MN--Another priest accused of child sex crimes; Victims respond
For immediate release: Monday, May 2, 2016
Another accused Crookston predator priest has been suspended because of credible reports of child sex crimes. That makes at least seven publicly accused Crookston area child molesting Catholic clerics (according to BishopAccountability.org)
Bishop Michael Hoeppner should spread the word about this move far and wide and aggressively seek out others who may have seen, suspected or suffered the cleric’s crimes.
Over the weekend, Fr. Pat Sullivan was temporarily suspended for abuse that happened eight or nine years ago. He recently worked in Dillworth and Hawley.
As best we can tell, Bishop Hoeppner told the fewest people possible about this troubling new abuse report: just Fr. Sullivan’s current parishioners. That’s self-serving and irresponsible.
Bishop Hoeppner did not, as best we can tell, inform the public about it. But the US bishops’ national abuse policy purportedly mandates “openness” in clergy sex abuse and cover up cases. Why is Bishop Hoeppner being so secretive?
A genuinely compassionate leader would have held a news conference, so police, prosecutors, parishioners, parents and the public would and promptly know about Fr. Sullivan and could do what they can to keep him away from kids and from destroying evidence, intimidating victims, threatening witnesses, discrediting whistleblowers or fleeing the country.
Or, Bishop Hoeppner should have sent a news release to Minnesota media and posted a notice on his diocesan website.
Instead, he did the absolute bare minimum. Shame on him.
Anyone who was hurt by Fr. Sullivan likely doesn’t attend Fr. Sullivan’s current parish. Bishop Hoeppner knows this. Yet for his own selfish reasons, the bishop only to tell only Fr.Sullivan's current parish.
In one sense, this is no surprise, because Bishop Hoeppner has long been secretive about predator priests.
Bishop Hoeppner refused to tell his flock about Fr. Louis Heitzer, a man who worked in the Crookston area and was “‘perhaps the most abusive priest ever to be part of (the Twin Cities Archdiocese)” abusing kids “every place he went,” according to a high-ranking Catholic official.
Ditto with Fr. Charles Joseph Gormly.
Ditto with Fr. Rick Boyd.
Ditto with Fr. Jerry Foley.
We could go on and on. We’re especially disappointed in Bishop Hoeppner’s silence and inaction in the Fr. Joseph Jeyapaul case. Church bureaucrats in Rome have lifted the suspension this priest, who is a convicted child molester who assaulted at least two Crookston area girls.
That means that Fr. Jeyapaul, can be put back to work, even though he was
--extradited to Minnesota from India by governmental authorities there and in the US,
--found criminally guilty of sexually assaulting one Minnesota girl,
--accused of sexually assaulting a second Minnesota girl,
--deported back to India, and
--sued by two Minnesota victims (and church officials settled both suits for six figure sums),
No matter what Bishop Hoeppner and other Crookston church officials do or don’t do, we urge every single person who saw, suspected or suffered child sex crimes and cover ups in Catholic churches or institutions to protect kids by calling police, get help by calling therapists, expose wrongdoers by calling law enforcement, get justice by calling attorneys, and be comforted by calling support groups like ours. This is how kids will be safer, adults will recover, criminals will be prosecuted, cover ups will be deterred and the truth will surface.
(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)
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.