Aug. 5, 2013
Dear Bishop Braxton:
You and your brother bishops have repeatedly pledged to be “open and transparent” about clergy sex abuse. Yet you refuse to tell your flock
--that no Belleville predator priest is being housed and monitored by the diocese,
--that other dioceses do, in fact, house and monitor predator priests,
--that only two Belleville predator priests have been defrocked,
--that six or seven of Belleville predator priests are still on the payroll, and
-- how many victims have contacted you or how much you’re spending on their therapy. (The last such figures, provided by your predecessor, are almost a decade old).
At the same time, you’re quietly renovating your home again and quietly and repeatedly traveling abroad. Who’s paying for this?
We respectfully but firmly urge you to reveal who paid for your trips overseas. We urge you to halt your new kitchen renovation and be honest about who paid for it.
For the safety of kids, we urge you to stay home, house predator priests, and monitor them. To honor your pledge of “openness,” we urge you to reveal how many boys and girls have been sexually assaulted by Belleville priests, and how much is being paid for their therapy.
We believe your flock deserves this information. And parents of vulnerable kids need this information. It’s common knowledge that suspending child molesting clerics does not cure them. And since some of these dangerous and potentially dangerous clerics were ousted from active parish work 20 years ago, we believe many citizens know little about their crimes. Some of them are very likely around unsuspecting families right now.
All of them were recruited, educated, ordained, trained, hired, supervised and transferred by Belleville Catholic officials. Some of them are on the Belleville diocesan payroll. So you have a duty to protect boys and girls from them.
We suspect you will claim that your small diocese lacks the funds to do some of this. It’s hard for us, however, to accept excuses like this, because there’s nothing we can imagine that is more crucial than the protection of children.
It’s especially hard to hear such excuses when you paid $18,000 to buy a new table and chairs for your office and new ceremonial vestments from restricted funds.
Please put the safety of children first and take tangible steps to warn Catholics and citizens about these men who have been deemed too dangerous to work in your parishes but who likely live and work now around neighbors and co-workers who don’t know about they are child molesters.
We look forward to hearing from you.
David Clohessy, Director, SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, (7234 Arsenal Street, St. Louis MO 63143), 314 566 9790 cell (SNAPclohessy@aol.com)
Barbara Dorris, SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, (314 503 0003, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)