IL- Promotion of Springfield priest is “disturbing,” SNAP says
For immediate release: Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014
Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)
We're disappointed that a Springfield Catholic priest has been promoted to head the Wichita diocese.
Bishop Carl Kemme has been basically the second-in-command and actually ran the diocese for months in between bishop appointments. During those years, diocesan staff made a number of worrisome decisions. Here are two from just the past year.
– They temporarily let an accused child molesting cleric, Fr. Robert “Bud” DeGrand, resign from his posts, instead of suspending him, after delaying for a week after the diocesan abuse panel quietly urged them to oust Fr. DeGrand. They used vague, misleading language – like “misconduct” - to describe alleged child sex crimes, hoping to soften the horror of sexual assaults on children by clergy.
– They put Fr. Thomas Donovan back on the job after he'd been found by police to be wearing an orange jumpsuit and “a leather bondage-type mask with a bar in his mouth” (A church therapist allegedly diagnosed him as having engaged in "non-sexual self-bondage.")
Past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior. So we are not optimistic that he will take real steps to reform long-standing, deeply rooted patterns of irresponsible, self-serving behavior by bishops in this on-going crisis.
We hope that Bishop Kemme will immediately do something no Springfield bishop has yet done: make kids safer by posting the names of all credibly accused child molesting clerics on his diocesan website. Roughly 30 other bishops have taken this simple public safety step. (Here is the list of them: http://www.bishop-accountability.org/AtAGlance/diocesan_and_order_lists.htm)
And we hope current Springfield Bishop Thomas Paprocki will reconsider his refusal to do so.
(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 15,000 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)
Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, SNAPclohessy@aol.com), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747,SNAPblaine@gmail.com), Peter Isely (414-429-7259, firstname.lastname@example.org), Joelle Casteix (949-322-7434, email@example.com)
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.