We’re worried about the safety of kids now that Fr. “Alex” Flores walks free. We suspect he’ll “vanish” before he can be deported.
We also believe he could easily face more child sex charges and be convicted and imprisoned again. And we believe that Joliet Catholic officials could make this happen, if only they would find the courage to use their resources to seek out more people who may have seen, suspected or suffered Fr. Flores’ crimes.
Instead, we predict church officials will now do what they’ve long done in pedophile priest cases – little or nothing.
Joliet’s bishops – both Bishop Daniel Conlon and his predecessor, Bishop Peter Sartain – have been among the most complicit in the US. One would hope they might be interested in rehabilitating their sullied reputations and take action now to protect other from Fr. Flores for that reason alone. But again, we predict both prelates will stay silent.
We beg every Joliet area Catholic – current or former church staff or member – to search his or her conscience. We beg them to summon the strength it takes to speak up about known or suspected child sex crimes. We beg them to call police or prosecutors, so that those who commit or conceal heinous crimes against kids might face justice.
In 2010, when then-Joliet Bishop Sartain was promoted, here’s what SNAP’s David Clohessy said:
“On the same day, the Pope claims the church’s ‘top priority’ is to help victims heal but he promotes yet another callous bishop who conceals clergy sex crimes against children.
Just a few months ago, our group ‘outed’ two predator priests in Bishop Sartain’s Joliet diocese (Fr. F. Lee Ryan and Fr. Kevin McBrien). Sartain knew of the allegations for at least five months but kept kids at risk by staying silent.
Sartain violated the official US bishops abuse policy which mandates that credibly accused predator priests be suspended promptly.
A brave victim reported the crimes to Sartain’s top staffers in January 2010. Five months later, however, neither Sartain nor his staff took action against the two predator priests. The worried and frustrated victim contacted us and we disclosed the allegations. Finally, Sartain temporarily suspended the child molesting clerics.
Weeks ago, a Joliet chancery office staffer told that victim, privately, that one of the clerics would never be restored to ministry. But even now, Sartain chooses secrecy, refusing to disclose his decision publicly, leaving parishioners in the dark about whether or not this priest is a pedophile.
Sartain has done a terrible job on abuse and cover up in Joliet. His promotion shows, once again, that bishops who ignore or conceal child sex crimes keep getting rewarded, not punished.”