- Victims beg 2 Catholic panels for action
- They also want priest away from women’s shelter
- KC cleric is sued for repeatedly raping a teenaged girl
- SNAP writes to national & KC church "review boards"
- Both are “stunningly silent” about bishop’s conviction, group says
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and supporters will publicly
--beg Kansas City’s bishop to stop a suspended and accused predator priest from running a shelter for abused women and their families,
--prod lay Catholics on two church child sex abuse panels - one national and one local - to publicly rebuke KC’s bishop for his refusal to protect kids, and
--urge those who see, suspect or suffer clergy sex crimes and cover ups to keep calling police and prosecutors, not church officials.
TODAY ------------------------Wednesday, September 12 at 1:30 p.m.
Outside the KC Catholic diocesan chancery office/headquarters, 20 W. 9th Street in downtown KC
Three-four members of a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org)
SNAP has learned that KC Catholic priest, who was suspended and is being sued for repeatedly raping a teenaged KC girl, now runs a shelter in Nevada for abused women and their families. For the sake of public safety, SNAP wants KC Bishop Robert Finn and Reno Bishop Randolph Calvo to force the cleric to sever all ties to the shelter. And SNAP wants both bishops to use their parish bulletins, church websites, and pulpit announcements to warn the public and parishioners about him.
And victims want members of the US Catholic bishops' National Review Board (which oversees bishops’ handling of child sex cases), and that board's counterpart in Kansas City (also called the “review board”), urging them to publicly denounce Finn. The "inexcusable and dangerous silence" by Catholic officials about Finn's conviction last week “perpetuates the long-standing and unhealthy culture and climate” of “turning a blind eye to wrongdoing.”
SNAP is urging the members of each panel to denounce Bishop Robert Finn and his mishandling of the Fr. Shawn Ratigan scandal that has rocked the Diocese of Kansas City – St. Joseph. In a Jackson County trial last week, Bishop Finn stipulated to facts in the case and was convicted by the judge of misdemeanor child endangerment.
“For the first time in history, a convicted criminal is running a diocese and virtually every one of his supervisors and peers pretend like nothing's changed,” said David Clohessy, Director of SNAP. “The silence from top Catholic officials on this matter is stunning, and we want the National Review Board to correct that.
Since Bishop Finn’s conviction, none of America’s top Catholic officials have spoken about the matter, including the leader of Catholics in America, Timothy Cardinal Dolan. By writing to review boards at the national and local level, SNAP leaders are hoping that these officials will break their silence.
“If Bishop Finn had spoken in favor of women’s ordination or same-sex marriage, we find it hard to believe you would remain silent,” their letter says. “We urge you to break your silence here, on this issue that is not at all political but clear-cut: according to the state of Missouri, Finn knowingly put kids at risk.”
The controversial cleric is Fr. Thomas J. Cronin, who worked in at least four Missouri towns (Blue Springs, Hamilton, Gallatin, Higginsville, and Kansas City) and six institutions (Children’s Mercy, Truman Medical Center, Western Missouri Mental Health Center, Charlotte Extended Care Center, University of Missouri-Kansas City Dentistry School, and the University School of Medicine).
He now lives in Fernley NV (at 143 Desert Lakes Rd., on the edge of a golf course) and lists the same address as the site of “Rachel’s Sanctuary,” which he evidently founded. Cronin is originally from KC MO but has lived and worked in Nevada for roughly 15 years.
According to the lawsuit, Cronin allegedly repeatedly raped a 17 year old girl in 1979 in western Missouri. Once he did so while another KC priest, Fr. John J. Tulipana, watched and masturbated.
According to the 34 page suit, through confession, Cronin learned that the girl had been abused by a relative. