LA--Victims blast bishop over predator priest
For immediate release: Friday, Feb. 12, 2016
Shame on Alexandria’s bishop for urging victims of a predator priest to call him instead of calling police. Child sex abuse is a crime. It should be reported to the independent, unbiased professionals in law enforcement, not to the biased, self-serving Catholic officials who, even now, work to keep a tight lid on clergy sex scandals.
Bishop Ronald Herzog knows this. Still, he insists – as Catholic officials have done for decades – on trying to handle this horror internally. Again, he should be ashamed of himself.
or the safety of kids, Herzog should put Fr. Antonio Jorge Velez in a remote, secure, independent treatment center.
He should use church bulletins, parish websites and pulpit announcements to aggressively seek out other victims, witnesses and whistleblowers. If Fr. Velez molested in Maryland, he very likely molested in Louisiana. Herzog has a moral and civic duty to try to find this out and prod people with information to call secular authorities.
No matter what the church hierarchy does or doesn’t do, every Louisiana Catholic church member and employee should beat the bushes, spread the word and ask their loved ones if they saw, suspected or suffered crimes by Fr. Velez or cover ups by his clerical colleagues. Anyone with information or suspicions about Fr. Velez should find the courage to call law enforcement, expose all wrongdoers, protect the vulnerable and start healing.
Fr. Velez has been suspended and “prohibited from living within the diocese” because of child sex abuse reports stemming from his time in Baltimore.
We hope anyone who has seen, suspected or suffered Fr. Velez’ crimes, or cover ups by his church colleagues or supervisors, will call police, expose wrongdoers, protect kids and start healing.
SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has 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)
Diocese of Alexandria priest dismissed after misconduct allegations
by Melissa Gregory, firstname.lastname@example.org, (318) 792-1807 2:29 p.m. CST February 11, 2016
A priest who worked in the LaSalle and Grant parishes area has been dismissed after being accused of sexual misconduct with a girl in the Baltimore area, according to a release.
A release from the Diocese of Alexandria on Thursday states that the Rev. Antonio Jorge Velez, a member of the Tertiary Capuchins, has been dismissed and prohibited from living within the diocese. The action was taken by the Most Rev. Ronald P. Herzog, bishop of Alexandria.
Herzog made the decision . . .
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.