MO--Priest who tried to have victim murdered pleads
For immediate release: Wednesday, Dec. 3
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)
We’re grateful that an already convicted would-be murderer priest – who spent time in the KC area - has just been sentenced for child sex crimes too. Fr. John Fiala is clearly a dangerous man who should be behind bars forever.
He worked in at least four states: Texas, Nebraska, Missouri, and Kansas. In 2001-2002, he was at St. Joseph’s Catholic church in Shawnee Kansas. From 1998-2001, he was at the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity in Kansas City Missouri.
Today, Fiala was sentenced Tuesday to 30 years in prison -- on top of the 60 years he was already serving for solicitation of capital murder.
In 2010, Omaha Catholic officials disclosed that they knew eight years earlier that the cleric had made sexual advances toward a child in the 1980s.
And in a remarkably disingenuous understatement, Omaha’s archbishop said his diocese settled a civil case against Fiala “because it was not clear that all appropriate information was shared when Fiala left the archdiocese in 1996 to join SOLT.” The sad, simple truth is that Omaha Catholic officials knew and suspected that Fiala was a criminal but kept this information secret from parishioners, the public and even other church officials. They should be honest and clearly admit this.
We urge the bishop in every diocese where Fiala spent time to personally visit each site where Fiala worked and beg victims, witnesses and whistleblowers to call police. Catholic officials have many resources that could be used to help reversed decades of secrecy about clergy sex crimes.
Fiala hired a hit man to kill one of his victims. He is a danger to adults and kids. It’s sad that church officials refused to take strong, clear steps to help make sure prosecutors are able to convict and imprison him. Instead, they just paid off his victims and walked away.
We beg anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered crimes by Fiala – or cover ups by his supervisors - to come forward, expose wrongdoers, protect others and start healing.
(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.
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.