MN--Victims applaud MN pedophile priest verdict
For immediate release: Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2015
We applaud a Minnesota jury for awarding $8.1 million to a victim of a predator priest. This verdict will protect kids and deter cover ups of child sex crimes.
Victims often stay silent, assuming no one will believe them, help them, or take serious action. Today’s verdict shows that this assumption is no longer true. We hope the wisdom of this jury and the courage of this victim will prod others who are victims of sexual violence to come forward, seek justice, prevent crimes and expose those who commit and conceal heinous abuse against children.
This is a warning to bishops who pretend they’re powerless over religious order clerics working in their dioceses. The jury said that Duluth’s bishop is responsible for most of the harm done by this predator priest, even though the priest’s paycheck was signed by a legally separate entity, the Oblates.
The bottom line is that every bishop is responsible for the safety of every Catholic kid from every Catholic pedophile, whether the offender is a Jesuit, a Marianist, an Oblate or whatever. Hair-splitting may work for bishops as a public relations strategy. It works less well as a legal defense strategy.
The pedophile priest in this case, Fr. J. Vincent Fitzgerald, worked in Missouri, Illinois, Texas, South Dakota and Minnesota. http://www.bishopaccountability.org/assign/assign/Fitzgerald_J_Vincent_OMI.htm
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has 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, email@example.com, SNAPclohessy@aol.com), Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003 cell, bdorris@SNAPnetwork.org), Frank Meuers of Plymouth MN, SNAP director Southern Minnesota (952-334-5180, firstname.lastname@example.org), Verne Wagner of Duluth, SNAP director Northern Minnesota (218-340-1277, 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.