MN -- Four credibly accused MN clerics identified; Victims respond
For immediate release: Friday, March 13
Four New Ulm Catholic priests have been identified as “credibly accused” child molesters but again, church officials ask victims to call them instead of calling law enforcement FIRST. That’s irresponsible and self-serving.
The four are Fr. Dennis Becker, Fr. David A. Roney, Fr. John M. Murphy, and Fr. Michael G. Skoblik.
New Ulm’s bishop should apologize for repeating a centuries-old hurtful pattern of trying to handle child sex crimes internally rather than criminally. While he mentions both church and secular authorities in his notice to parishioners, the bishop lists church staff first, and includes contact information for them (while only later, and briefly, mentioning “law enforcement” with no contact information provided).
All adults have a moral duty to protect kids and a civic duty to report known or suspected crimes to police. Shame on Bishop John LeVoir and his staff for again selfishly putting their own comfort, careers, prestige and power ahead of the safety of kids by discouraging reports to secular authorities.
Shame on him too for saying these alleged crimes happened “decades ago.” That’s part of a carefully-orchestrated public relations and damage control strategy to mollify parishioners and the public and to imply that clergy sex crimes are all in the past. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Instead of trying to pacify parishioners, Catholic officials should be trying to help police. Instead of encouraging complacency, Catholic officials should be encouraging vigilance.
We urge anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes or cover ups in the New Ulm area – by one of these four or by other clerics – to call the experienced and unbiased professionals in law enforcement, not the self-serving and biased amateurs in church offices. We especially encourage current and former church employees who may have information or suspicions about child molesting clerics to find the courage to speak up, expose wrongdoers, protect kids and deter cover ups.
NOTE – At least three of the four are deceased. But it’s still possible that church supervisors or colleagues who may have shredded evidence, obstructed justice, intimidated witnesses, lied under oath or committed other crimes might be prosecuted.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We were founded in 1988 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)
Contact - David Clohessy 314-566-9790, firstname.lastname@example.org, Barbara Dorris 314-503-0003, bdorris@SNAPnetwork.org, Barbara Blaine 312-399-4747, bblaine@SNAPnetwork.org, Frank Meuers of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (952-334-5180, email@example.com), Verne Wagner of Duluth, Northeast MN (Duluth, MN & Superior, WI) SNAP director (218- 340-1277, 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.
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.