MN- New Ulm bishop won’t release predator names: SNAP responds
For immediate release: Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2014
There's a simple reason, we believe, why New Ulm's bishop refuses to disclose the names of all predator priests in his diocese. He's protecting his predecessor who is now Minnesota’s top Catholic official: Archbishop John Nienstedt of the Twin Cities.
Nienstedt is now under tremendous heat – and rightfully so - for ignoring and concealing clergy sex crimes and cover ups in St. Paul-Minneapolis. For years, he has clearly kept dangerous clerics on the job, despite multiple reports of child sexual crimes, sexual misdeeds, and inappropriate, hurtful and troubling wrongdoing.
(See many stories at Minnesota Public Radio's website.)
Nienstedt headed the New Ulm diocese from 2001 to 2008. We're certain that he acted as irresponsibly in New Ulm as he has acted in the Twin Cities. And some of the church officials in New Ulm who committed or concealed child sex crimes might face prosecution (because their crimes were relatively recent). So from the Catholic hierarchy's point of view, it's crucial that these secrets remain secret for as long as possible.
We are convinced that New Ulm Bishop John LeVoir is just doing now what his colleagues and predecessors across the globe in the catholic hierarchy have done for centuries - putting the reputation and power of a colleague ahead of the safety of kids and the healing of victims.
We hope that Bishop LeVoir will change course, show courage, and expose those who committed abuse and concealed predators in his diocese - whether they are archbishops or custodians. We aren't confident that he will, unless forced to do so by a judge or by public pressure.
Roughly 30 US bishops have posted predator's name on their websites. LeVoir should do this pronto. It's the quickest and cheapest and easiest way he can safeguard the vulnerable.
Finally, we are glad Winona Bishop John Quinn lost his bid to have a clergy sex abuse and cover up trial moved elsewhere.
Like many Catholic officials, he wants to have his cake and eat it too. He tolerates and continues the secrecy of his predecessors on this crisis, then when cover ups are uncovered – thanks to the courage of victims and the hard work of journalists – he tries to exploit this for selfish purposes, and move a trial so it's delayed and so his flock may see less media coverage of it.
We urge every single person who saw, suspected, or suffered clergy sex crimes or cover ups - in New Ulm or Winona - to come forward, call police, help protect others, and start healing.
(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.