LA- Bishops won’t publish predator priest names, SNAP responds
For immediate release: Monday, September 08, 2014
Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Several Louisiana Catholic bishops say they will not release the names of predator priests, despite pledges to be “open and transparent.”
There are four reasons why bishops should disclose the names of proven, admitted and credibly accused child molesting clerics.
First, doing so enables parents, parishioners and the pubic to protect their children.
Second, doing so might enable police and prosecutors to charge, convict and jail dangerous molesters.
Third, doing so enables many victims to feel relieved and comforted.
And fourth, this is what bishops have repeatedly promised to do - to be "open and transparent" about clergy sexual abuse.
The reasons Catholic officials in the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux, the Archdiocese of New Orleans, and the Diocese of Lafayette give for their reckless and callous secrecy are self-serving.
One church official, Dr Maureen Brennan, says disclosing predators' names may "re-open old wounds" for victims. That's baloney. In our 25 years, we've virtually never heard a victim say "I wish my bishop had kept the name of my assailant hidden." And even if one adult survivor might feel that way, simple common sense should tell bishops that most do not.
Another church official Louis Aguirre, spokesman for the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux, said victims of clergy abuse often request secrecy.
But there's obviously a huge difference between protecting the privacy of a crime victim and a criminal. For the sake of public safety, Catholic officials can and should disclose the identity of child molesters and safeguard the confidentiality of child molestation victims.
We hope these selfish Catholic bishops reconsider their callous and reckless decision. We hope they'll join 30 of their brother bishops in the US who have sided with vulnerable kids and wounded adults by disclosing and posting the names of proven, admitted and credibly accused child molesting clerics.
And we hope that Louisiana parishioners, police, parents and prosecutors tell officials - both secular and religious, for the safety of innocent kids and the healing of suffering victims - that these names should be made public.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 25 years 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.