December 18, 2004
Dear Bishop Blaire:
We, the members of SNAP, (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) are very troubled that the names of two more alleged abusive priests who worked in your diocese have only recently been publicly disclosed. We urge you to reach out to anyone who may have been abused by these men to come forward and get help.
As you are likely aware, during a recent sworn deposition involving other cases of abuse in your diocese, Cardinal Roger Mahony claims to have forgotten about these men while he was Bishop of Stockton. The two priests, Fr. Antonio Munoz and Fr. Antonio Camacho, have since left the country.
Previously, Mahony swore under oath in 1998 that he supervised only one pedophile priest, Fr. Oliver O’Grady, while serving as Stockton's bishop from 1980 to 1985.
Regardless of Mahony’s memory problems or management failures in Stockton, as Stockton's current bishop, you now have an obligation to reach out to others who may have been hurt by these men.
Because of Mahony's inaction and secrecy regarding these potentially dangerous men, apparently no one has filed criminal or civil charges against them. They have not, until last week, ever been publicly exposed as possible child molesters. Therefore, they walk free today, while anyone they've hurt are likely still trapped in silence, shame and self-blame.
In light of this, we respectfully ask that you:
- put notices in all your church bulletins, your diocesan newspaper, and on your diocesan web sites encouraging victims to contact law enforcement and to seek therapy.
- prod your colleague in Los Angeles to do likewise.
- personally visit each parish where the alleged abusers worked, and make strong personal appeals to witnesses and victims to come forward.
The goal is simple: to help ensure that those already wounded can heal and that those still at risk can be protected.
The fact that these potentially dangerous men are now presumably around even more vulnerable children should weigh heavily on your conscience. Had your predecessor done the right thing years ago, kids might be safer today, these two priests might be behind bars, and their victims might be far down the road to recovery. You must take courageous, prompt steps now to try and undo some of the pain Mahony's secrecy and inaction has no doubt caused and the risk his secrecy and inaction still causes.
We look forward to hearing from you. As the New Year approaches, we hope you will break from the failed policies of the past and walk a new path toward genuinely healing current wounds and effectively preventing future wounds by abusive clergy.
David Clohessy of St. Louis, SNAP National Director (314) 566 9790
Mary Grant of Long Beach, SNAP Southwest Regional Director (626) 419-2930 cell
Steven Sanchez of Glendale, SNAP Los Angeles Director (818) 262-6540 cell
Lee Bashforth, SNAP Leader (949) 735-8347 cell