MO- Carlson “finds” seven more abuse reports; SNAP responds
For immediate release: Monday, Feb. 10
Statement by Judy Jones of St. Louis, Midwest Assistant Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (636 433 2511, 314 974 5003, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Some say Archbishop Robert Carlson is now obeying a court order but honestly, virtually no one knows for sure. And we're upset that he now says he's found seven more credible abuse reports that he allegedly didn't mention earlier.
We're skeptical about Carlson being “in compliance” because Carlson and his lawyers twice succeeded in keeping these names under wraps– first, by keeping these records hidden for decades and now, under court-ordered sealed for eternity. So no one besides the judge and the lawyers involved know whether the documents Carlson has finally turned over really do meet his legal obligations.
We hope he's been honest. But given the horrific track record of the Catholic hierarchy, and this archdiocese, on children's safety, we would be foolish to assume he's really honoring the court order.
Carlson has repeatedly protected predators and endangered kids and we firmly believe he's still doing so.
He has also violated this order several times over the past few months and we fear he may still be doing so now.
The records remain hidden because of a protective order. But let's be honest – it protects clerics who committed and are concealing heinous crimes. Those are the only people this really protects.
Finally, we continue to worry because Catholic officials are withholding at least 40 names because church staff claim the abuse reports against them are “unsubstantiated.” But across the country, for decades, Catholic employees have deemed abuse reports “unsubstantiated” that others find very credible. In fact, Archbishop Carlson is keeping Fr. Alex Anderson in a parish right now, despite three men (who don't know one another) having each reported being molested by Fr. Anderson (and one of them was paid a settlement).
One of Carlson's predecessors, Archbishop Raymond Burke, put Fr. Michael Freymuth back into a parish despite assurances by church staff to a victim of Freymuth that “actions would be taken to remove (Fr. Freymuth) from the church for good so that he couldn't hurt any other boys.” In 2009, church officials suspended Fr. Freymuth for the second time after news reports revealed he had been quietly reassigned with little or no public notice or warning.
So it's prudent to doubt the judgment and track record of Catholic officials who call an abuse report “unsubstantiated.”
(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 15,000 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.