MN--Three steps archbishop should take right now
For immediate release: Friday, Jan. 31
Statement by Barbara Dorris of SNAP (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com
On Thursday, one of Archbishop John Nienstedt's public relations staffers said "We have continuously made ourselves available to law enforcement to address any outstanding questions they may have. . ."
On Wednesday, St. Paul's police chief said “We have not had the opportunity to speak with Fr. McDonough.” (McDonough is a key figure in this scandal.)
Someone's lying. We suspect it's a Catholic official, not a law enforcement official. We suspect it's Jim Accurso, not Captain Tom Smith.
It's time for Nienstedt and his staff to fully cooperate, not just claim to cooperate, with police and prosecutor. There are two steps he should take immediately.
First, this week, Ramsey County prosecutors publicly begged victims, especially those who were forced or pressured to sign “gag orders” by church officials, to step forward.
Nienstedt should put this plea in every parish bulletin this Sunday, verbatim, and include contact numbers for local law enforcement agencies.
Second, Niestedt should issue a public statement today promising that he will not in any way retaliate against victims who break those “gag orders.”
Third, he should announce that he's suspended Fr. McDonough and started defrocking him because of McDonough's complicity in decades of cover up and his refusal to answer questions from police.
(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)
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.