TX--Victims blast Catholic officials
Victims blast Catholic officials
Child sex abuse case vs. priest settles
But church hierarchy acts “callously,” group says
SNAP: “Bishop must “reach out” to others who were hurt
Group urges Ft. Worth diocese to put 3 more predators on its website
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will
-- blast two Catholic officials for their reaction to a recent clergy sex abuse settlement,
-- make public the personnel files of this offender, and
-- urge them to “aggressively reach out” to others who may have been hurt by the predator priest.
They will also prod Ft. Worth’s bishop to
-- post at least three more names of credibly accused child molesting clerics on his website, and
-- send a letter rebuking an Arkansas church staffer who made harsh remarks that hurt a victim.
Wednesday, Feb. 4 at 11:00 a.m.
Outside the Ft. Worth Catholic cathedral, 1206 Throckmorton Street (corner of 11th) in Ft. Worth
Three-four victims who belong to a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org)
A Dallas area attorney has disclosed that two Catholic institutions – the Ft. Worth diocese and an Arkansas abbey – have settled a clergy sex abuse case. The victim is a Ft. Worth woman and the crimes took place in Cooke County at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Muenster. The alleged predator is a now-deceased priest, Fr. Bede Mitchel, who taught at Corpus Christi Academy and Laneri High School in Ft. Worth, worked at six local parishes and traveled extensively leading retreats and missions.
But SNAP is begging Catholic officials – in Ft. Worth and Arkansas - to do more. Specifically, the group wants church staff to “come clean” about all child molesting clerics and post their names on church websites “for the safety of the vulnerable and healing of the wounded.” Roughly 30 US bishops have done this.
In 2013, the Ft. Worth posted such a list. But the diocese omits at least three names that SNAP says have been “outed” as predators in other dioceses.
They are Fr. Mitchel, Fr. Tony Pistone and Fr. Hugh John Sutton. Last year, Fr. Sutton was accused of molesting at least one child at Notre Dame Catholic School in Wichita Falls, TX in the early 1990s. In 2005, Fr. Pistone left his post at a Catholic school in St. Louis MO, campus after accusations surfaced that he had groped a youth at Nolan Catholic High School in Ft. Worth TX in 1980s. (In 2006, he was sued and later, that suit was settled out of court.)
“It’s deceptive and dangerous for Bishop Olson to ignore these predators and hide their crimes,” said David Clohessy, SNAP’s director.
SNAP also accuses Olson of “playing ‘good cop’ (by making bland public comments about the Fr. Mitchel case) while letting his Arkansas colleague ‘play bad cop’ (by make callous public remarks about the case and the victim). Last week, the Arkansas church official, Abbot Jerome Kodell of Subiaco Abbey, told the Ft. Worth Star Telegram that “If this had gone to trial, Fr. Mitchel would have been found innocent.”
The group is urging Ft. Worth Bishop Michael Olson to write – and make public – a letter censuring Kodell for this “insensitive” remark which SNAP says was designed “to discourage other victims from speaking up about Fr. Mitchel and other predator priests.”
“These kinds of hurtful comments depresses and hurts victims and keeps them from reporting crimes and getting help,” said Clohessy. “It rubs even more salt into the deep wounds of this brave family. And absolutely no good comes from it whatsoever.”
Kodell also claimed that an insurance company made him settle the case.
“That’s disingenuous because it contradicts the obvious fact that both the Ft. Worth Catholic officials AND the insurance company found this brave victim’s abuse report credible,” Clohessy said.
Fr. Mitchel also worked in these towns: Lindsay (St. Peter’s parish), Scotland (St. Boniface’s parish), Windthorst (St. Mary’s parish) and two other Ft. Worth parishes (St. Paul’s and St. Mary of the Assumption). Fr. Mitchel’s photo and work history is here:
Other proven, admitted or credibly accused child molesting clerics who spent time in the Ft. Worth diocese include Fr. James Bernard Hanlon, Fr. Henry Herrera, Fr. William Reece Hoover, Fr. John Howlett, Fr. William Paiz, Fr. Gilbert Albert Pansza, Fr. Tony ,Pistone Fr. James Joseph Reilly, Fr. Rudolf John Renteria, Fr. Gerard M. Scholl, Fr. Hugh John Sutton, Fr. Joseph (Ngoc Nguyen) Tu, and Fr. Francis A. Zimmerer.
Information about Fr. Sutton and Fr. Pistone is also at BishopAccountability.org
Fr. Mitchel’s victim is represented by attorney Tahira Khan Merritt (214-537-3789, firstname.lastname@example.org).
Contact – Amy Smith, SNAP Dallas Director 281 748 4050, email@example.com, Monica Baez 817 683 4046, David Clohessy 314-566-9790, firstname.lastname@example.org, Barbara Dorris 314-503-0003, bdorris@SNAPnetwork.org, Barbara Blaine 312-399-4747, bblaine@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.
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.