MN – Accused priest reinstated, SNAP responds
For immediate release Wednesday, December 27, 2017
On December 26, 2017, the Diocese of Crookston announced that it was reinstating a priest, Father Patrick Sullivan, who was placed on administrative leave in early 2016. A lawsuit was filed at that time alleging the clergyman had abused a 15 year old boy in 2008. No criminal charges have been filed against the priest. The clergyman has denied the allegations, and the diocese has stated that no other allegations have been made against him. Following an internal investigation, the diocese found the allegations were not credible. The suit is still pending.
We here at SNAP, the Survivors Network, are concerned that the priest has been reinstated prematurely. The attorneys for the accuser have alleged that documentation discovered during the course of the suit shows that Bishop Michael Hoeppner “received information that showed that Fr. Sullivan posed a serious risk of harm.”
While we have no firsthand information about this case, we do know that statistically speaking the vast majority of those who come forward accusing a clergyman of childhood sexual abuse are telling the truth. We also know from experience that Catholic bishops do not always give complete information about offending priests, even to those who work for them.
We encourage anyone who has information about these allegations to speak out, file lawsuits, and report criminal behavior to the police. We also hope that they will reach out to groups like ours, for support and help.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 25,000 members. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
Melanie Sakoda (925-708-6175, firstname.lastname@example.org), Joelle Casteix (949-322-7434, email@example.com), or Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, SNAP Executive Director (314-503-0003, bdorris@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.
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.