MI--Ray Township Catholic School administrator charged
For immediate release Wednesday, November 26
Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 503 0003 cell, bdorris@SNAPnetwork.org)
A Ray Township teacher at Austin Catholic Academy faces allegations that he sent sexually graphic emails to a child. We call on Detroit Archbishop Allen Vigneron to personally visit the school where the alleged predator worked, begging victims, witnesses, employees, former employees, alumni, students, staff and whistleblowers to call law enforcement if they have any information or suspicions about the alleged crimes.
All too often, child molesters get expensive lawyers, exploit loopholes, and escape responsibility for their crimes. Even when they’re found guilty or plead guilty, they often rally their friends, pressure public officials and end up with little or no jail time. That’s irresponsible. That endangers kids.
The way to prevent this is simple: every person who has even a scintilla of information about Joseph Sturza’s crimes or misdeeds must call 911. This is no time to be complacent. Each one of us has a moral and civic duty to protect children by helping law enforcement catch and convict predators.
And all too often, Catholic officials passively sit back in criminal cases and do nothing. Vigneron has a moral and civic duty too: to use his vast resources (church bulletins, parish websites and pulpit announcements) to reach out to others who may have been hurt by Sturza and prod them to get help.
We commend the parents who had the wisdom to work with law enforcement and not church officials. That is a brave and responsible course of action. And we beg anyone else who may have seen, suspected or suffered crimes by Sturza or cover ups by church officials to step forward too.
(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)
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.