IL - Joliet priest is ousted again

  • Joliet priest is ousted again
  • Bishop reverses decision to restore predator to ministry
  • SNAP suspects that other victims of cleric have reported
  • Victims want some “straight answers” & “real outreach”
  • And SNAP wants prelate to step down as head of abuse panel

WHAT
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will blast Joliet’s bishop for
--acting “deceptively and recklessly” last week by putting a suspended, credibly accused predator priest, and
--giving vague reasons this week for suddenly reversing himself and removing the priest from active ministry.

The victims will also urge Joliet’s bishop to
--step down as head of the US bishops’ Committee on Child Sex Abuse,
--put the priest in a remote, secure treatment facility, and
--“come clean” about the number of child sex accusations against the priest.

WHEN
TODAY, Tuesday, September, 19, at 1:00 p.m.

WHO
Two-three members of a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org)

WHERE
Outside the Joliet Catholic diocese headquarters (“chancery office”) at 425 Summit St. in Joliet IL.

WHY
Yesterday, in a surprising reversal, Joliet Bishop Daniel Conlon removed Fr. Lee Ryan from active ministry for the second time. (Fr. Ryan was first ousted in May 2010 because of credible child sex abuse allegations.)

Last week, Conlon announced that he would reinstate Fr. Ryan, implying that church officials in Rome were essentially forcing him to do so.

The abuse accusations, deemed credible in 2010 by Joliet Catholic officials, are made by a Florida man who says he was sexually violated, starting at age 14, by Fr. Ryan at a Providence Catholic high school in New Lenox the 1970s. Although Fr. Ryan denied the allegations, then-Bishop J. Peter Sartain ousted him.

Despite these facts, and a decade-old “one strike” and “zero tolerance” abuse promise made by all American prelates, Conlon put Fr. Ryan back on the job. Less than a week later, Conlon has reversed course. SNAP is blasting Bishop Conlon for his recklessness and deception in putting Fr. Ryan back into ministry and his vagueness in changing his mind, and the callousness of the actions, which are very hurtful to Fr. Ryan’s victim.

“Last week Bishop Conlon implied that he had no say in Fr. Ryan’s reinstatement, blaming Vatican officials” said SNAP’s Barbara Blaine. “Yet if that claim were true, there’s no way he would be able to remove Fr. Ryan today.”

SNAP wants Bishop Conlon to immediately step down from his position as the chair of the USCCB’s Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People. And the organization wants Conlon to disclose how many individuals have accused Fr. Ryan of child sex crimes.

At the time he was suspended, Fr. Ryan worked at St. Edmund’s parish in Watseka, IL. That’s where Conlon put him back in ministry last week.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-met-joliet-bishop-revokes-priest-20120919,0,450859.story

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