MN- Rochester priest should be suspended

MN- Rochester priest should be suspended

For immediate release: Thursday, Oct. 9, 2014

Statement by David Clohessy of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314-566-9790 cell, davidgclohessy@gmail.com)

A Rochester Catholic priest who hid clergy child sex crimes in Winona should be suspended.

Newly-released church records about pedophile priests in Winona show that Msgr. Gerald Mahon “dealt with cases of alleged abuse” but apparently did not ever contact law enforcement or issue public warnings to police, prosecutors, parents or parishioners about credibly accused child molesting clerics.

Msgr. Mahon claims he "always took claims of sexual assault very seriously." Sadly, his words are meaningless. His actions are what matter. And his actions, according to his church’s own records, contract his claims.  

For a decade in the 1990s, Msgr. Mahon

---was in the Winona diocese’s “inner circle” as vicar general, reporting directly to his bishop,

---knew child sex abuse was illegal,

---knew about or suspected child sex crimes and/or misdeeds by several colleagues and underlings (Fr. Joseph Cashman and Fr. Roger Taylor), yet

---apparently never once called the police or warned parishioners about known or suspected child sex crimes.

These are not allegations. These are facts, drawn straight from the church’s own files, made public only because brave clergy sex abuse victims are finding the strength to file lawsuits and force these long-overdue disclosures.

What else does Winona Bishop John Quinn need to know about Msgr. Mahon than this – that he repeatedly, through actions and inactions, stayed silent, concealed predators and endangered kids?

There are now 16 publicly accused Winona priests who have been publicly accused of molesting children. We can’t help but wonder how many of them Msgr. Mahon shielded during his ten years in the Winona diocese’s inner circle. We can’t help but wonder if any of them might now be in prison if only Msgr. Mahon honored his civic and moral duty and called 911. We can’t help but wonder how many innocent, trusting boys and girls might have been spared devastating pain if only Msgr. Mahon put their safety ahead of the reputations and careers and convenience of himself and his Catholic colleagues and supervisors?

We applaud the courageous Winona area families that reported abuse and helped to make others safer.  But we are sad that Msgr. Mahon evidently did so little to help them stop predator priests – either years ago as vicar general or in recent years as a priest?

Msgr. Mahon also claims he’s “learned” how to respond better to abuse now. If that’s true, why has he still evidently refused to take tangible steps to protect children from these predators in the years since he left his chancery office job? Why didn’t he “come clean” in 2002, when bishops finally and reluctantly adopted a national church abuse policy that mandates “openness” in clergy sex crimes? If he’s somehow “learned,” why does his behavior not reflect this?

We hope and believe these revelations will prod others who have been hurt by priests, nuns, deacons, seminarians and other Catholic church employees to get help, come forward, expose wrongdoers and protect kids.

And we urge Rochester area and Winona area Catholic church officials and members to aggressively seek out others who may have seen, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes or cover ups. We strongly suspect that others who were sexually abused as kids are still suffering as adults and feel trapped in shame, silence and self-blame. 

It’s important that they be given help and consolation. And it’s important that they – and anyone else who may have knowledge or suspicions about other crimes or misdeeds contact law enforcement immediately.

(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)

Contact – David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, davidgclohessy@gmail.com), Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com), Frank Meuers of Plymouth (952-334-5180, frankameuers@gmail.com) Verne Wagner (218-340-1277, lwagsmn@yahoo.com)

 

    

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