LA- Lake Charles predator priest put/kept on the job
For immediate release: Tuesday, September 09, 2014
A Louisiana newspaper has disclosed that a Lafayette predator priest was quietly sent to work in the Lake Charles diocese and still lives there now. Because Catholic officials hid the abuse report for more than 40 years, we strongly suspect that the priest is living or working among unsuspecting neighbors or colleagues. So for the protection of kids and the healing of victims, we urgently call on Lake Charles Bishop Glen Provost to:
–warn his flock about the priest (through news conferences, news releases, on church websites, etc.),
–aggressively seek out anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered the cleric's crimes and
–disclose whether there are or have been other pedophile priests who molested elsewhere and were secretly transferred to his diocese.
From January 1986 until October 1987, Lake Charles diocese officials quietly let Fr. Valerie Pullman come to work in their jurisdiction, even though he had been accused in 1972 and sued for molesting a child, the Lafayette Advocate reported on Sunday.
The revelation comes from long-secret Catholic church records that were unsealed in litigation and sought first by Minnesota Public Radio (for a profile of a former Louisiana bishop).
As best we can tell, Fr. Pullman has never been publicly exposed as a child molester until now.
Perhaps dozens of Lake Charles and Lafayette Catholic officials, including Lake Charles Bishop Provost, have had years to tell parishioners, police, prosecutors and the public about Fr. Pullman. We see no evidence that any of them ever did. That's stunningly callous and reckless.
Bishop Provost, like his colleagues, has repeatedly promised to be “open” about clergy sex cases. He has broken this promise. Shame on him. And shame on every Catholic official – in Lake Charles and Lafayette – who knew about and stayed silent – for decades – about the dangerous, secret transfer of Fr. Pullman.
Pullman, now 74, lives in Jennings, which is also in the Lake Charles diocese.
According to The Advocate, “Pullman was a young priest in the diocese in 1972, when he is accused of assaulting a young altar boy. Exactly how old the boy was when the abuse began is unclear, although the lawsuit claimed it lasted until the victim was 15 or 16, even occurring at out-of-state religious conferences that Pullman and the boy attended.”
The victim’s attorney was Anthony Fontana of Abbeville (337.898.8332).
In July 2008, according to court documents, that lawsuit was settled.
We desperately hope Fr. Pullman has not molested more kids in Lake Charles. But dozens of Catholic officials have made it easy for him to do so.
We hope that every single person who saw, suspected, or suffered crimes or misdeeds in Baton Rouge – by Fr. Pullman or other clerics – will call police, get help, expose wrongdoers, protect kids and star healing.
(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.
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.