MD- Catholic librarian should be fired, SNAP responds
For immediate release: Friday, April 04, 2014
Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, SNAPclohessy@aol.com)
A Baltimore teacher has been arrested for sexually abusing one of her current students. We urge Catholic officials to fire and denounce - not just suspend - the librarian who kept silent about these crimes for weeks and discipline two Catholic officials who are calling these crimes "a relationship."
They are wrong and callous to do so. It's misleading and hurtful to call child sex crimes "a relationship." That implies equality and consent that cannot exist between an adult and a child, especially between a teacher and a student.
Baltimore Archbishop William Lori's spokesman used that insensitive and inaccurate phrase in a radio interview. And school president Fr. Joseph Benicewicz did the same in a letter to parents.
These are well-educated church officials who have considerable experience handing child sex crimes. They know better. But they deliberately choose to use misleading and minimizing language that rubs more salt into the wounds of child sex abuse victims. Shame on them. They should be punished.
Finally, Lori's spokesman claims church officials are "doing everything” they can in this situation. That's not true either. Catholic officials say this often but evidence shows they largely do the bare minimum.
Lori should personally visit the school, urging students, staff and parents to disclose any suspicions or information they may have to law enforcement. He should post the teacher's name, face and work history on his archdiocesan website with the same plea, prodding victims, witnesses, and whistleblowers to contact secular authorities, not church officials.
We are grateful for law enforcement for getting this dangerous teacher away from kids. And we hope this victim's family will help police and prosecutors charge and convict Lynette Trotta and anyone else at Archbishop Curley High School who may have ignored or concealed her crimes.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 25 years and have more than 15,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
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.
The Attorneys General of forty states have inquired about the grand jury process in Pennsylvania. Let's get statewide investigations going in fifty states.
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.