For immediate release: Monday, Sept. 23, 2013
Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 862 7688 home, 314 503 0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)
Bishop Shelton Fabre, an auxiliary bishop of New Orleans since 2006, has been promoted to head the Houma-Thibodaux diocese, succeeding retiring Bishop Sam Jacobs. We are disappointed with this move.
Earlier this year, we urged Bishop Fabre and his colleagues to aggressively seek out others who may have been hurt by Fr. Mark A. Broussard, who had just been sued for child sexual abuse. As best we can tell, neither Bishop Fabre nor any of his peers took any helpful action.
In 2009, Bishop Fabre met with a group of clergy sex abuse victims in New Orleans. “We're not impressed with him," attorney Roger Stetter said. "I know many of clients were deeply offended by Bishop Fabre."
Bishop Fabre worked under Archbishop Albert Hughes, who was part of a long line of church staffers in Boston who ignored, concealed and enabled heinous child sex crimes for decades.
There are 33 publicly accused New Orleans predator priests (according to BishopAccountability.org). We see no evidence that Bishop Fabre has done anything to help protect the vulnerable, heal the wounded or expose the truth in his long clerical career. He’s obviously had ample opportunity to do so.
Often, Catholics give a new bishop ever benefit of the doubt. We hope that Houma Catholics don’t do this with Bishop Fabre. Until he proves - by actions, not words – that he’s different from the vast majority of his complicit colleagues, Catholics should report known and suspected child sex crimes to secular officials, not church officials.