Fr. Manuel LaRosa-Lopez Heads to Court and SNAP asks Cardinal DiNardo to be Considerate of Victims
On Tuesday, an accused predator priest will be in court again, facing charges that he abused at least two children while serving in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston (with another survivor having recently come forward, but not yet filed charges). But before Fr. Manuel LaRosa-Lopez returns to court, we call on Houston’s top Catholic official to take steps to avoid potentially intimidating or hurting more victims.
We know from years of personal experience that it can intimidate and hurt victims when alleged child molesting clerics wear their Roman collar in court. So Cardinal Daniel DiNardo should forbid Fr. LaRosa-Lopez from doing so.
We also know that it intimidates and hurts victims when well-meaning but misguided parishioners rally in public around accused abusers. So DiNardo should instruct his flock to stay home, remain open-minded and avoid making public statements that might scare or depress victims, witnesses and whistleblowers into staying silent.
When alleged pedophile priests are being prosecuted or sued, bishops often pretend to be powerless. But someone as powerful as Cardinal DiNardo could and should take these two simple but important steps immediately to prevent more pain and to help law enforcement officials do their job without interference.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. 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.