MN - Catholic officials hid more disturbing evidence; SNAP responds
For immediate release: Friday, Oct. 18, 2013
Statement by Bob Schwiderski of St. Wayzata, Minnesota Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (952 471 3422, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Weeks ago we learned that several top Twin Cities Catholic officials concealed for years the “borderline illegal” pornography on Fr. Jon Shelley.
Today, we learn that they also concealed for years “inappropriate (email) correspondence with a minor” sent by Fr. Shelley.
In both cases, concerned Catholic lay people warned high-ranking archdiocesan staff. In both cases, police were not called and little, if any, effective steps were taken to protect others.
Nearly every day we learn more about known and suspected clergy sex crimes, misdeeds and cover ups in the Twin Cities archdiocese. And without exception, what we learn portrays Archbishop John Nienstedt or his staff in a worse light.
The Bible says “The truth will set you free.” It doesn’t say anything about 25% of the truth or 50% of the truth. Only the full truth about heinous crimes and inexcusable cover ups will enable Nienstedt – and his increasingly distraught flock and staff – “turn the corner” on this dreadful scandal.
Finally, for years we have urged victims, witnesses and whistleblowers to call police officials, not church officials. We applaud the St. Paul police department for publicly encouraging those with information or suspicions of clergy sex crimes and cover ups to call them. We hope that every police department in the 12 counties that make up the St. Paul/Minneapolis archdiocese will make the same public plea.
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.