IL- Release of Joliet predator priest records, SNAP responds
For immediate release: Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 503 0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)
People often ask why we are here today. We are here because once again brave survivors have put aside their pain, put away their desire for privacy and stepped forward to protect children and reach out to others who have been hurt. They have had the wisdom to work with civil authorities and the persistence to demand the release of these documents which we believe will not only detail horrific abuse but will also reveal what church officials have done to enable, shield and protect these predators.
Bishop Conlon can claim that these documents are a stinging indictment of his predecessor Bishop Imesch. He can claim much of this did not happen on his watch. That may be true but he has done nothing to correct the horrible injustice inflicted on the brave survivors. He has done nothing to ensure these dangerous predators have no access to children.
Conlon claims on one hand to be a moral and spiritual leader, yet when it comes to clergy predators he becomes a cold hearted CEO who will stop at nothing to protect the reputation of his “company.” He has chosen to sit behind his desk waiting until the brave survivors haul him into court and even then he does only the bare minimum.
Of the 16 predators named in these documents, five, possibly six, are dead. What are church officials doing to ensure the others have no access to kids? Are they currently teachers, working in a daycare, scout leaders, coaching little league, babysitting, acting as mentors?
Conlon can claim there is nothing he can do about past crimes. We disagree. We urged Bishop Conlon to disclose not just the names, but the photos, work histories, personnel records and current whereabouts of all child molesting Catholic clerics. Not just those that are sued. Not just those on the diocesan payroll. All of them. Anything less is selfish and irresponsible.
He should stop burnishing his image. He should start protecting his flock.
He should stop splitting hairs. He should start acting responsibly.
He should stop pledging “transparency” and start practicing transparency.
He should stop disclosing when forced and start disclosing voluntarily.
He should beg employee and former employees to come forward and work with law enforcement if they have any knowledge of these crimes.
He should use every resource at his disposal (church bulletins, diocesan newspaper and website, church pulpits) to beg survivors to contact the police.
He should punish anyone who enabled or shielded a predator, anyone who failed to call the police when they suspected misdeeds including Bishop Imesch who was allowed to quietly retire.
He should do everything in his power to put these dangerous men into independently run treatment centers.
(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)
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.