For immediate release Friday, November 8, 2013
Statement by Barbara Dorris, Outreach Director, 314-862-7688 SNAPdorris@gmail.com
We are alarmed that Chicago Catholic officials never contacted police, prosecutors or the Illinois Department of Children & Family Services about alleged “sexually explicit photographs” of a girl at a parochial school.
It is stunning that Hales Franciscan High School principal Jeffrey Gray told the Chicago Tribune that "We did not think it was a criminal act because it [was] dealing with minors.” At best, that’s alarmingly wrong-headed. At worst, it’s a lie.
The photos apparently circulated a month ago.
Coincidently, this troubling report arises at the same time a similarly troubling case is unfolding in the Kansas City Missouri.
To anyone who reads or follows the news at all, it's as clear as it can possibly be: even now, despite decades of heinous sex crimes against kids and cover ups by Catholic officials, Catholic officials STILL try very hard to handle reports of such crimes quietly and internally, telling the fewest people possible and NOT telling law enforcement.
So if you see, suspect or suffer any sex crimes or sexual misdeeds in a Catholic school or parish, we beg you: do NOT tell any church or school staff. Tell the police. Tell the prosecutor. Tell the FBI. Or, if that's too frightening to ponder, tell a therapist, relative, friend or a support group.
But the minute you tell a single Catholic church or school employee, that's often when evidence is destroyed, victims are intimidated, witnesses are threatened, whistleblowers are discredited and cover ups are begun. Just don't take the risk. Just tell a trusted, outside source of help and support.
Finally, our hearts go out to the girl or girls in these photographs. Being used as an object for the sexual gratification or entertainment of others is dreadfully hurtful. We hope this victim or these victims will fully cooperate with law enforcement.
Shame on every single person who looked at and/or spread these photos. And shame on every single adult – especially school and archdiocesan staff – who refused to do their simple civic and moral duty – calling the police.