IL--Detailed SNAP statement re Cupich's abuse track record

More from SNAP re new Chicago archbishop

For immediate release: Saturday, Sept. 20

Statement by Kate Bochte, SNAP leader, 630-768-1860, keight@sbcglobal.net

Many commentators are stressing that Cupich is perceived as a “moderate” in terms of his theology, philosophy or behavior. It's important to remember, however, that Catholic officials of all stripes have concealed - and often are still concealing – awful crimes against children. “Left wing,” “right wing” and “centrist” bishops deal with clergy sex crimes and cover ups in remarkably similar ways. On this continuing crisis in the church, it's irresponsible to assume that Cupich will be any better than George. Prudent people will remain skeptical and let Cupich hopefully prove, through his deeds (not his words) that he is committed to the safety of children.   

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IL -- Victims Worry about New Head of Chicago Archdiocese

For immediate release: Friday, Sept. 19

Statement by Kate Bochte, SNAP leader, 630-768-1860, keight@sbcglobal.net

Victims worry about new head of Chicago Archdiocese

We hope that Chicago's next Catholic Archbishop will do more to prevent future clergy sex crimes and cover-ups. But we're not optimistic. Pope Francis, like his predecessors, keeps promoting bishops who have concealed or are concealing heinous sexual violence against kids. Cupich is another prelate like this.

Earlier today, the Spokesman Review reported that more than 200 victims have come forward in Spokane.

http://www.snapnetwork.org/wa_hundreds_more_wa_clergy_sex_victims_come_forward_snap_responds

Cupich acted irresponsibly by exploiting bankruptcy law to avoid embarrassing disclosures about the complicity of the Spokane church hierarchy in dreadful crimes against kids.

In a 2010 interview with a Washington newspaper, Cupich made some startling comments about the church’s child sex abuse and cover up crisis. Cupich’s remarks endanger kids, hurt victims and mislead Catholics by mischaracterizing and minimizing the horrific scandal.

In the interview, Cupich makes three stunning and patently ridiculous claims.

1) “Sexual abuse of children is not happening in the church today.”

2) “The scandal is that, 30 years ago, the world of psychology, criminal law and the church didn’t handle the situation well. Society didn’t handle the situation well.”

3) “Various institutions that work with kids that don’t have in place codes of conduct and training that we have in place.”

Let’s look at all three of these claims.

First, on the very day Cupich’s interview appeared, Illinois newspapers were reporting on the new guilty plea by a Chicago area predator priest, Fr. Alejandro Flores. He was ordained in 2009. He molested a boy in 2010. Ancient history? Hardly!

Even worse, the local bishop’s top staff knew this predator had problems even before he was ordained. According to one newspaper: “Prosecutors say Catholic officials had some warning signs about Flores” because he “was caught with gay porn on his computer” and “some of the images appeared to be those of young boys.”

So what did the Illinois bishop do? He warned no parishioners about this incident and went ahead and ordained Flores anyway.
http://www.suburbanchicagonews.com/heraldnews/news/2686150,Flores-plea-kane_AU090810.article

The day before Cupich’s interview appeared in print, Fr. Joseph Fiala was arrested in Kansas for child sex crimes he allegedly committed in 2007 and 2008.

(And I write this within hours of reading that a California priest has been suspended from active duty because of allegations that he molested two brothers “within the last two years.” http://www.pe.com/localnews/inland/stories/PE_News_Local_D_abuse14.ee896821.html)

We could go on and on and on.

Every day, a blog called “The Abuse Tracker” posts dozens of news accounts from credible media outlets across the world about current clergy sex abuse and cover up cases. Most, sadly, involve Catholic clerics. (It’s available at BishopAccountability.org)

Catholic officials can try mightily to distance themselves from pedophile priests when those priests are caught and admit guilt. But as long as Catholic officials continue to recruit troubled men to the priesthood and ordain them despite clear warning signs, this horrific, on-going crisis will continue.

