IL--Victims to leaflet archbishop's mass
Victims to leaflet archbishop’s mass
They want “prevention, not symbolism”
“Disclose records on notorious predator,” they urge
SNAP: “Catholic officials are still hiding important documents”
Cupich should also apologize to fired whistleblower, victims say
And they urge him to go next to a parish where an accused cleric still works
As Chicago’s new archbishop says mass at a notorious pedophile priest’s former parish, concerned Catholics and clergy sex abuse victims will hand fliers to church-goers urging them to
--push Archbishop Blasé Cupich to disclose records about the predator, and
--aggressively seek out others who saw, suspected or suffered his crimes.
The victims will also prod Cupich to
--apologize to a female school principal and whistleblower who was fired, and
--go next weekend to a parish where a twice–accused priest is still on the job.
Sunday, Nov. 23rd, 10:15 a.m.
Outside St. Agatha’s Catholic Church, 3151 W. Douglas Blvd., Chicago 60623 (the corner of W. Douglas Blvd & S. Kedzie Ave., 773-522-3050)
Four to five people who are members of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
A former priest at St. Agatha’s - Fr. Daniel McCormack - pleaded guilty to five counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse and was sentenced in 2007 to five years in prison. Virtually every high ranking archdiocesan staffer who ignored or concealed suspicions or knowledge of McCormack's crimes has since been promoted.
The exception is the lone woman, Barbara Westrick, the former principal. She called police about allegations against McCormack. As a result, she says, she was fired.
SNAP wants Cupich to publicly apologize to Westrick.
The organization also wants him to personally visit St. Alphonsus parish next weekend (1429 W. Wellington Ave., Chicago 60657; 773-525-0709). That’s where Fr. Michael W. O’Connell remains on the job despite reports from two men that he molested them as boys.
Fr. O’Connell was temporarily removed from St. Alphonsus in December 2013 after the archdiocese received an allegation of sexual misconduct involving a boy at Our Lady of the Woods in Orland Park years earlier. In April of this year, then-Cardinal Francis George reinstated O’Connell even though the Cook County Sheriff’s Department never closed the criminal case.
Shortly thereafter, new allegations surfaced involving abuse of different boy in the 1990s and police continue to investigate. O'Connell, however, remains on the job. Catholic officials claim he will avoid the parish school and will not be alone with a child, a contention that SNAP calls “ludicrous and dangerous.”
The group wants Cupich to go to St. Alphonsus and beg anyone who may have information or suspicions about crimes or misdeeds by O’Connell to call police.
Finally, SNAP is also asking parishioners at McCormack’s former parishes to join them in aggressively seeking out others who saw, suspected or suffered the cleric's crimes. And the group wants Cupich to disclose records about McCormack that archdiocesan staff are still keeping hidden.
George and other Catholic officials repeatedly disregarded warning signs about McCormack and even promoted him after McCormack had been questioned by police about abuse accusations.
McCormack's crimes happened between 2001 and 2006 at St. Agatha Catholic Church and at Our Lady of the Westside Presentation School. The victims were between 8 and 12 years old. Assistant state's attorneys Shauna Boliker and Kathleen Muldoon helped prosecute McCormack. Several of the boys have filed and settled civil lawsuits against the archdiocese and McCormack. Most were represented by Chicago attorney Marc Pearlman (312-261-4554) and Minnesota attorney Jeff Anderson (612-817-8665 cell, 651-227-9990 office).
Between his arrest and conviction, SNAP and others begged Cardinal Francis George to put McCormack in a secure treatment center. George ignored their request.
Photos of both McCormack and O’Connell are at BishopAccountability.org
Barbara Blaine 312-399-4747 cell (SNAPblaine@gmail.com), Barbara Dorris 314-503-0003, Kate Bochte 630-768-1860
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.
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.