For immediate release Friday, November 8, 2013
Statement by Barbara Dorris, Outreach Director, 314-862-7688 SNAPdorris@gmail.com
An Alexandria predator priest has been ordered to live a "life of prayer and penance."
Shame on Alexandria Bishop Ronald P. Herzog for issuing perhaps the most vague and unhelpful notice about a child molesting cleric we have seen in years.
Bishop Herzog refuses to tell parents, parishioners or the public what crimes Fr. Lyons committed against how many kids during what years at what locations. Worse, Herzog refuses to say where Fr. Lyons is now. And worst yet, Herzog makes no appeal to victims, witnesses, and whistleblowers to call police and prosecutors so that Fr. Lyons might be charged, convicted and kept away from kids.
This notice is yet another effort by Catholic officials to do the absolute bare minimum about clergy sex crimes and cover ups.
“A life of prayer and penance” is a silly claim. Time and time again church officials try to imply that this is some sort of penalty. What it means, in reality, is that the priest gets all the benefits – financial and otherwise – of being a priest but doesn’t have to go to work. That of course just frees up more of his time to groom kids, intimidate victims threaten witnesses, discredit whistleblowers, destroy evidence and fabricate alibis.
This predator priest belongs in jail. If he can’t be prosecuted, Herzog need to aggressively seek out others with knowledge of or suspicions about Fr. Lyons crimes. Herzog needs to post appeals in every parish bulletin and on every church website in his diocese. And he should personally visit every place Fr. Lyons worked, begging victims, witnesses and whistleblowers to call secular officials, not church officials.
And if Fr. Lyons still cannot be prosecuted, Herzog should be put in a remote, secure, independently run treatment center where he will be kept away from kids and will get intensive therapy.