Second, Cupich claims, “The scandal is that, 30 years ago, the world of psychology, criminal law and the church didn’t handle the situation well. Society didn’t handle the situation well.”

It’s hard to know where to start with this one. Sure, much of society has improved over the past three decades when it comes to child sexual abuse. But the Catholic church stands apart as the one institution that has attracted, harbored, protected and transferred more child predators - literally thousands of child molesting priests, nuns, bishops, seminarians, brothers and other staff – than any other.

And while there certainly are too many abusive coaches and teachers, it’s nearly impossible to find one who has molested dozens or hundreds of kids because he or she was deliberately moved from place to place by irresponsible supervisors. Why? Because that happens most in the Catholic church, and always has.

(Isn’t it sad to see an alleged spiritual leader implying “Heck, we’re no worse than other groups that caused children to suffer”?)

Cupich disingenuously blames ‘psychology’ for part of the church’s crisis. He conveniently neglects to mention that if he and his colleagues had called the police about clergy child sex crimes (both known and suspected), hundreds of predator priests would be in prisons, not in therapy. He also obscures the fact that pedophile priests were deliberately sent for counseling to Catholic institutions where the top priority wasn’t protecting kids and ‘healing’ predators but keeping secrets.

(With their vast resources, Catholic bishops could have sent their ‘troubled’ priests to the ‘best and brightest’ in the therapeutic community. Instead, however, they chose to protect themselves, their colleagues and their secrets by utilizing instead therapists who would help bishops conceal the crimes and give bishops the ‘recommendations’ to return pedophiles to ministry that bishops so desperately sought.)

Third, Cupich claims that “various institutions that work with kids that don’t have in place codes of conduct and training that we have in place.” We challenge Cupich to stop the McCarthy smear tactics and specifically tell us what other institutions lack the supposed abuse programs that the Catholic church has allegedly adopted (albeit begrudgingly and belatedly). It’s just wrong to cast aspersions on an entire group – agencies and organizations that deal with kids.

And we challenge the ludicrous notion that ‘codes of conduct’ are in any way effective when it comes to child sex crimes. Does Cupich honestly believe that, years ago, even one confused priest told himself, “Gee, I’m not sure sodomizing a child is right or wrong. My bishop doesn’t make me sign a ‘code of conduct’ forbidding child sodomy, so I guess I’ll go ahead and assault a little girl or boy today.”

These “codes of conduct” are like much of the bishops’ response to this heinous scandal – it’s a smart PR move that makes people feel good and believe reform is happening. But it has no impact whatsoever in the real world.

It’s also worth considering what Cupich doesn’t say. He never once acknowledges that the church’s rigid, all-male, secretive culture plays any role in this crisis. He never once admits that bishops ignore and conceal child sex crimes because they can (since in this monarchical structure, they answer to virtually no one).

It’s misleading to talk about the crisis without mentioning its primary cause – the recklessness, callousness and deceit of bishops who repeatedly, knowingly and secretly transferred child molesting clerics to unsuspecting parishioners, and who shun victims, deceive reporters, stonewall police, intimidate witnesses, destroy evidence, fabricate alibis, and discredit whistleblowers.

Finally, Cupich stresses the church’s “need to rebuild trust.” We respectfully disagree. The church needs to stop finger-pointing, excuse-making, and blame-shifting. The church needs to protect the vulnerable and heal the wounded. When that happens, trust will be restored.

We do agree with Cupich in one respect. He says that the church hierarchy is “more than the sins of our past.” Indeed, the church hierarchy is also, sadly, the sins of its present.

We wish Cardinal Francis George well as he battles his cancer. We hope he has a long retirement. He did much good as the head of the archdiocese. But he acted selflishly and secretively and irresponsibly in case after case after case involving child molesting priests, nuns, seminarians and other church employees. We don't expect much better of Cupich.

We hope that Chicago Catholics and citizens resist the temptation to “sugar-coat” George's dreadful track record on children's safety and the temptation to assume that his successor will somehow be better on this continuing scandal.

Complacency protects no one. Only vigilance protects kids.

