MN--Victims urge new archbishop to release report
For immediate release: Monday, March 28, 2016
Now that the reins of the Twin Cities Catholic church are firmly in his hands, and now that Easter has passed,
Archbishop Bernard Hebda must reveal the results of the expensive but still-secret church inquiry into alleged sexual exploitation and misdeeds by his predecessor, Archbishop John Nienstedt.
It’s irresponsible for Hebda to pretend he can move forward while continuing to conceal the results of that report. It’s been hidden for months.
We have little faith in church-sponsored misconduct “investigations” into clergy sex crimes and misdeeds. But if Catholic officials choose to launch and fund such probes, they owe it to parishioners, parents, police, prosecutors and the public to disclose the findings.
If a priest accused of multiple serious sexual misdeeds resigns, that doesn’t end the process of investigating the allegations against him. So Nienstedt’s resignation as archbishop can’t end the process of investigating the allegations against him.
Catholic officials have pledged to investigate accusations of sexual misconduct against priests. They must do the same with accusations of sexual misconduct against bishops. In both cases, they must disclose what they’ve learned, for the safety of the vulnerable, the healing of the wounded and the health of the church.
Does anyone really believe that it’s fair or right or healthy for Twin Cities Catholics to pay for but learn nothing from a costly “investigation” into multiple reports of sexual wrongdoing and exploitation by their former archbishop?
The Bible tells us “the truth shall set you free.” Notice that phrase: “The truth.” Not 10%, 30% or even 90% of the truth. The truth. That’s what Catholics and citizens need and deserve before anyone can or should even considering “turning the page” or “moving forward.”
No cancer patient be satisfied or confident if a surgeon said “We’ve removed 10% or 30% or 90% of the cancer we found in you.” And no Twin Cities Catholic should be satisfied or confident while information about clergy sex crimes, misdeeds and cover ups – especially by the one-time highest ranking Catholic prelate in Minnesota – remains under wraps.
Finally, we urge every single person who saw, suspected or suffered child sex crimes, misdeeds and cover ups in Minnesota Catholic churches or institutions – especially in the Twin Cities – to protect innocent kids and vulnerable adults by calling police, get help by calling therapists, expose wrongdoers by calling journalists, get justice by calling attorneys, and get comfort by calling support groups like ours. This is how Catholics will be safer, victims will recover, criminals will be prosecuted and cover ups will be deterred and the truth will surface.
(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)
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.