Victims want law enforcement to “step up”
Group urges more action by police & prosecutors
"Use bully pulpit to beg others to come forward," SNAP says
And victims want a bishop ousted from board of a boys' home
“Others who concealed abuse must be disciplined too,” they say
That's never happens & that's why cover ups continue, SNAP contends
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will urge Chicago law enforcement officials to
--aggressively and publicly beg those with knowledge or suspicions of clergy sex crimes to step forward,
–launch grand jury investigations into the ongoing church abuse & cover up scandal, and
--be more resourceful about bringing ANY kind of charge against complicit officials.
The group will also urge the Chicago Catholic hierarchy to
--remove a “complicit” bishop from the board of a local boys home, and
--prevent future cover ups by punishing other “enablers” - the church staffers who ignored or hid evidence or warnings of clergy sex crimes, especially those clerics whose names appear in the just-released, long-secret church abuse records.
TODAY, Wednesday, Jan. 22 at 1:45 p.m.
On the sidewalk outside the Holy Name Cathedral, North State Street at Superior Street, Chicago IL
Five-six 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.
Yesterday, long-secret Chicago archdiocesan records about clerics who committed and concealed child sex crimes were disclosed, Now, using that information, SNAP is urging local law enforcement officials to redouble their efforts to vpursue the wrongdoers. Specifically, the group wants secular authorities to launch formal investigations and use their “bully pulpits” to “aggressively beg victims, witnesses, and whistleblowers to come forward, especially current and former Catholic employees.”
According to BishopAccountability.org, there are 121 publicly accused Chicago archdiocesan predator priests. Six thousand pages have just been released about 30 of them. Of those 30, 14 are still alive. And only a handful of Chicago child molesting clerics have been criminally prosecuted, while no one who “ignored or hid” their crimes ever have.
SNAP believes that can, and should, change.
“Archaic laws are don't help, but we suspect the real reason is a lack of political will by prosecutors,” said SNAP's David Clohessy. “Often, 'where there's a will, there's a way.'”
The group wants local prosecutors – in every jurisdiction covered by the archdiocese – to make strong public pleas for victims and witnesses to come forward and to start grand jury investigations into the scandal.
At least 12 such grand juries have been convened across the US in the last decade. Several ended up with no formal charges being filed but issuing lengthy reports applauded by victims and advocates.
In recent years, some police and prosecutors across the country have become much more aggressive and creative about pursuing even older child sex crimes and cover ups, SNAP says.
The group is also calling on Cardinal Francis George to discipline Bishop George Rassas for his role in the crisis. Specifically, they want Rassas dumped from the board of the Maryville Academy for Boys.
According to the Sun Times, “When McCormack was first arrested in 2005, Rassas was the archdiocese's vicar general. Despite the arrest, he allowed McCormack to receive a priestly promotion. The priest was kept in the West Side parish he served and went on to abuse more children.”
George himself criticized Rassas in that case. According to the Tribune, “In the deposition, George disclosed that the vicar for priests, Rev. Edward D. Grace, and Auxiliary Bishop George J. Rassas withheld information about abuse allegations.”
In 2010, a Berwyn priest, Fr. Thomas McQuaid, wrote a scathing column in which he said “important matters which remain unaddressed like the failure of the Cardinal, [Auxiliary] Bishop [George] Rassas and (others) to have protected children from the abuse of Fr. Dan [McCormack] and the inestimable damage done to these young people and their families and the millions of dollars paid by the Archdiocese in settlements."
“George now claims he realizes he was wrong to lobby for Fr. Norbert Maday's early release from prison, ignore his abuse panel's plea to suspend Fr. Joseph Bennett, and keep Fr. Daniel McCormack on the job after he was arrested on suspicisions of child sex crimes,” said Clohessy. “So we hope George will admit he was wrong to promote Rassas to bishop after the McCormack scandal and discipline or demote him now.”
One bishop disciplining another is not unprecedented. Last year in LA, a similar cache of records released because of victims' lawsuits in Los Angeles), showed that now-retied Cardinal Roger Mahony had acted irresponsibly in numerous clergy sex abuse cases. In response, Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez banned Mahony from public ministry in the archdiocese.
Half of the 30 pedophile priests whose records were publicly released are still alive and none of them are behind bars. Some of them, SNAP believes, now quietly live among unsuspecting neighbors. Chicago Catholic officials basically refuse to alert the public about the whereabouts and work histories of these potentially dangerous men.
So SNAP is publicly begging current and former Chicago church staff and members to help them, for the safety of kids, to track down these child molesting clerics. SNAP is also urging people to call police if they know or suspect where any of these priests is now.
Some of these clerics would be behind bars, SNAP said, if not for three factors. First, in most cases, Catholic officials shielded them from law enforcement for years. Second, church officials have long lobbied against reforming archaic and predator-friendly secular child safety laws. And third, when credible abuse allegations surface, church officials refuse to do any effective outreach to find other victims, witnesses and whistleblowers or to urge them to contact secular authorities, instead of church staffers.
Those clerics too dangerous to be assigned to a parish, SNAP says, should be housed in remote, secure, independent treatment centers, not allowed to live wherever they like with little or no supervisions among unsuspecting neighbors.
Here is George’s list of roughly 65 predator priests:
However, a list of 121 Chicago predator priests – compiled through public records by an independent organization - is available at BishopAccountability.org
The attorneys who released the records are Marc Pearlman 312 261 4550 and Jeff Anderson 651 227 9990.