MA - Accused cleric still on the job
He allegedly molested in California
Now, he's working as a mall chaplain
For immediate release: Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014
A Catholic cleric who was accused of abusing a child in California now works as a chaplain at a Massachusetts mall.
He is Br. Damien Chong, who belongs to a religious order known as the Carmelites.
“We want to warn the public about this potentially dangerous cleric," said David Clohessy of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. "We believe Boston Archbishop Sean O’Malley and Chong’s direct supervisors should suspend him and aggressively seek out others he may have hurt."
“We don’t know a great deal about the allegations against Br. Chong,” Clohessy stressed. “But Los Angeles Catholic officials revealed and posted a notice about him on line, along with credible allegations against dozens of other child molesting clerics, most of whom faced civil abuse and cover up lawsuits that settled.
“We were surprised to learn that, despite this, his Catholic supervisors are keeping him on the job,” Clohessy said.
Chong is on the staff at the St. Therese Carmelite Chapel at the North Shore Mall in Peabody MA.
“We’re worried each time a cleric is accused in one place and then moved by his church supervisors somewhere else and still given a job where he might have access to kids,” said SNAP’s Barbara Dorris.
Earlier today, SNAP held a news conference in Chicago about Chong. He worked there for about a decade.
Catholic officials, in Massachusetts, Illinois and in California and in Massachusetts, should announce the allegations against Chong, and “beg anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered any crimes or misdeeds of his to call police, expose wrongdoing, protect others and start healing,” Clohessy said.
Chong reportedly lives at a priory in Peabody.
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.