MD- Priest who headed MD center admits felonies
For immediate release: Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014
Ex head of MD center pleads guilty
Catholic priest stole from three sources
He headed facility for sexually troubled clerics
And he himself is accused of “inappropriate relationship”
A Catholic priest who headed the US' largest facility for child molesting clergy has plead guilty to felony theft and is likely headed to prison.
He is Msgr. Edward Arsenault, who has also been a high ranking church official in the Manchester NH diocese. Until May, he had earned $170,000 as head of the St. Luke's Institute in Suitland, Maryland.
A support group for clergy sex abuse victims questions whether Msgr. Arsenault may have also stolen from St. Luke's and it notes that Msgr. Arsenault is also accused of an “inappropriate relationship,” according to New Hampshire church officials. In roughly 17 states, any sexual contact between a cleric and a congregant is a crime.
Leaders of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, are urging bishops in New Hampshire and Maryland to “aggressively seek out others who may have seen, suspected or suffered crimes or misdeeds by Msgr. Arsenault.” They believe that he might still be prosecuted for other crimes “but only if a sincere outreach effort is made, instead of the typical response by Catholic officials, which is doing little or virtually nothing.”
“We hope Catholic officials will be honest about Msgr. Arsenault's alleged sexual misconduct,” said David Clohessy of St. Louis, SNAP’s director. “No matter how old the victim may be, it's always very hurtful – and often illegal- when a powerful and allegedly celibate priest abuses his position and sexually exploits a parishioner.”
“This is yet another reminder that no institution can police itself and treat its own predators,” said Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, SNAP's outreach director. “It's inherently problematic and self-serving for Catholic officials to send Catholic offenders to a facility run by Catholic officials.”
Arsenault has not been defrocked, SNAP notes, stressing that he should still be referred to as “Msgr. Arsenault.”
For more information:
David Clohessy of St. Louis, SNAP director (314) 566-9790 cell, SNAPclohessy@aol.com, Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, SNAP outreach director, (314) 862 7688, (314) 503 0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com
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.