FL--Catholic officials punish whistleblowers
Victims blast Palm Beach bishop
Catholic officials punish whistleblowers
And they wanted to help a predator flee
Support group wants law enforcement to investigate
SNAP: “Those who conceal abuse should also face charges”
Holding signs and childhood photos at a news conference, clergy sex abuse victims will blast Palm Beach’s Catholic bishop for retaliating against a whistleblower priest who called law enforcement when a colleague admitted child sex crimes and a nun who helped the whistleblower. The victims will also urge the bishop to
--hold an open public meeting to answer questions about the troubling allegations that his diocese tried to help a predator flee,
--explain whether he or his colleagues have done this with other child molesting clerics, and
--post all predator priests' names in parish bulletins and on church websites, and
--include their photos, work histories and whereabouts.
Tuesday, Jan. 26 at 1:30 p.m.
On the sidewalk outside the Palm Beach Catholic diocesan headquarters (“chancery”), 9995 N. Military Trail (corner of Holly Dr.) in Palm Beach Gardens
Two adults who were sexually abused as children who are members of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org), the nation’s largest support group for people who have been sexually abused in religious or institutional settings.
Hundreds of accused predator priests have fled or tried to flee the US, SNAP says, and one of the latest attempts, SNAP says, involves the admitted and now-convicted predator, Fr. Jose Palimattom.
In recent years, the Dallas Morning News (“Hiding in Plain Sight”), the Chicago Tribune and the Global Post (Will Carless) have documented this trend.
For the safety of kids, both in this country and abroad, SNAP wants Florida law enforcement agencies to investigate whether Palm Beach Catholic officials may have concealed evidence, obstructed justice, intimidated victims, threatened witnesses or violated any laws in the Fr. Palimattom case, especially in light of credible accusations by Fr. John Gallagher that church officials urged him to put the admitted predator on a plane instead of calling police.
For years, SNAP has urged bishops to take the passports of priests when abuse suspicions arise or reports against them surface. Since priests take vows of obedience to bishops and voluntarily give up many rights other US citizens have (the right to get married, to have sex, to volunteer at Planned Parenthood, the right to live where they want), it’s entirely appropriate for a bishop to tell a priest “Give me your passport until these allegations are cleared up,” SNAP says.
SNAP also wants local Catholic officials to post these predators’ names on church websites. Last week, Seattle Catholic officials posted 77 such names. About 30 US bishops have done this. http://www.bishop-accountability.org/AtAGlance/lists.htm
“It’s the quickest, easiest way to warn parents, police, prosecutors, parishioners and the public about predator priests,” says SNAP director David Clohessy. “It’s the very least church officials should do to protect the vulnerable, heal the wounded and expose the truth.”
According to BishopAccountability.org (an independent on-line archive of the church abuse and cover up crisis), the publicly accused child molesting clerics in the Palm Beach diocese are: Edwin Collins, Frank Flynn, Elias Francisco Guimaraes, Francis F Maloney, Jose Palimattom, Joseph Keith Symons.
David Pittman, Florida SNAP director (754 234 7975), David Clohessy (314 566 9790 cell, firstname.lastname@example.org), Barbara Dorris (314 503 0003 cell, bdorris@SNAPnetwork.org), Linda Pittman 772 985 9056
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.
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.