MI--Victims urge bishop to be more honest
For immediate release: Monday, July 6
Saginaw’s bishop owes parishioners and the public more information about a just-suspended priest. We hope the local Catholic hierarchy will be more honest about the allegations against Fr. Denis Heames.
Bishop Joseph Cistone has temporarily ousted Fr. Heames from St. Mary University parish citing unspecified “boundary violations.” Cistone’s deliberating choosing to keep his flock in the dark by using a vague and confusing term.
Fr. Heames may have raped an adult. He may have ripped off an elderly parishioner. He may have sexually exploited a devout woman seeking counseling. He may have illegally and surreptitiously taken pictures of unsuspecting church members in a bathroom with a hidden camera.
If anything like this happened, Cistone’s flock should be told.
Fr. Heames may have broken church law. But he also may have violated secular law. If Cistone refuses to be specific, citizens and Catholics might not be able to help police and prosecutors pursue Fr. Heames, and a potential criminal may walk free.
We beg anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered crimes or misdeeds in the Saginaw area – whether by Fr. Heames or other church officials – to call secular authorities, not church officials. Speaking up protects the vulnerable.
Staying silent protects the wrongdoers.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 20,000 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)
Diocesan priest placed on administrative leave of absence
Updated: Mon Jul 6, 2015, 1:05 pm.
The Rev. Denis M. Heames, parochial administrator of St. Mary University Parish, Mount Pleasant, has been placed on administrative leave due to boundary violations related to his priestly ministry, Bishop Joseph R. Cistone, of the Saginaw Diocese, announced this weekend. The information was part of a press release released early Monday afternoon.
“Last weekend, it was brought to my attention that Father Heames has been involved in boundary violations related to his priestly conduct, serious enough to require . . .
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.