ME - Just-suspended priest worked in Maine
He allegedly shared porn with children
Wisconsin police are investigating the case
And Catholic officials say it could be a felony
Victims group calls for outreach to “victims, witnesses & whistleblowers”
For immediate release: Thursday Nov 21, 2013
A priest who worked at a Portland Catholic church for a decade has been suspended from his job in Wisconsin and is being investigated by police for “questionable use of Facebook.”
Milwaukee archdiocesan officials say the allegations “would likely result in a felony charge.” A parishioner says the cleric is “accused of using his Facebook account to share pornography, primarily with adults, but occasionally with minors.”
Fr. Ireneusz Chodakowski allegedly rebuffed a parish employee’s requests that he “make changes in the video content of his Facebook account,” apparently to prevent minors from seeing “pornographic images [Chodakowski] was distributing.”
From 1998-2009, Fr. Chodakowski headed St. Louis Catholic church in Portland. According to a church website, he was reportedly also assigned to work at a Catholic school in Thomson, Connecticut.
A support group for clergy sex abuse victims is asking Maine Catholic officials to “aggressively reach out to anyone who may have “seen, suspected or suffered sexual misdeeds or crimes” by Fr. Chodakowski.
Leaders of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, say Catholic officials should put notices about Fr. Chodakowski in church bulletins and on parish websites and other places.
“Police are investigating this priest. Catholic officials – in Maine and Wisconsin- should help the police,” said David Clohessy of St. Louis, SNAP’s director. “Catholic officials can do absolutely nothing, or they can aggressively seek out others with knowledge of or suspicions about Fr. Chodakowski’s wrongdoing. We believe they should do outreach.”
“It’s irresponsible for church figures to be quiet and passive here,” said Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, SNAP’s outreach director. “Victims, witnesses and whistleblowers often need prodding before they’ll call law enforcement. It’s the duty of Catholic officials to do that prodding.”
Fr. Chodakowski is listed on the website of Portland Peninsula & Island Parishes as having worked at Pastor of St. Louis Church in Portland from 1998-2009. He reportedly also worked for the church in England and Poland.
Fr. Chodakowski belongs to a Stonebridge Massachusetts based religious order called the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception based in Stonebridge, Mass.
His direct supervisor is Fr. Kazimir Chwalek.
Milwaukee archdiocesan priest, Fr. Bill Hayward, read a prepared statement at Fr. Chodakowski’s parish on Saturday about the suspension.
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.