MN archbishop's answer: "I'll hire more lawyers"
For immediate release: Thursday, October 24
David Clohessy, Director, SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, (7234 Arsenal Street, St. Louis MO 63143), 314 566 9790 cell (SNAPclohessy@aol.com)
In response to scandal stemming from secrecy, Archbishop John Nienstedt proposes more secrecy.
He does one thing today – he promises hiring more lawyers. That’s all. The rest of his column is just more promises from a powerful prelate who keeps breaking old promises.
Here’s the only real change: Soon the number of hand-picked, church-paid lawyers looking at predators' files will go from six or eight to 12 or 14. That's not progress.
Those files – all of them – must be turned over to law enforcement. Despite his protestations to the contrary, this is “clear” to Nienstedt. But he refuses to do it.
It doesn't matter if they're paid permanently or temporarily by Nienstedt. The lawyers he picks aren't police or prosecutors. They're regular employees or contract employees. They're beholden to him. And they'll help him keep his secrets secret, as church lawyers have virtually always done. (The one exception, obviously, is Jennifer Haselberger.)
The job now isn’t adults “feeling peace” or their “trust” being “restored.” The job now is protecting kids. Nienstedt’s words don’t do that. His actions might. But he refuses to take concrete steps to safeguard children. And he is refusing again today to do that.
None of Nienstedt words today protect one kid, expose one predator, discipline one enabler, uncover one cover up or deter one crime.
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.