MN - Victims want answers from Duluth bishop
He's accused of mishandling abuse in St. Paul
And he's hid local abuse report for over a year, SNAP says
Group calls for prosecutors to investigate clergy sex cover ups
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims will blast Diocese of Duluth bishop for his role in two clergy sex abuse cases that have surfaced this month (one in Duluth and one in the Twin Cities).
They will also
-- urge Duluth area prosecutors to investigate the diocese,
-- urge the bishop to disclose the names of every child molesting cleric in the diocese and permanently post their names on his website, and
--beg every person who saw, suspected and suffered clergy sex crimes and cover ups in Minnesota (especially current and ex-Catholic employees) to come forward, call police, protect others and start healing.
TODAY, Tuesday October 8, 2013 at 11:15 a.m.
Outside the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary, 2801 E 4th St., Duluth, MN 55812
Two-three clergy sex abuse victims who belong to a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org), including a Missouri man who is the organization’s long time director
Duluth Bishop Paul Sirba now faces questions about his involvement in two clergy sex abuse cases that have emerged within the last week.
Yesterday a Twin Cities mother accused Sirba of “of participating in a cover up involving (Fr. Curtis Wehmeyer) who abused two of her boys. She told the Star Tribune that “she believes Sirba was more interested in the church’s reputation than in protecting her children” when he called her in 2009 about Fr. Curtis Wehmeyer who is now in prison for child sex crimes.
Also yesterday, Sirba admitted that he hid allegations of child sexual abuse by a priest, Fr. Cornelius Keleher, for more than a year, and the Duluth prosecutor says that no Catholic official told him about the accusations.
Sirba only disclosed the allegations this weekend after he had been publicly linked to a scandal involving Fr. Wehmeyer .
On Sunday, when Sirba announced the allegations against Fr. Kelleher, he said he “rather quickly” ousted the priest from ministry. SNAP disputes this claim.
And last week, according to Minnesota Public Radio, a Twin Cities archdiocesan whistleblower “saw handwritten notes from then-Vicar General Paul Sirba about (inappropriate behavior by Fr. Weymeyer). Sirba called the mother of the boys and said she needed to help Wehmeyer observe appropriate boundaries, she said. Sirba, who is now the bishop of Duluth, did not return a call for comment.”
Based on the involvement of Bishop Sirba in these cases, previous case, SNAP is urging Duluth area prosecutors to launch investigations into how he is handling and has handled clergy sex abuse in the diocese and whether he or his staff have broken or are breaking any laws
SNAP will challenge Bishop Paul Sirba to disclose the names, whereabouts and work histories of all proven, admitted and credibly accused Duluth area child molesting clerics (living or deceased, active or inactive, religious order or diocesan) and post this information permanently on his website.
Fr. Wehmeyer is now in prison for child sex crimes. Fr. Kelleher’s whereabouts are unknown.
David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, SNAPclohessy@aol.com), Verne Wagner (218-340-1277, firstname.lastname@example.org), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com), Bob Schwiderski (952 471 3422, 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.