MN- Archbishop's “first job,” SNAP says: “Stop record shredding”
For immediate release: Thursday, March 13, 2014
Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314-566-9790 cell, SNAPclohessy@aol.com)
Now that Twin Cities Archbishop John Nienstedt is back on the job, he should immediately stop the destruction of church abuse records and fire – or at least publicly denounce - the staffer who recently admitted doing it or others who have done likewise.
In an MPR report just over two weeks ago (in paragraph 11 of a 13 paragraph story), an archdiocesan official made a disturbing revelation:
Setter, who carried out investigations of priests for the archdiocese for more than a decade, told police that he had a policy of destroying records after five years and therefore no longer had his final report summarizing the investigation. Setter also said that he recently changed his policy and now destroys records after two years.
For ten years, this man, Richard Setter, has done 'investigations' of child sex abuse reports for the archdiocese. It's not clear to us whether he's still with the archdiocese. If he is, he should be fired. If he is not, Nienstedt should still publicly denounce him.
We hope Nienstedt will take strong, clear and public steps to stop the destruction of abuse documents and publicly instruct other church staff and volunteers to stop doing it.
Children are safer and justice is possible when records are preserved, not destroyed.
(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 15,000 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.
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.