Geneva--UN panel to issue report on clergy abuse

For immediate release: Tuesday, Feb. 4 2014

Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

 

Tomorrow, at 6:00 a.m. Eastern time, a United Nations panel in Geneva is expected to release a formal report on whether Vatican officials are complying with a treaty on children's rights.

It will likely be posted here:

And here: http://ccrjustice.org/  and here http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/CRC/Pages/CRCIndex.aspx  

No matter what the panel does, this has already been a historic and helpful process for wounded victims and vulnerable kids.

We're grateful to the panel for fulfilling their mission of making the children of the world safe from violence.

We are grateful for their calling the Vatican to give an accounting and hope this added scrutiny will deter church officials - and others in other institutions - from protecting those who commit and conceal heinous violent crimes against kids in the future. 

We hope - and believe - it also will give hope to victims of child abuse all over the world and that the crimes they suffered will no longer go unnoticed. For decades victims of clergy abuse felt helpless. With the UN questioning of Vatican officials victims feel that when they find the courage to come forward that they will be heard and justice is possible.

We hope, in a tangible way, it will inspire those who have been sexually violated - in any setting - to step forward to seek justice, expose corruption and protect children.

At the same time, however, we doubt whether Catholic officials will make any real reforms. They seem fixated on internal policies and procedures that are largely public relations maneuvers. Last month in Geneva, they dodged questions by the UN panel and repeated the same tired, ridiculous claim that Vatican officials have little or no control over how this on-going crisis is dealt with across the globe.

http://www.snapnetwork.org/geneva_catholic_officials_deny_vatican_power_at_un

Real reform will come when more secular authorities – local, national and international – find the courage to investigate and pursue those who enable child molesting clerics to assault children and destroy evidence, fabricate alibis, intimidate victims, threaten whistleblowers, discredit witnesses and protect wrongdoers' reputations instead of children's safety.

To hasten this real reform, it's crucial that those who see, suspect or suffer clergy sexual violence and cover ups continue to find the courage to speak up, expose wrongdoers, call police, protect kids and start healing.

(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 25 years and have more than 15,000 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)

Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, SNAPclohessy@aol.com), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747, SNAPblaine@gmail.com), Peter Isely (414-429-7259, peterisely@yahoo.com), Joelle Casteix (949-322-7434, jcasteix@gmail.com)

    

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commented 2014-02-04 17:10:03 -0600 · Flag
The following letter was sent to Rita Flaherty of the Pittsburgh Diocese. She responded that it was passed on to the appropriate people.

Hello Rita Flaherty,
Can you review this information with the appropriate people at the diocese. I believe the attempted murder of my son could have been avoided if the Pittsburgh Diocese had properly reacted to the many warnings received about Father John Wellinger, a credibly accused sexual predator.

I also want this letter passed on to Bishop David Zubik, can you advise how I can best do this.
Please respond that you did receive this message. I can be reached at 412-233-5491

Mike Ference

An open letter to Bishop David Zubik, Pittsburgh Diocese

Could the attempted murder of my son, Adam Ference been averted if diocesan hierarchy had properly supervised former Catholic priest Father John Wellinger.

Please review my allegations, noting which ones are true or false. If you need additional information, I would gladly provide it.

Question 1. Allegedly, in the first quarter of 1987 Fr. John Wellinger, a priest of the Pittsburgh diocese and pastor of Holy Spirit Parish in West Mifflin, PA, drugged a University of Pittsburgh student in an apartment that the victim shared with his older brother, also a Pitt student.

According to the victim, he was knocked out for hours. When he awoke, he intuitively called 911. After rushing downstairs, against the wishes of Fr Wellinger,
the teenage victim flag down meet the ambulance and the attending EMTs in the street.

The allegation of the rest of the event goes as follows:

The ambulance whisked away to Presbyterian University Hospital emergency room (now University of Pittsburgh Medical Center; UPMC). Fr. Wellinger allegedly followed the young victim to the hospital. Upon finding him in the emergency room, the victim requested that Wellinger find his nurse. When the nurse returned the victim would explain that Wellinger was the man who had drugged him.

Wellinger was ushered out by the nurse. To the best of my knowledge police were not notified; not even a security guard from the hospital. The victim was not examined by a doctor. In other words, the entire event was covered-up.

The parents of the victim came to the hospital and took their son home. Furthermore, I was told by then Clairton Public Safety Director William Scully, in January of 1990, that a hospital worker, possibly a social worker, warned the parents to not take on the Pittsburgh diocese, because they are too powerful and wealthy.

I can provide the victim’s name and contact information to verify my story.

Bishop David Zubik is this event TRUE or FALSE. If it’s true, the attempted murder of my son could have been averted.

Question 2. Allegedly, a few days after the above event, the victim’s father searched out Wellinger at the parish house. At the time, Wellinger was holding a parish council meeting. So, there were plenty of witnesses present, including the victim’s mother. The victim’s father was angry, because Andreas Wellinger had allegedly drugged his son and possibly raped and sodomized him. The man was also angry over an outing that lasted all night long between Wellinger and his wife. According to an eyewitness Wellinger was ushered out a back door and the West Mifflin Police were called.
Concerned for the safety of Fr. Wellinger, parish council members ushered the priest out the back door and called the West Mifflin Police. Parish councils were logically concerned, because the victim’s father may have been intoxicated and carrying a weapon.

Is there evidence of any police report? Did the father would receive notification from attorneys for the Diocese of Pittsburgh to stay away from Father John Wellinger and to stay off Holy Spirit property in West Mifflin, PA.

Bishop David Zubik is this event TRUE or FALSE. If it’s true, the attempted murder of my son could have been averted.

Question 3. An allegation was brought to my attention within the past year or two, by a Catholic priest who stated to me via telephone that a person by the last name of Volmer went to Father Charles Bober in 1987 and warned Bober about Fr Wellinger’s deviant behavior. To the best of my knowledge, nothing was done.

Bishop David Zubik is this event TRUE or FALSE. If it’s true, the attempted murder of my son could have been averted.

Question 4. Sometime in 1988, the personal secretary of Father Wellinger allegedly went to the Pittsburgh diocese and spoke to Father Ronald Lengwin about Wellinger’s deviant behavior. She also reported that a teenage boy used the rectory as his home for the longest time and enjoyed making 900 calls to porn sites, while costing the parish hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.

Sadly, the women whom I interviewed would be labeled as a rumor-monger, and once again, Bishop Bevilacqua and would err on the side of dysfunctional sex freak, Fr John Wellinger, rather than erring on the side of caution.

Bishop David Zubik is this event TRUE or FALSE. If it’s true, the attempted murder of my son could have been averted.

Question 5. A suicide occurred in Father John Wellinger’s parish in 1989. According to then Clairton Public Safety Director William Scully, the suicide allegedly was linked to Wellinger. Scully said that he just didn’t have the needed proof. The boy was a 16 year old who took a gun to his head and pulled the trigger.

According to Scully, the boy had an interest in the occult and Satanism. Wellinger would hold a seminar on occult practice and Satanism months later.

Bishop David Zubik is this event TRUE or FALSE. If it’s true, the attempted murder of my son could have been averted.

Here’s her response:
Mike,
I did receive your email and will share it with the appropriate people here. If you want to send a letter to Bishop Zubik, you can send it to him at:

Bishop David Zubik
Diocese of Pittsburgh
111 Blvd. of the Allies
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Have a good afternoon!
Rita Flaherty
Our most powerful tool is the light of truth. Through our actions, we bring healing, prevention and justice.



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