MO--Bishops are backsliding
“Bishops are backsliding,” victims say
Group blasts prelates as they meet here
SNAP releases list of accused priests are still on the job
Three of the alleged predators are working in St. Louis
One admits molesting child & another faces three accusers
Victims: “Bishops must train their flocks to respond better”
When abuse reports surface, many parishioners “rally around the accused”
As hundreds of US Catholic bishops gather for their annual meeting, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will
--reveal a list of 12 alleged pedophile priests who are still on the job (including 3 in St. Louis),
--accuse bishops of “backsliding” on their pledge to quickly oust accused predator priests, and
urge bishops to
--stop parishioners from rallying around alleged child molesting clerics and
--train their flock to react appropriately when child sex abuse reports surface
Wednesday, June 10 at 1:00 p.m.
On the northeast corner of Chestnut & Fourth, outside the Hyatt, in downtown St. Louis MO
Three-four adults who belong to a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (including two of the organization’s long-time leaders)
They will also hold signs and childhood photos.
On Friday, the St. Paul archdiocese was charged with endangering kids by keeping a now-convicted predator priest on the job long after accusations of sexual misdeeds had been made about him. SNAP contends these charges (and the convictions of top church officials in Kansas City and Philadelphia) show bishops are backsliding from their pledge to quickly remove credibly accused predator priests.
Last month, a high profile Hispanic priest was sued for allegedly molesting a child. He works for both Notre Dame and the San Antonio archdiocese. Similarly, on Long Island, a priest was sued in January for alleged child sex crimes by the nation’s most experienced clergy abuse attorney but is still a pastor. Neither cleric was even temporarily suspended.
As the public tires of the on-going clergy abuse and cover up crisis, and as the priest shortage continues, SNAP believes more bishops are gradually refusing to suspend credibly accused child molesting clerics, thus endangering kids and rebuffing victims.
Three accused priests are still working in St. Louis: Fr. Vincent Bryce, Fr. Alex Anderson and Fr. Bruce H. Forman. Bryce is at the Aquinas Institute on the edge of St. Louis University. Anderson and Forman are pastors of parishes in DeSoto and Soulard respectively.
SNAP will call on bishops to honor the pledges they’ve made for decades (and they formalized in 2002 at a summer meeting like this one) by immediately suspending alleged predator priests.
Dioceses teach staff how to report abuse and kids how to stop abuse. But no diocese or church entity teaches parishioners how to respond appropriately when abuse reports arise (whether against clerics, choir directors or school personnel) arise. Because most predators are charming and charismatic, many times church-goers publicly rally around accused child molesters. This intimidates and depresses other victims, witnesses and whistleblowers from speaking up, exposing wrongdoers and safeguarding children.
SNAP will urge bishops to provide formal training to parishioners on how to support accused priests in ways that do not deter others from reporting known or suspected abuse.
( Yesterday, SNAP unveiled its first-ever “virtual tour” of about 50 predator priests who are or have been in St. Louis. Ten were “outed” here for the first time. The tour is available here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B4jDcboi444kaWZ3bVhzMUhLOFU/view )
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.