MN - Victims prod singer Neil Diamond about predator priest
Victims group prod's Neil Diamond's guitarist
He complained privately of alleged child sex crimes
SNAP: "That's not good enough. Call the police now"
For immediate release: Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2013
A support group for allergy sex abuse victims is urging Neil Diamond's guitarist to call Minnesota law enforcement officials about a priest who faces a recently re-opened police investigation into possible child pornography.
Recently disclosed church documents show that Fr. Jonathan Shelley wrote to Diamond admitting that Hadley Hockensmith, Diamond’s guitarist, had been “spreading rumors” about Shelley having "indiscretions with young boys.” The priest urged the singer to put a stop to it.
Leaders of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, are urging Hockensmith to immediately report what he knows or suspects about possible crimes by Fr. Shelley to the police.
The group sent Hockensmith a message through email, the Postal Service and Diamond’s Twitter account:
“Because high ranking Twin Cities Catholic officials hid evidence of Fr. Shelley’s misconduct – and possible crimes – for a decade, right now Fr. Shelley is a free man,” said David Clohessy of SNAP. “The information Hockensmith can provide might help to keep this cleric from hurting other children and getting away with his crimes forever. What he has done so far is not enough”
“Any information or suspicions of possible child sex crimes must be given to police or prosecutors,” said Bob Schwiderski of SNAP. “That is the moral and civic duty of every adult. While we’re glad Hockensmith apparently told some people about potential crimes, he must now tell law enforcement authorities if kids are to be safer.”
The group also urges anyone with more information will call police, expose wrongdoers, protect kids, and deter cover ups.
A copy of SNAP’s letter to Diamond is below:
8715 West 3rd Street
Los Angeles CA 90048
Dear Mr. Diamond
According to media accounts and Catholic church records, your guitarist has accused a Minnesota priest, Fr. Jonathan Shelley, of “indiscretions with young boys.” In a letter written to you in February 2012, Fr. Shelley states that Hadley Hockensmith made these allegations to two friends accusing via email.
Recently, evidence of likely child pornography was found on Fr. Shelley’s computers and a police investigation into this matter has been re-opened.
As survivors of abuse, we are disappointed that Hockensmith apparently has not reported the information he had about Fr. Shelley to the police. Going to the authorities is the only way to protect children. We hope you will urge him to go to do this immediately. By staying silent, Hockensmith may be enabling predators and endangering children.
David Clohessy, Director, SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, (7234 Arsenal Street, St. Louis MO 63143), 314 566 9790 cell (SNAPclohessy@aol.com)
Barbara Dorris, SNAP Outreach Director (314 503 0003, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)
Bob Schwiderski, Minnesota SNAP Director (952 471 3422, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Posted to Twitter: Your guitarist may know about crimes by a priest, Fr. Jonathan Shelley. Please urge Hockensmith to call police ASAP
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.