- Ousted predator priest to be reinstated
- He was removed in 2010 after allegations
- Local Catholic officials deemed charges “credible”
- But now Vatican forces them to put priest back, they claim
- Joliet’s bishop is head of US bishops’ child sex abuse panel
- Move is “extraordinarily reckless and callous,” SNAP maintains
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will disclose a new private email – sent this week - showing that Joliet’s Catholic bishop is putting a previously-ousted predator priest back on the job this week, allegedly because the Vatican is ordering him to do so. Ironically, Joliet’s bishop heads the sex abuse committee for all of America’s bishops.
The victims will also urge Catholic officials – here and in Rome – to:
--reverse the move,
--put the priest in a remote, secure treatment facility, and
--do “everything possible” to seek out anyone who may have seen, suspected, or suffered the priest’s crimes (so that he might be prosecuted and children might be protected).
TODAY, Wednesday, September, 12, at 2 p.m.
Two-three members of a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org)
Outside the Joliet Catholic diocese headquarters (“chancery office”) at 425 Summit St. in Joliet IL.
SNAP has obtained a private email – sent Monday by Joliet chancery office staffer Molly Fara (firstname.lastname@example.org) – showing that Bishop Daniel Conlon is putting back in ministry a predator priest who had been ousted from active ministry because of child sexual abuse allegations which Joliet church officials themselves have admitted, in writing, are “credible.”
The move is to be made and publicly announced today. (Copies of the private email will be available along with other material about the case.)
The priest is Fr. Lee Ryan, who was removed in May of 2010 from St. Edmund’s parish in Watseka, IL after a man reported that he had been abused by Fr. Ryan at a Catholic high school during the 1970s. Although Fr. Ryan denied the allegations, then-Bishop J. Peter Sartain ousted him. A letter to the victim confirmed that the Joliet diocesan abuse committee determined his accusations were “credible.”
Despite this, and despite a decade-old “one strike” abuse policy and pledge made by all American prelates, current Joliet Bishop Conlon is restoring Fr. Ryan to ministry, a move that SNAP leaders decry as “hurtful and dangerous.”
The decision is especially egregious, SNAP says, because Bishop Conlon heads the US Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People.
“He’s America’s bishops’ child safety guru, but he’s knowingly putting kids in danger,” said SNAP’s Barbara Blaine.
SNAP wants Bishop Conlon to immediately reverse course, keep Fr. Ryan out of ministry, and put him in a treatment center so that children will be safer. They also want Conlon to explain his decision making process, and make public his alleged correspondence with Vatican officials who, Conlon claims, are essentially insisting that he put Ryan back on the job.
SNAP is also begging anyone with knowledge or suspicions of Ryan’s crimes or misdeeds to speak up, call police, expose wrongdoing, protect others and start healing.
Barbara Blaine, SNAP President, 312 399 4747
Kate Botche, SNAP Spokesperson, 630 768 1860