Diocese of Harrisburg Washes Hands of Laicized Priests instead of Protecting the Public
In August, the Diocese of Harrisburg in Pennsylvania told the public that they knew where accused predator priests were and that they had given that information they had to law enforcement officials. Today it appears that the information they had was actually precious little information since Diocesan officials have now come out and said they don’t actually know where all of their accused priests are.
Not only is this wholly irresponsible but also another indication of why independent investigations are so critical when trying to get to the bottom of an institutional sexual scandal. It is clear that institutions like the Diocese of Harrisburg cannot be trusted to police themselves or protect the public so we must rely on elected officials like Attorneys General and the justice system can do it instead. This has clearly been successful in Pennsylvania and as of today 13 total states have begun their own investigations. We urge Attorneys General in the remaining 37 states to immediately begin investigations of their own.
As to the situation in the Diocese of Harrisburg, the idea that churches have no information on priests that have been laicized is difficult to believe given the thorough personnel records that are typically kept. Regardless, we believe that when priests have been credibly accused of abuse and then defrocked by their diocese, it behooves those Diocesan officials to share all the information they have with police immediately. This will help ensure that there is a record of the allegations and will allow law enforcement to better protect the communities they serve.
CONTACT: Zach Hiner (517-974-9009, firstname.lastname@example.org)
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is 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.