KY--Victims worried about new Lexington bishop
For immediate release: Thursday, March 12
We’re worried about Lexington’s new bishop and how he’ll deal with clergy sex abuse cases.
In a 2008 interview, Rev. John Stowe made three troubling comments about the church’s on-going clergy sex abuse and cover up crisis
First, Stowe said that in the past, it was a practice to move offending priests to some other parish after some kind of counseling or treatment. But that no longer happens.
Second, "We know much more now than we did in the 1960s," he said. His implication is that a lack of knowledge by the church hierarchy was a major reason why 6,300 US priests have sexually assaulted at least 100,000 children. That’s a deceitful claim.
Bishops are smart, well-educated men with many resources and smart consultants. They knew – and know – exactly what they’re doing when they quietly pay off victims and move predator priests. It was – and is - a lack of decency and courage that causes this crisis, not a lack of information.
For ages, bishops have known that child sex abuse is illegal and hurtful. Yet time and time again, they put their reputations, careers and comfort ahead of kids’ safety, and refuse to call police the minute child sex crimes are known or suspected. And sadly, this is still happening in the church today.
Third, he acknowledged that there were abusive priests in the past. Again, we stress that in a rigid, ancient, secretive, all-male monarchy, centuries of recklessness and callousness with clergy sex crimes and cover ups can’t be radically reversed in a few short years. So there still ARE abusive priests and bishops are STILL hiding them, moving them, and minimizing and concealing their crimes. To pretend otherwise is disingenuous.
Stowe has spent time in the Toledo diocese (31 publicly accused predator priests) and the El Paso diocese (14 publicly accused predator priests). He knows the first steps he should take in Lexington. He should:
1) Post predator priests’ names on his diocesan website, for the safety of kids and the healing of victims, and
2) Clearly and repeatedly beg victims, witnesses and whistleblowers to call police and seek therapy.
We hope he has the courage to take these simple steps toward prevention and recovery. We are not optimistic.
(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)