MN- Releasing predators' names is not enough, SNAP says
For immediate release: Monday, Feb. 17, 2014
Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 862 7688 home, 314 503 0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)
Recalcitrant Twin Cities church officials have been forced to finally make nine more predators' names public by a safety-conscious judge and victim. But Catholic officials must go further. They have shielded these predators for years. Now they must warn citizens and Catholics about them, not just in Minnesota but in every state they worked.
It's irresponsible for Twin Cities Catholic officials to do what protects them – suspend these predators, when caught, from local parishes – while doing little or nothing to protect others.
Archbishop John Nienstedt, Bishop Lee Piche and Bishop Andrew Cozzens must use their tremendous resources – pulpit announcements, parish bulletins, diocesan websites, newspaper ads and personal visits to the places these predators worked.
We're especially worried about Fr. Freddy Montero, who is now reportedly living among even more vulnerable families in Ecuador – who almost certainly don't know his criminal past.
We challenge archdiocesan officials to disclose how many child molesting clerics "remain under investigation" and when each of these so-called investigations began. It's been clear for a long time that Catholic officials move extraordinarily slowly when they're confronted with clergy sex abuse reports and eventually only announce a finding of “substantiated” when they're virtually forced to do so.
Finally, we reject the premise that some company hired by the archdiocese had to scour files to find these names. It's not like they are buried in some Byzantine vault that must be excavated. St. Paul Catholic officials have known about all of these predators for years, if not decades. They could have and should have disclosed the names years, if not decades, ago.
Catholic officials don't need to hire more people to search their files. They need to 'man up' and search their consciences. They need to disclose every name of every child molesting Catholic employee – cleric or lay person, living or dead, archdiocesan or religious order, whether they're required to or not. Until they do, their reputations will remain in tatters, children will remain at risk, and victims will remain in shame and self-blame.
(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 15,000 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 cell, SNAPclohessy@aol.com), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com), Bob Schwiderski of Wayzata (952-471-3422, firstname.lastname@example.org), Frank Meuers of Plymouth (952-334-5180,email@example.com)
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.