For immediate release: Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013
Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 862 7688 home, 314 503 0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)
We are grateful that Springfield Catholic officials are disclosing credible child sex abuse allegations against Fr. Michael Kolodziej who belongs to a religious order called the Franciscans and who worked in Chicopee.
Far too often, bishops let religious order clerics into their dioceses but suddenly pretend they have no responsibility for them when they assault kids.
We are disappointed, however, that Bishop Timothy McDonnell is apparently having a notice about Fr. Kolodziej read at only one parish. Child molesting clerics don’t spend 100% of their time at their parish assignment. And they don’t just molest kids at the church where they happen to be working.
We strongly suspect that Fr. Kolodziej spent at least some time at three or four Springfield area parishes. We believe the notice should be read at churches throughout the diocese and posted in their bulletins.
We are also disappointed that Bishop McDonnell is apparently urging victims to contact church officials. Secular officials – especially the police and prosecutors – should be called when child sex crimes are known or suspected.
(“The diocese is urging anyone with knowledge of sexual abuse of a minor by any member of the clergy or other church personnel to contact Patricia McManamy, LSW, victim assistance coordinator for the Diocese of Springfield at 1-800-842-9055.” http://www.iberkshires.com/story/45092/Priest-Who-Served-in-Chicopee-Facing-Abuse-Allegations-.html)
Now, we hope Springfield’s bishop will take another small but significant step. We hope Bishop Timothy McDonnell will personally go to each parish where Fr. Kolodziej worked and beg victims, witnesses and whistleblowers to call police.
Those who may have seen, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes or cover ups must be gently but repeatedly prodded to do their civic and moral duty.
Posting a notice on a church website is easy. Personally taking steps to find and help victims should be easy, too. Both should be done, for the safety of kids, the healing of victims and the achieving of justice.