GA--Victims blast “misleading comments” by Atlanta archbishop
For immediate release: Friday, April 8, 2016
Atlanta’s top Catholic official is misleading his flock instead of protecting it.
He refuses to post predator priests’ names on church websites. He’s making deceptive claims about his dealings with pedophiles. And despite repeated pledges to be “open” about predator priests, he’s refusing to answer questions about six of them who were “outed” for abuse elsewhere but worked or spent time in his archdiocese.
Two days ago, in response to questions from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC) Archbishop Wilton Gregory claimed “Our archdiocese has one of the most stringent safe environment policies in the country, including zero tolerance for abuse.” We challenge him to prove this. We strongly believe this isn’t true.
We’ve asked Gregory twice to protect kids by warning his flock about these predators and posting their names on church websites. We’ve asked him to aggressively reach out to anyone else they may have been hurt, because many victims are suicidal, agoraphobic, addicted, depressed and trapped in silence, shame and self-blame.
Gregory ignores us. And when the AJC asks him questions about these child molesting cleric, he rebuffs them.
And honestly, even if Gregory’s archdiocese does have stronger policies, that’s virtually meaningless. Church abuse policies are rarely followed. Bishops adopt them for selfish reasons, because church public relations staff and defense lawyers and insurers tell them they’ll look good with written abuse protocols on the books.
So come on Archbishop. Stop ducking and dodging. Show some courage and compassion. Use your dozens of church bulletins and hundreds of church staff to let vulnerable families know about the proven, admitted and credibly accused child molesting clerics who are or were in your jurisdiction. How hard is that?
Gregory has a less than stellar history with child sexual abuse cases. Consider these examples.
-- In 2004, just two years after the Dallas bishops’ meeting, he was found in contempt of court for withholding evidence in a child sex abuse trial http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news2004_01_06/2004_05_02_BellevilleNewsDemocrat_BellevilleDiocese.htm
--Members of the bishops’ own hand-picked abuse panel said he was guilty of "backsliding" on many of the child safety measures in the adopted by all US bishops in 2002. Board members also said that they were intentionally manipulated by Gregory and other bishops. http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news2004_01_06/2004_05_11_Feuerherd_ReviewBoard.htm
--He was accused of shielding and hiding a priest who had been accused of abuse and then refused a court order to turn over the secret records of that predator priest. The predator abused at least five kids, impregnating one of them. http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news2008/07_08/2008_08_05_Pawlaczyk_JuryWill.htm
No matter what Gregory does or doesn’t do, we urge every single person who saw, suspected or suffered child sex crimes and cover ups in Atlanta 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)
Atlanta’s Catholic leader hasn’t posted names of pedophile priests
By Johnny Edwards - The Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Posted: 3:57 p.m. Wednesday, April 6, 2016
Concerned that some victims of sexual abuse by Catholic clerics still may not have come forward, advocates have been pressing Atlanta’s top Catholic cleric to post the names of accused child predators on the archdiocese website.
But after a year of pressure from the nationwide Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, Archbishop Wilton Gregory has yet to act. Nor has he explained why he won’t post the names of any priests, deacons, brothers or nuns accused of molesting children who spent time working in the Atlanta area, whether the allegations arose here or not.
The group has already identified . . .
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.