IL- Catholic monk jailed again; “Where’s the outrage?” SNAP asks
One week. Catholic officials couldn’t keep a monk away from children for one week, even after the monk was forbidden to have contact with children and had been arrested and charged with a felony for attempted child abduction and misdemeanor disorderly conduct.
Where’s the outrage by Chicago area Catholic officials? It’s their flock that the monk likely assaulted. Where’s the outrage by Wisconsin Catholic officials (especially Milwaukee’s archbishop). It’s their flock that the monk’s supervisors likely endangered (by callous or careless supervision).
Here’s the short version:
On April 25, Thomas Chmura of the Benedictine order in Wisconsin drove up to a 14-year-old girl who ran away after repeatedly being asked to get in his car. Authorities said he later admitted he had approached the victim for the purpose of sexual gratification and had also offered rides to teenage girls several other times in recent weeks.
On May 2, he was “ordered back to jail,” the Chicago Tribune reports, “after authorities said that, during a routine check of the abbey by court officials, children were found to be present in the complex. That violated the conditions of Chmura's bond, which forbids him contact with anyone under the age of 17, prosecutors and police said.”
This is much like the roiling controversy surrounding Archbishop John Myers of Newark (who from 1999-2001 headed the Peoria Diocese). An admitted predator priest there, Fr. Michael Fugee, had similarly been ordered by prosecutors to keep away from children.
But Myers put Fr. Fugee in a hospital chaplaincy (until hospital staff learned of the priest’s conviction and ousted him). And Fugee heard kids’ confessions, attended kids’ retreats and even travelled with kids to Canada, all in apparent violation of the explicit agreement he and his Catholic supervisors had signed with law enforcement.
Kids are safest when predators are jailed. When that can’t happen, predators need to be in remote, secure, independent treatment facilities. And those who ignored or enabled their crimes have a duty to aggressively seek out others who have information or suspicions about clergy child sex crimes and actively help police and prosecutors pursue these predators.
But the day of secular authorities trusting religious figures to supervise known or suspected sex offender clerics should be long past.
We hope every single person who may have seen, suspected or suffered Chmura’s crimes will call police and protect others. And we hope every single person who knows of or suspects crimes or cover ups by Benedictine officials will do likewise.
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.
The Attorneys General of forty states have inquired about the grand jury process in Pennsylvania. Let's get statewide investigations going in fifty states.
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.