sex crimes or cover ups to contact secular officials, not church officials.