IL- Archdiocese admits - 4 years late - another predator priest

IL- Archdiocese admits - 4 years late - another predator priest

For immediate release: Thursday, February 6, 2014

Statement by Barbara Blaine of Chicago, president of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (312-399-4747, SNAPblaine@gmail.com)

Four years ago, a priest was reported to Catholic officials for alleged child sexual abuse. Eight months ago, that priest was sued for alleged child sexual abuse.

Now, finally, Cardinal Francis George discloses that allegation. But he won't say why he kept the accusation secret for years and the lawsuit secret for months.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/religion/ct-priest-substantiated-allegation-met-20140206,0,3742481.story

Making a bad situation worse, as best we can tell, Fr. Wilk has not been monitored and could have preyed on other children or be preying on them now.

We desperately hope that, over the past four years, Fr. Wilk has not assaulted another child.

Where is the archdiocesan lay review board? Why are they not up in arms about this reckless and hurtful delay? Imagine if Fr. Wilk were accused of stealing money from the church. Think it would have taken four years for archdiocesan staff to resolve it?

Our hearts ache for both Fr. Wilk's victim and for that victim's father. Four years of irresponsible behavior by Catholic officials – who kept this serious allegation hidden – must have been very tough to take.

Many more credibly accused priests in the archdiocese are still unnamed, unsupervised and a threat to innocent children. More action is urgently needed.

We urge victims of abuse to contact us for support. We urge anyone who may have saw, suspect or experienced abuse to report it to secular officials.

Finally, every time a child sex abuse allegation against a priest, nun, seminarian, brother, bishop or teacher is substantiated by Catholic officials, George and his staff should announce it widely. They promised to be “open and transparent.” But they continue, time and time again, to keep accusations secret and do the absolute bare minimum disclosure they possibly can, leaving kids at risk and victims feeling re-victimized.

(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)

Comments

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.

  • commented 2014-02-06 11:44:39 -0600
    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