MN- Catholic officials to face tough questions & give records, judge rules
For immediate release: Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014
Statement by Frank Meuers of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (952-334-5180, firstname.lastname@example.org)
We're grateful that a judge today ordered St. Paul Catholic officials to be deposed and turn over records about clerics who commit or conceal heinous crimes against kids.
The need for more disclosure by church figures has been clear for years. Many rightly believe that church officials have not, and are not, being held accountable for irresponsible deeds and crimes that other officials in other organizations would be.
For decades, our justice system has erred on the side of protecting church officials in these cases, sometimes treading lightly for fear of alienating a large institution. The results have been – and continue to be – disastrous.
We must, for the safety of children, err on the side of protecting those who are vulnerable, not those who seem powerful or popular.
St. Paul's archbishop claimed that he and his disgraced top aide should not be deposed. We are glad these complicit clerics lost.
Their excuse was that they supposedly didn't handle the case of this notorious predator priest, Fr. Thomas Adamson. Even if this is true, it's irrelevant.
Many church officials have access to many records about many predator priests. Nearly all of these officials endanger kids by keeping this information secret. All of these officials could (like Jennifer Haselberger) protect kids by speaking up.
Morally, these church officials should be held responsible, because they're at the top of a rigid hierarchy in which their orders are followed and their actions are emulated. Legally, these church officials should be held responsible, for the same reason: they could have protected kids and stopped predators but refused to do so.
No matter which priest molested which kids under which archbishop, every Catholic employee who refused to call the police about known or suspected child sex crimes is guilty – if not legally, then morally.
A CEO of a waste disposal firm may not have loaded or unloaded leaky barrels of dangerous chemicals. That doesn't mean, however, that he should be allowed to pretend he was or is powerless or blameless.
Catholic officials are forever trying to distance themselves from and claim to be powerless over their child molesting clerics. Increasingly, judges, jurors, police, prosecutors and parishioners are rightly seeing through this ruse.
We hope this ruling inspires others who saw, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes and cover ups in Minnesota – in any denomination – to step forward.
(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)
Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, SNAPclohessy@aol.com), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com) Bob Schwiderski of Wayzata (952-471-3422, email@example.com), Frank Meuers of Plymouth (952-334-5180, firstname.lastname@example.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.