August 29, 2013
Dear Bishop Murry:
We are writing about three credibly accused child molesting clerics.
We want you to disclose their whereabouts, to reach out to their victims, to warn citizens and Catholic parishioners about them and reveal to citizens and Catholics in your own diocese the identity of the other credibly accused child molesting clerics.
In 2002, US Catholic bishops adopted a supposedly binding national child sex abuse charter mandating “openness and transparency” in child sex abuse cases. SNAP, however, believes that you as the Youngstown Bishop are violating that policy in two recent cases by your “on-going secrecy.”
1) You disclosed yesterday that a teacher and deacon no longer works for the diocese “in any capacity” but refused to say why. We suspect it is because that teacher/cleric faces child sex abuse allegations. In fact, we disclosed yesterday that the group has heard from one local man, Jerry Arnal, that he has been molested as a child by a Youngstown Catholic teacher/cleric. Months ago, we also received an anonymous letter that said the teacher/cleric was ousted recently from his post at Cardinal Mooney High School.
For the sake of public safety, and to honor your pledges of “openness”, we want you to tell parents, parishioners and the public the name of the teacher/deacon, when and why the he was removed, whether he will ever return to work as a teacher or cleric again, and disclose the man’s whereabouts now.
2) We want you to reveal the whereabouts of Fr. John F. Warner, who resigned as pastor of Saints Philip and James Parish in Canal Fulton in 2011 after an allegation was made that he abused a child years ago at St. Edward’s parish in Youngstown. (Your own church panel found the allegation credible.)
In 2011, Fr. Warner was sent to a treatment center. But as best we can tell, you have refused to disclose where Fr. Warner is now. We hope he’s still at a facility getting therapy and being kept away from kids (and not quietly living among unsuspecting families without any real supervision or restrictions).
3) If you insist on keeping your own flock “in the dark” about known and suspected abusers, we urge you to at least notify Catholics and citizens in Maryland and Michigan that Fr. John Hammer, an admitted molester, worked and lived in those states. We urge you to buy ads in secular and church newspapers in those states, to reach out to anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered Fr. Hammer’s crimes there, so that he might be prosecuted and so that they might get help.
If you can’t bring yourself to be as “open” as you have promised to be in Youngstown, perhaps you will take at least this small step forward in those two states, so that those hurt by Fr. Hammer might know that they are not alone.
We look forward to hearing from you.
Judy Jones of St. Louis, SNAP Midwest Associate Director, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 974 5003, SNAPjudy@gmail.com )
David Clohessy of St. Louis, SNAP Director, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, SNAPclohessy@aol.com )