IL- Diocese of Joliet sued, SNAP responds
For immediate release: Friday, September 19, 2014
The Catholic Diocese of Joliet is being sued for allegedly hiding the crimes of a now deceased predator priest. We applaud these brave victims for having the courage to hold church officials accountable.
According to the new lawsuit, Fr. Leonardo Mateo abused at least three boys while he was working at Immaculate Conception Parish in Elmhurst, IL. Mateo also faces allegations from when he was ordained in the Philippines and when he worked in Los Angeles.
We urge Catholic officials in Joliet, Los Angeles and the Philippines to immediately reach out to parishioners and beg anyone who saw, suspects or suffered Mateo’s crimes to come forward, expose wrongdoers and start healing.
To local Catholics in every place Mateo worked, we plead: Ask your loved ones if they might have heard about or seen sexual misconduct by Mateo. If so, urge them to call police right away. Even though Mateo is dead, it is possible his victims are still suffering in silence and self blame and that church officials who concealed his crimes might still be prosecuted.
(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 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)
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.