MA--Deacon & bishop blasted in clergy sex case
For immediate release: Friday, April 1
It’s heartbreaking to learn that a Catholic deacon told a mother to call church officials instead of independent professionals when her son was threatening suicide.
It’s even more heartbreaking to read, in the Springfield Republic, that “No one (from the church) called (her) back.”
There are a number of well-established, suicide prevention hotlines. Deacon David Baillargeon should know this. Springfield Bishop Mitchell Rozanski should tell his staff this.
And church employees should resist the arrogant temptation to assume that their colleagues know best how to handle every situation, especially crises and crimes.
Baillargeon should have also called police or at least urged the mom to do so. Even though the accused offender, Fr. Paul Archambault, was deceased, it’s always possible that police could investigate whether others broke the law by ignoring or concealing his crimes. All crimes, no matter when we learn of them, should be reported to the unbiased, experienced professionals in law enforcement.
We hope Bishop Rozanski quickly and clearly tells his staff and flock that independent secular experts should be called in crisis situations and about suspected crimes.
Finally, we hope others who saw, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes or cover ups – especially in the Springfield diocese – come forward, seek help, and turn to unbiased sources. We urge every single person with suspicions about or knowledge of child sex crimes and cover ups in Catholic churches or institutions to protect kids by calling police, get help by calling therapists, expose wrongdoers by calling journalists, get justice by calling attorneys, and get comfort by calling support groups like ours. This is how kids will be safer, adults will recover, criminals will be prosecuted, cover ups will be deterred and the truth will surface.
(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)