MI - Ex Detroit bishop is in firestorm of controversy
For immediate release: Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, SNAPclohessy@aol.com)
Twin Cities Archbishop John Nienstedt, formerly of Detroit, is coming under fire for ignoring and concealing the alleged child sex crimes of at least two Minnesota priests - Fr. Jonathan Shelley and Fr. Curtis Wehmeyer.
Our group has called for a criminal investigation into Nienstadt and his staff. For years, in both cases, Catholic officials saw evidence or signs of suspected child sex crimes and refused to tell police, prosecutors, parents, parishioners and the public.
Nienstedt was born in Detroit, attended seminary in Detroit, was ordained in Detroit, and became a bishop in Detroit. We strongly suspect that, while in Detroit, he also hid, minimized and enabled clergy sex crimes.
We urge every current and former Detroit Catholic church employee or member to call police with any information or suspicions they may have about clergy sex crimes or cover ups, whether on Nienstedt's watch or later. It's never too late to tell law enforcement about known or possible crimes. It's crucial, if kids are to be safe, that those who commit OR conceal heinous crimes against kids are reported, exposed, investigated and prosecuted.
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.