(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 18,000 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)

Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, SNAPclohessy@aol.com), Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747, SNAPblaine@gmail.com)

 

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Mexico- Runaway priest sued for abuse, victims respond

For immediate release: Friday, September 19, 2014

Statement by Joelle Casteix of Newport Beach, CA, SNAP Western Regional Director, (jcasteix@gmail.com, 949.322.7434 cell)

It is shocking and upsetting to learn that credibly accused child predator Roberto Peguero Hernandez is still living and working as a priest in Mexico. Not only has he been named as an abuser by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, but he was allowed to escape the country when police in Santa Paula learned about the allegations.

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CT- Archbishop Blair's terrible record on clergy sex crimes and cover ups

1) Blair spent countless hours and tens of thousands of dollars to deny victims of child sexual abuse the ability to expose child molesters in court.

 As a result, hundreds of child predators remain “under the radar” and walking freely in Ohio.

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WA- Hundreds more clergy sex victims come forward; SNAP responds

For immediate release: Friday, Sept. 19, 2014

Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, davidgclohessy@gmail.com)

We are shocked to learn that more than 150 adults who say they were molested by Spokane diocese priests have “had their cases rejected by a former federal judge” over the past several months. And since the Spokane Diocese bankruptcy settled in 2004, a total of 230 people have filed such claims, according to a new story in the Spokesman-Review newspaper.

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NY- Preschool worker’s restrictions lowered, SNAP responds

For immediate release: Friday, September 19, 2014

Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 503 0003, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)

A New York preschool worker, who is under investigation for sexual crimes against children, has had his restrictions eased. We are concerned about this move.

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DC- SNAP praises attorney for SOL elimination efforts

For immediate release: Friday, September 19, 2014

Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 503 0003, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)

The attorney for DC is calling on city council member to eliminate the statute of limitations for sex crimes. We applaud this effort.

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MI- Grand Haven priest takes leave of absence, SNAP responds

For immediate release: Friday, September 19, 2014

Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 503 0003, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)

A Michigan Catholic priest will take a leave of absence over a sexual encounter with an adult. If she is or was a parishioner, we are deeply concerned. In 17 states, such conduct is illegal.

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IL- Diocese of Joliet sued, SNAP responds

For immediate release: Friday, September 19, 2014

Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 503 0003, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)

The Catholic Diocese of Joliet is being sued for allegedly hiding the crimes of a now deceased predator priest. We applaud these brave victims for having the courage to hold church officials accountable.

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CT- Victims urge archbishop to drop his appeal

For immediate release: Thursday, Sept. 18, 2014

Statement by Claudia Vercellotti of Toledo, Northern Ohio leader of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (419 345 9291, SNAPtoledo@aol.com)

For years, in Ohio, Leonard Blair succeeded in keeping child sex abuse victims from gaining the chance to expose predators in court. Now, in Connecticut, he is trying to revoke the chance that child sex abuse victims here have long had to expose predators in court. Like hundreds of others who care about vulnerable children and wounded adults, I sorely hope he doesn't prevail. If he does, Connecticut may as well roll out the red carpet for those who would sexually assault youngsters.

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CT- Victims speak out in favor of law

For immediate release: Thursday, Sept. 18, 2014

Statement by Beth McCabe of SNAP (860 335 8187, thirdmccabe@comcast.net)

We as victims of childhood sexual trauma fought too long and hard to reform awful and outdated statutes of limitations to let one Catholic official roll back Connecticut law and help predators remain hidden. We desperately hope that our state's Supreme Court will side with kids who are at risk and adults who are suffering, and against a powerful public figure who wants to avoid the inconvenience and humiliation that come with clergy sex abuse trials, depositions, and discovery.

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CT- Deter wrong doing, preserve law SNAP says

For immediate release: Sept. 18, 2014

Statement by Jim Hackett, Connecticut co-leader of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (203-710-0968, SNAPct@cotse.net)

Deterrence. That's what I want to stress: current Connecticut law deters wrongdoing. That's why current Connecticut law should be preserved.

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