MN- One prosecutor joins call for grand jury vs. archdiocese
For immediate release: Tuesday, July 15, 2014
Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 503 0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)
St. Paul prosecutor and state representative John Lesch says, according to Minnesota Public Radio, that “a call from survivors for a grand-jury investigation (into the St. Paul Catholic archdiocese) has some merit.”
We applaud his thinking and his courage. We continue to be dreadfully disappointed in Ramsey County Attorney John Choi who seems to spend more time explaining his inaction than he does taking action against the clearly complicit and corrupt Catholic officials who head the Twin Cities archdiocese.
Our 25 years of working with victims, witnesses, whistleblowers, police, prosecutors and lawmakers has taught us one crucial lesson: almost always, “where there's a will, there's a way.” Sure, many laws are inadequate and archaic. Sure, Catholic officials shrewdly cover their tracks in clergy sex cases. Sure, many victims don't come forward promptly.
But time and time again, despite these obstacles, we've see law enforcement officials be aggressive and creative and successful in pursuing criminal charges against members of the Catholic hierarchy. The biggest hurtle seems to be finding not the one case or the one legal tool or the one investigative maneuver or the one whistleblower. It seems to be finding the political will.
We aren't lawyers, police or prosecutors. We assume Choi is doing some worthy action to quietly to bring some of these high-ranking, self-serving and morally bankrupt Catholic officials to justice. But we also firmly believe he can and should do more (as Lesch suggests).
We urge Choi to get on the right side of history and insist that police officers and his own staff do more to investigate those who commit AND those who conceal heinous sexual violence against children in the church.
At the very least, Choi should again make an impassioned plea for victims, witnesses and whistleblowers to come forward. The more time goes by and the more horrors that get exposed, the more hopeless people with knowledge or suspicions about clergy sex crimes become. They should be prodded, again, to call police and prosecutors immediately. Those kinds of public pleas can make a real difference.
(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.
The Attorneys General of forty states have inquired about the grand jury process in Pennsylvania. Let's get statewide investigations going in fifty states.
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.