Letter to New Jersey Parishes
To the Staff at Oratory Preparatory School in Summit NJ,
To the Staff at St. Cecilia’s parish in Englewood NJ,
Newly released church records show that a credibly accused child molesting cleric, Fr. Joseph B. DiPeri, worked at your school/parish. He also worked in Jersey City, Newark, and Garfield (all in the Newark archdiocese.) He may well have also been assigned to or done substitute work in other parishes or Catholic institutions.
We in SNAP suspect you and/or your staff has known these facts – and maybe more facts - for years. If so, shame on you for your years of reckless, self-serving silence.
Regardless, we believe that you and your staff now have a duty to aggressively reach out to
--others who may have suffered DiPeri’s crimes, and
--others who may have seen or suspected or concealed DiPeri’s crimes.
New Jersey men or women may have been sexually assaulted by him. If so, those victims may still be suffering in shame, silence and self-blame. They need – and deserve – to know that they are not alone, the abuse was not their fault, and that recovery is possible. Your outreach may help achieve this.
DiPeri is deceased. He cannot be prosecuted. But other current or former church employees who may have ignored or hidden their crimes might also be prosecuted, thus deterring such irresponsible, illegal and hurtful actions in the future.
So for these reasons, and others, we implore you to act.
Each of you has resources. You control or have access to parish bulletins, church websites, school newsletters, diocesan newspapers and pulpit announcements. It would be easy and inexpensive for each of you to do aggressive outreach to find – and help - other victims of the clerics (and potentially help police and prosecutors build criminal cases against anyone who may have hidden DiPeri’s crimes).
Here’s more about Fr. DiPeri:
A Los Angeles newspaper last week reported that “the last known information indicates (DiPeri) was in a retirement home for priests in New Jersey.” He worked “at churches in Jersey City, Newark and Garfield and was a teacher at Oratory Preparatory School in Summit and a principal at St. Cecilia’s School in Englewood,” according to the Star Ledger (which disclosed DiPeri’s presence in New Jersey just last week).
DiPeri belonged to a religious order called the Marianists. (He died in 2007.)
We hope you will take your responsibilities as leaders, pastors and shepherds seriously. We hope you will take action soon to help heal the wounded (by seeking out those who may have suffered DiPeri’s crimes) and help protect the vulnerable (by seeking out those who may have seen or suspected or concealed DiPeri’s crimes).
We look forward to hearing from you
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.
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.