MI - Controversial priest selected as a Michigan bishop; SNAP responds
For immediate release: Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013
David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, SNAPclohessy@aol.com)
Father John Doerfler of the Diocese of Green Bay is the new bishop of Marquette, Michigan. We are disappointed with this promotion.
Doerfler has been a high ranking official in that diocese for some time. It’s a diocese with a terrible track record on clergy sex abuse and cover up cases.
We believe that Fr. Doerfler is also associated with a controversial Catholic group called Courage:
We hope that as Marquette’s new bishop he will immediately warn parents, parishioners and the public about a former Marquette priest, Fr. Benedict Van der Putten, who was defrocked due to credible child sex abuse allegations and who now lives in Hawaii.
It’s irresponsible for Catholic officials to recruit, educate, ordain, hire, train and transfer priests and merely oust them when they molest kids. Bishops should also warn others about them, especially when they move far away as Van der Putten has done. We strongly suspect that families who live near him now have no idea that he’s a predator.
Bishop Doerfler should also post on the Marquette diocesan website the names, photos and whereabouts of every proven, admitted and credibly accused Catholic child molesting cleric who has ever worked or lived in the diocese. Roughly 30 US bishops have done this. It’s the quickest way to protect kids.
We also hope that Bishop Doerfler uses his bully pulpit and diocesan resources to aggressively seek out individuals who were hurt by the nine credibly accused predator priests in the diocese.
Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, SNAPclohessy@aol.com), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747, SNAPblaine@gmail.com), Peter Isely- SNAP Midwest Director (414-429-7259, firstname.lastname@example.org), John Pilmaier- SNAP Wisconsin Director (414-336-8575, email@example.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.
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.