MO--More Catholic abuse records to be turned over
For immediate release: Wednesday, March 11
Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314-503-0003, bdorris@SNAPnetwork.org)
Last year, a St. Louis judge ordered the Catholic archdiocese to turn over to a victim’s lawyer church abuse and cover up records over a 20 year span.
Now, a different judge in a different case involving a different predator is ordering Archbishop Robert Carlson to turn over more records.
Thanks to the ruling last year, we know local Catholic officials received at least 240 complaints against 115 church employees. We suspect these numbers are artificially low. Still, they are sobering.
(An independent website called BishopAccountability.org, started by Boston area Catholics, lists names of 54 publicly accused St. Louis archdiocesan predator priests. This figure is also very low, we believe.)
We applaud this ruling. But we’re sad that it’s necessary and worried it may not really make kids safer because the information is likely to be deceptive and incomplete and remain hidden from public view.
It would be so refreshing to see Archbishop Carlson voluntarily disclose information about predators and enablers, instead of repeatedly being forced to do so by persistent victims and smart judges.
Every single step towards more openness about those who commit and conceal child sex crimes is positive. We're grateful that the brave, wounded family in this lawsuit is making progress towards justice and that more judges realize that the on-going secrecy about child sex crimes by church officials is dangerous.
Finally, we applaud the brave mom and dad who are pursing this case on behalf of their son who committed suicide after having been sexually assaulted by Fr. Bryan Kuchar. (In 2003, Kuchar was convicted of molesting a South County boy. He’s since been defrocked.)
This family should be praised and supported for their efforts to peel back the long-standing and still-thick veil of secrecy surrounding clergy sex crimes and cover ups in this archdiocese. Their suffering is immeasurable and their courage is admirable.
Kuchar is young, smart and savvy. He received a short sentence and lives now in St. Louis. We fear he may still be abusing kids. So any attention brought to him and his crimes can only help to protect the innocent and vulnerable.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We were founded in 1988 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.