Evansville bishop pledged to post accused priests’ names
Evansville bishop pledged to post accused priests’ names
SNAP: “But it’s been 3+ months of reckless delay & secrecy”
Supoprt group also prods attorney general to do investigation
And they beg other victims, witnesses and whistle blowers to speak up
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, a clergy sex abuse victim and advocate will
--push the top local Catholic official to honor his pledge and reveal accused priests’ name now,
--beg anyone who saw, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes or cover ups in Indiana to contact law enforcement or groups like his, and
--urge the Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill to join his colleagues in 16 states and launch an investigation into all five of the state’s dioceses
Wednesday, January 16 at 2:45 p.m.
On the sidewalk outside Evansville Diocese headquarters (“chancery”) 4200 N. Kentucky Avenue (corner of Hesmer) in Evansville (812 424 5536)
Two abuse victims: a Missouri man who is the St. Louis volunteer leader of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (and the organization's former long time executive director) and an Illinois man who is the group’s Chicago volunteer leader
Last September, Evansville Bishop Joseph M. Siegel pledged to post the names of "credibly accused" abusers on his website.
However, he still has not done so. Every day a predator remains hidden, SNAP says, kids are unnecessarily at risk. For “the safety of the vulnerable and the healing of the suffering,” the group wants the names revealed now. That is the single best step the bishop could take to prevent more horrific crimes against more innocent kids, the survivors' group says.
SNAP also wants to make sure Bishop Siegel includes the work histories, photos and whereabouts of every accused priest or deacon. Where these clerics are now is important because nearby parents and prospective employers should be warned about their presence, the group contends.
These other details are important because that information helps victims identify the clerics who assaulted them. It usually takes decades for survivors to come forward. They might only recall that everyone called the priest "Father Mac," not knowing whether he was Fr. Mack Smith or Fr. McGillicuty or Fr. MacArthur. Even parents who are long-time parishioners may have trouble remembering a priest who may have worked in their church just a few months before mysteriously vanishing with no explanation or a vague explanation from the diocesan hierarchy.
SNAP also urges Bishop Siegel to include religious orders clergy on his list. Some dioceses have claimed that the religious orders are not under their supervision, but that is a technicality, SNAP contends. What matters, the group says, is that these priests worked in diocesan churches with diocesan staff and around diocesan kids, all of which are under the control of the local bishop. Other prelates, including Jefferson City MO Bishop Shawn McKnight, list religious order priests right along with diocesan clergy.
Bishop Siegel has a duty to “aggressively seek out others who may have seen, suspected or suffered” crimes by these clerics, “share that information with law enforcement and offer help to the wounded,” SNAP says.
SNAP maintains “Disclosing the truth is the best way to safeguard the vulnerable, heal the wounded and help the church move forward.”
Last fall, Attorney General Curtis Hill said that an investigation in Indiana would have to begin at a local level and result from specific criminal charges.
SNAP notes that there are 92 county prosecutors in the state and says that AG Hill should “use his political clout and bully pulpit" to urge D.A.'s to examine their files for cases they can prosecute.
“Where there’s a will, there’s a way,” the group maintains.
According to BishopAccountability.org, there are 11 publicly accused child molesting Evansville clerics: Michael E. Allen, Mark Ciganovich, Joseph L. Clauss, Wilfred "Fred" L. Englert, David Fleck, Kenneth Graehler, Mark Kurzendoerfer, Othmar H. Schroeder, Francis A. Schroering, Jean F. Vogler and Richard J. Wildeman.
The most recently accused is Fr. Fleck, who was suspended last September. The priest worked in a number of schools (Mater Dei High School and Vincennes' Rivet High School) and parishes (Vincennes, Petersburg, Montgomery, Oakland City and Bicknell) and lived in Haubstadt.
The Evansville diocese covers all or part of 12 counties in southwestern Indiana and has roughly 90,800 Catholics.
The other four Indiana dioceses are Ft. Wayne, Lafayette, Gary and Indianapolis (which is technically an archdiocese). All of them have already released their “credibly accused” lists.
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.