MN- Victims urge Pope to oust St. Paul archbishop
For immediate release: Wednesday, August 06, 2014
For more information: David Clohessy (314-566-9790, SNAPclohessy@aol.com)
Victims pass resolution for archbishop's removal
They cite cover-up of abuse and “hidden evidence”
SNAP to all Minnesota bishops: Beg pope to fire archbishop
In response to a months-long clergy sex abuse and cover-up scandal in the Twin Cities, a support group for victims of sexual abuse is calling for the immediate removal of St. Paul's archbishop.
More than 300 members of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org), voted to pass a one-page resolution calling for the removal of St. Paul & Minneapolis Archbishop John Nienstedt. SNAP is the nation's largest support group for men and women sexually abused in religious and institutional settings.
Members adopted the resolution at the group's 25th anniversary annual conference in Chicago this week
Nienstedt has been blasted by victims and Catholics for quietly moving predator clerics, hiding evidence of abuse and covering-up child sex crimes. Media outlets such as the Minneapolis Star-Tribune and the New York Times have also called for Nienstedt's removal.
Nienstedt “has actively participated in the cover up and protection of clergy who have sexually abused children and adults," the resolution says.
"Will this resolution convince Nienstedt to step down? Probably not," said Frank Meuers of Plymouth, SNAP's Twin Cities director. "But we must let our voices be heard. He must step down – or Pope Francis must act – if victims are to heal and children are to be kept safe."
The group is also urging others who saw, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes and cover ups in the St. Paul archdiocese to contact secular officials, not Catholic officials.
The group is also demanding complete transparency and accountability from St. Paul Catholic officials.
The resolution is below:
Resolution calling for the removal of Archbishop Nienstedt
Whereas, Archbishop John Nienstedt of the St. Paul/Minneapolis Archdiocese has actively participated in the cover up and protection of clergy who have sexually abused children and adults.
Whereas, Archbishop Nienstedt has directed staff to hide and or destroy information that may be incriminating or implicate the involvement of priests accused of sexual abuse or the Archdiocese knowledge of such abuse.
Whereas, Archbishop Nienstedt has punished archdiocese staff for demanding accountability of priests who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing children.
Whereas, Pope Francis has said that bishops must protect children and "will be held accountable".
Therefore, we the members of SNAP at our 25th annual meeting on August 2, 2014 in Chicago, IL resolve to urge Pope Francis to immediately remove and discipline Archbishop John Nienstedt and other clergy who have or are participating in this cover up.
Furthermore, we demand that all Minnesota bishops publicly call for the immediate removal of Archbishop Nienstedt.
(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)
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.