MN--Church officials must act re convicted predator priest, victims say
For immediate release: Friday, Feb. 12, 2016
Dozens of northern Minnesota Catholic church staff members have a chance to protect kids in from a proven predator priest. And since Vatican officials are knowingly putting these kids in harm’s way, Duluth area church employees and parishioners must take action to safeguard the vulnerable.
Church bureaucrats in Rome have told a bishop that he can lift the suspension of convicted cleric who molested at least two Crookston area girls.
That means this priest, Fr. Joseph 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 one Minnesota victim (and church officials settled that suit),
Why must Minnesota Catholics act now? Because their efforts might result in Fr. Jeyapaul being convicted, extradited and jailed again. And because their spiritual “leaders” brought Fr. Jeyapaul here and gave him access to Minnesota kids, some of whom he molested.
What must Minnesota Catholics do now? They must beat the bushes, spread the word, and ask every current church member and worker “Did you see, suspect or suffer crimes by Fr. Jeyapaul?” And if the answer is “yes,” they should gently but firmly be prodded to call police. It’s just that simple.
Fr. Jeyapaul’s bishop won’t protect these kids. He’s lifting Fr. Jeyapaul’s suspension.
Pope Francis won’t protect these kids. He’s letting Fr. Jeyapaul’s suspension be lifted.
Only the justice system can protect them, and only if others with information or suspicions about him call law enforcement. That’s most likely to happen if caring Catholics use word-of-mouth and social media and if Catholic employees use parish bulletins and church websites to sound the alarm and beg – literally beg - others to come forward.
Five months ago in Philadelphia, Pope Francis told US bishops and Catholics “I commit myself to the zealous watchfulness of the church to protect minors, and I promise that all those responsible will be held accountable.”
Such promises are easy for popes to make but apparently hard for popes to keep.
But no matter what the church hierarchy may do or not do, Minnesota Catholics and citizens could help put a proven predator back behind bars, if only they’ll find the courage to do simple, cheap outreach. Let’s hope they do.
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)
Vatican--Officials OK lifting convicted predator priest's suspension; Victims respond
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.