MN- Ex-Archbishop myth is exposed; SNAP responds
For immediate release: Monday, July 14, 2014
A new and startling one hour documentary by Minnesota Public Radio – titled “How three archbishops hid the truth about abuse” – is available now online.
– painful interviews with Louisiana clergy sex abuse victims and their family members who contradict the carefully-crafted but patently false image of Archbishop Harry Flynn as a “reformer” on abuse,
– part of a never-released tape in which an angry Twin Cities priest calls Archbishop John Nienstedt “a liar, a thief and a coward” while being booed by other priests (at the 54 minute mark),
–a victim who discloses that he is incapable of having children because his perpetrator, Fr. Patrick Ryan, crushed his testicles (at the 43 minute mark),
–a man who died of AIDS after having been sexually violated as a child by a priest (He did not get the disease from the cleric.)
Several chilling lines stand out:
–“In sworn testimony in May 2014 Flynn falsely claimed that (convicted predator Fr. Gil) Gustafson was no longer a priest.”
–“At the time (whistleblower) Jennifer Haselberger resigned (in April 2013), some accused priests were still in ministry. Despite all their public promises, church officials showed no interest in removing them.”
–“More than a decade ago, Catholic officials vowed to change. Haselberger revealed that the cover up never ended.”
Perhaps most disturbing of all, MPR reports that:
“Ramsey County attorney John Choi has refused to convene a grand jury. Nearly one year into the scandal, no one has faced criminal charges. Police have not asked the archdiocese to turn over all of its files. Even today, the church is still refusing to disclose the names of every priest accused of sexually abusing a child."
The need for a grand jury to investigate the Twin Cities archdiocese has never been more clear. Choi has claimed that a grand jury is not appropriate or possible in this case. Yet clearly, grand juries have been called in Ramsey County.
( Here's one example from a few months ago: http://www.startribune.com/local/stpaul/244011331.html )
We again call on Choi to stop waffling, show courage, and launch a real investigation into the dozens of reckless, callous and deceitful men in the St. Paul archdiocese.
Finally, for the first time ever, journalists looked closely at how Flynn dealt with the horrific Fr. Gilbert Gauthe case in Lafayette Louisiana. We are grateful that MPR unveiled Flynn's deceit in that situation. For decades, church officials have claimed that prelates like Flynn and Boston's Cardinal Sean O'Malley “cleaned up” abuse in dioceses far earlier than their colleagues. In our view, that's a convenient and self-serving myth.
These Catholic officials were simply forced to deal with clergy sex crimes and cover ups sooner than their peers. And they learned, as MPR reports, that continued secrecy was key. Yet they used smart public relations and soothing words and symbolic gestures to foster a false impression of change.
(Also mentioned in the report are numerous predator priests, included Fr. Curtis Wehmeyer, Fr. Gil Gustafson, Fr. Robert Kapoun, Fr. Thomas Adamson and Fr. Fredy Montero.)
(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 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)
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.