For immediate release: Friday, Dec. 20, 2013
Statement by Frank Meuers, Minnesota SNAP leader, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (Phone: 952-334-5180 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Today, like yesterday, Minnesota citizens and Catholics learned the names of accused predator priests. And today, like yesterday, the information was made public by responsible news outlets, not by church officials.
Minnesota parents and parishioners should thank the Star-Tribune for revealing Fr. Ambrose Filbin and Fr. Harold Whittet are accused of sexual misconduct and Minnesota Public Radio for revealing that Fr. Harry Walsh is a credibly accused child molester.
And that’s just in the last two days. Such revelations have been steadily trickling out in the Twin Cities for months.
And virtually every new name of a proven, admitted or credibly accused child molesting cleric has been made public despite, not because of, Catholic officials.
Minnesota parents and parishioners should also be outraged that Twin Cities Catholic officials kept the credible allegations against Fr. Whittet and Fr. Filbin secret for more than 11 years.
We hope neither priest has molested again over those eleven years. But we bet they have. And that, if true, is utterly tragic. How can Archbishop John Nienstedt sleep at night, knowing that he and his top aides have repeatedly and knowingly put the most innocent and vulnerable among us – children – at risk of being raped and sodomized by trusted Catholic clerics?
Finally, the thoroughly-discredited Fr. Kevin McDonough claims a “lack of time and resources” prevented disclosure of predators’ names earlier. That, of course, is ridiculous. Church officials almost always manage to find the time and resources to hire PR firms and lawyers and to engage in activities that bring them money and prestige.
Having dealt with clergy sex crimes and cover ups for decades, it’s neither hard nor expensive for Catholic officials to write a four or five sentence note – to be read aloud and put in parish bulletins - saying “We have received reports of credible child sex abuse allegations against Fr. X. We’re investigating, but if you have any information that might prove or disprove these accusations, please call police.” Something just that short might convinced a single mom to keep her kids away from Fr. X and prevent yet another clergy sex crime and a lifetime of depression, addictions, eating disorders and other pain for yet another clergy sex crime victim.
If you know any of these three priests, and ever saw them act in a way that made you feel uncomfortable (even if you didn’t actually witness a clear crime), you should call police. Every bit of information and observation could be helpful in a police investigation. And the more information police get about child molesters, the better chance that they will be able to successfully prosecute these abusive clerics.
Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, SNAPclohessy@aol.com), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747, SNAPblaine@gmail.com), Bob Schwiderski, SNAP Minnesota director (952 471 3422, email@example.com)