Shame on Joliet’s Catholic bishop for letting a suspended predator priest live and work freely among unsuspecting families in Kentucky.
Today’s Chicago Tribune, using church records disclosed thanks to civil child sex abuse lawsuits, reports on the awful situation of Fr. Carroll Howlin in Kentucky. In theory, Catholic officials have ordered Fr. Howlin to stay away from kids. In reality, they’re doing nothing to make sure this happens. And he has clearly molested in both the Chicago area and in Kentucky.
Bishop Conlon is basically – and callously - washing his hands of a dangerous man and pretending to be powerless to stop a predator.
Bishop Conlon should order Fr. Howlin to get into a sex offender facility. He should go to every parish where Fr. Howlin worked, begging victims to come forward. He should give every shred of paper he has about Fr. Howlin to law enforcement, in Illinois and Kentucky.
Instead, he claims he can do nothing to better safeguard kids from a priest who’s been deemed too dangerous to put in an Illinois parish.
This kind of irresponsible, bare minimimum behavaior by bishops is the norm, not the exception. The vast majority of bisohps, when forced, will temporarily suspend a credibly accused cleric from his current parish. But it usually ends there. Only a tiny handful of bishops insist that these predators be put in remote, independent, secure treatment centers where they’ll have no acess to kids and will get professional therapy.
We hope every single person – in both states – who has seen, suspected or suffered Fr. Howlin’s crimes will come forward, get help, expose wrongdoing, protect kids and start healing.