KY--New Lexington bishop may be named tomorrow
For immediate release: Wednesday, March 11
Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314-503-0003, bdorris@SNAPnetwork.org)
A noted Vatican observer and blogger, Rocco Palmo, says that tomorrow the Vatican will name a new Catholic bishop for the Lexington Diocese.
We call on him to immediately take practical steps to protect the vulnerable, heal the wounded and expose and punish those who commit and conceal clergy sex crimes and misdeeds. Specifically, we hope he will permanently and prominently post, on diocesan and parish websites, the names, photos, whereabouts and work histories of every proven, admitted and credibly accused child molesting cleric who lives or works (or has lived or worked) in the diocese in any capacity.
Roughly 30 US bishops have done this. It’s a bare minimum public safety step. It should have happened long ago in Lexington. We hope it will happen soon.
Bishop Ronald Gainer, Lexington’s last prelate, has a dismal record on children’s safety.
But Lexington citizens and Catholics should not assume the new bishop will be better. Complacency protects no one. Only vigilance protects kids.
No matter who fills this slot, we urge anyone who sees, suspects or suffers clergy sex crimes or cover ups in eastern Kentucky to call the independent, experienced professionals sin law enforcement, not the self-serving amateurs in church offices.
According to BishopAccountability.org, an independent, Boston-based archive group, there are seven publicly accused Lexington diocese predator priests: Fr. William J. Fedders, Fr. Stephen Gallenstein, Fr. John B. Modica, Edward Francis Murray, Fr. Leonard B. Nienaber, Fr. William G. Poole, and Fr. Carl C. Schaffer. We suspect there are at least a dozen more whose crimes remain hidden.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We were founded in 1988 and have more than 20,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
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.
The Attorneys General of forty states have inquired about the grand jury process in Pennsylvania. Let's get statewide investigations going in fifty states.
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.