Victims focus on 3 predator priests
Two are new, “outed” for 1st time this week
Neither has attracted public attention in Chicago
One eventually went to India, the other to Las Vegas
The 3rd is the most prolific abuser: at least 35 victims
He worked mostly in African American neighborhoods
As church-goers enter mass, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will hand out fliers highlighting three predator priests whose records were released this week.
Two of them were "outed" for the first time on Tuesday. The third is perhaps Chicago's most prolific predator priest (with at least 35 victims).
The leaflets urge Chicago Catholics to
--help them track down where other suspected or defrocked pedophile priests are living or working now, so their unsuspecting neighbors might be warned that dangerous men are nearby,
--ask their loved ones if any of them were hurt by child molesting clerics, and
--insist that archdiocesan officials punish the “enablers” - the church staffers who ignored or hid evidence or warnings of clergy sex crimes, especially those clerics whose names appear in the soon-to-be-released records.
Sunday, Jan. 26 at 11:45 a.m.
On the sidewalk outside Holy Name Cathedral, North State St at Superior St, Chicago
Four-five adults who belong to a self-help group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org). Some were molested as kids; others are concerned Catholics.
For weeks, Chicago Catholic officials (including a church attorney) suggested that there would be no new names of predator priests disclosed when 6,000 pages of long-secret archdiocesan clergy sex abuse and cover up files were made public. They were deceptive.
The documents released on Tuesday included records on two now-deceased pedophile priests who had never before been public accused: Fr. Kenneth Brigham and Fr. Emmanuel A. Pallikunnen.
The records also show that Fr. Victor Stewart is perhaps the most prolific Chicago predator priest, having at least 35 victims (nine of whom say another priest (whose name is redacted in the church files) observed, witnessed or knew about Stewart's crimes. One victim reported to another priest about his abuse by Stewart and that priest told the victim "he would pray about it" but did not report it to police. In 2005, several victims filed a complaint accusing Chicago police of complicity in Stewart's abuse by silencing some victims when they tried to tell in the 1990s.
Stewart was ordained in 1978 and worked until 1991 at several parishes including St. Catherine of Genoa in Chicago (1978-83) and at the now-closed St. Charles Lwanga in Chicago (1983-1991) and as chaplain at Mercy Health Care & Rehabilitation Center in Homewood.
SNAP fears that many who were abused by Stewart are still suffering in silence, shame and self-blame, in part because of the severity of his crimes. Stewart also worked primarily in African-American communities where, more families tend to struggle with economic need and tend to distrust authorities, especially law enforcement.
Similarly, SNAP fears that since there's been no attention paid to Fr. Brigham or Fr. Pallikunen, others who were hurt by them have yet to come forward and get help.
As recently as 2007, archdiocesan officials claimed that child sex abuse allegations against Fr. Brigham could not be “substantiated.” Yet they settled with at least one of his victims.
Fr. Brigham was ordained in 1961 and worked in the archdiocese until 1995 at these parishes: Holy Name, St. Clotilde, St. Columbanus, St. Helena of the Cross, Our Lady Help of Christians, Our Lady of Solace, Our Lady of Perpetual Help, and later moved/was sent to Las Vegas.
Fr. Pallikunnen is from India. He spent 11 years in Chicago “living with host families” and working and/or living at “seven parishes” (including St. James in Arlington Heights, St. Luke's in River Forest, Immaculate Conception in Highland Park, and St. Anastasia in Waukegan). He studied at DePaul, Barat College in Lake Forest and at a church center in River Forest.
In 2006, a woman reported to archdiocesan staff that she was molested by him at St. Mary's parish in Buffalo Grove when she was nine years old.
In 1966, then-Cardinal John Cody mysteriously wrote to Fr. Pallikunnen's supervisor in India saying that the priest's “[prolonged tenure” in Chicago “has gradually lost sufficient foundation,” and as a result, “I have had to advise him to leave this jurisdiction by June 15, 1966.”
Stewart died in 1994, Brigham died in 2006 and Pallikunnen died in 1978. A photo of Stewart is available at BishopAccountability.org
A colleague and I just received word from a canon law team to send the evidence against Cardinal Donald Wuerl directly to the Office of the Papacy. If you or someone you know has a complaint against Donald Wuerl bring it to my attention and we will enclose your notarized story in the package to the Vatican.
I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-233-5491.