SNAP wants Cardinal to suspend priest
Instead, he’s being asked to “step aside”
Group: He should be put in treatment center
Last week, a serial predator’s time in Chicago was disclosed
He molested in Minnesota; has never been “outed” in Chicago
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and supporters will
--criticize Chicago Catholic officials for letting a credibly accused predator priest resign,
--urge them to suspend him instead and put him in a treatment center away from kids,
--disclose that another priest, who abused at least three kids in Minnesota, also worked in Chicago, &
--urge anyone who was hurt by either cleric to call police, not church officials.
TODAY, Monday, Dec. 9 at 2:30 p.m.
Outside the sidewalk outside of the Archdiocese of Chicago headquarters, 835 N. Rush Street (corner of East Chestnut) in Chicago
Two-five members and supporters of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, (SNAPnetwork.org) the nation's largest support network for men and women abused in religious and institutional settings
Yesterday, Fr. Michael W. O’Connell stepped aside from his post at St. Alphonsus Catholic parish (1429 W. Wellington Ave.) in Lakeview. He should have been suspended, SNAP says.
Fr. O’Connell was accused of molesting a boy when he worked at Our Lady of the Woods Parish in Orland Park (1997-2012).
Despite promises to be “open” in clergy sex cases, Cardinal Francis George is not disclosing where Fr. O’Connell is now. SNAP believes he should be put in a remote, secure, independent treatment center so that kids will be safe. The group also says that, according to church policy, Fr. O’Connell should be suspended, not allowed to “voluntarily” step aside (which SNAP says minimizes his alleged crimes and enables more parishioners to assume he’s innocent).
Fr. O’Connell has worked in Lakeview since July 1, 2012. Previously he was assigned to St. Michael Parish in Orland Park and the Church of St. Mary the Lake in Lake Forest.
SNAP is also worried about victims of Fr. Ronan C. Liles (a.k.a. Charles R. or Charles B. Liles) who was publicly accused of child sex crimes last week in Minneapolis. Catholic officials there disclosed for the first time that Fr. Liles had also worked in Chicago in 1978.
In 1997, Liles was accused in a lawsuit of sexually abusing of two brothers at a Boy Scout camp when they were 11 and 12 years old (from 1969 to 1975). That case was dismissed due to the statute of limitations but church officials settled with another victim of Fr. Liles for $450,000 in 2006. Often, Fr. Liles abused kids with one of his colleagues, Brother Edmund Frost.
SNAP says that Fr. Liles is one of dozens of religious order clerics who worked and sometimes molested in Chicago but whose crimes and years spent here are being kept hidden by archdiocesan officials. (Roughly 1/3 of US priests belong to such orders, including Jesuits, Marianists, and Franciscans.)
Fr. Liles, now deceased, was ordained in 1969 and belonged to a Catholic religious order called the Dominicans.