- Abuse victims urge action against 3 bishops
- Each has recently put children at risk, SNAP says
- And one was criminally convicted in sex case last month
- Group urges Catholic hierarchy to enforce its own policy
- A decade ago, prelates promised to discipline complicit colleagues
- But over ten years, bishops keep ignoring other bishops who endanger kids
Outside the annual meeting of all US Catholic bishops, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will hold signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, urging bishop to oust or discipline three other bishops who have “recently and egregiously endangered kids.” One of them is the first – and only – American prelate to be criminally convicted (just last month) of hiding evidence of clergy child sex crimes from police for months.
Monday, November 12 at 1:00 pm
Outside the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront, 700 Aliceanna Street (where hundreds of bishops are meeting) in Baltimore
Three-four clergy sex abuse victims who belong to a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org) and the co-director of a Boston-based research group called BishopAccountability.org
A decade ago this month, in response to public pressure, America’s Catholic bishops formally adopted a "fraternal correction" policy, promising to apply their child sex abuse policy to themselves. In other words, prelates pledged that they would deal effectively with not only child molesting clerics, but also with complicit colleagues who act improperly in child sex abuse and cover up cases.
But for ten years, SNAP says, bishops have ignored this policy and done nothing about their peers’ misconduct.
Now, SNAP is urging the prelates to honor that policy by making three bishops stay away from or leave early from the annual meeting of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), which meets this week in Baltimore. Each of the three have recently, in SNAP’s view, endangered kids and/or violated the USCCB’s Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.
Ignoring wrongdoing, SNAP says, encourages wrongdoing.
The three are Kansas City’s Robert Finn, Miami’s Thomas Wenski, and Joliet’s Daniel Conlon. SNAP wants the USCCB to take action against them to “deter future recklessness” in child sex cases and show that bishops will not tolerate colleagues who “break the child safety laws of the church or of our society.”
In late October, Kansas City’s Finn was found guilty of child endangerment for keeping hidden from police hundreds of pornographic, suggestive, and inappropriate photos of young girls taken by Fr. Shawn Ratigan. (He is the first US bishop ever to be criminally convicted for refusing to report suspected abuse to police.)
Also just last month, Miami’s Wenski finally suspended Fr. Rolando Garcia from active parish ministry, after the fourth civil lawsuit was filed charging Garcia with child sex crimes. (Bishops have repeatedly promised to use a “one srike and you’re out” standard for predator priests.)
And in September, Joliet’s Conlon abruptly and inexplicably announced that he was putting a credibly accused priest, Fr. Lee Ryan, back on the job even though Joliet’s previous bishop had suspended Ryan. Public pressure ultimately forced Conlon to reverse his decision. (And Conlon heads the USCCB child sex abuse committee.)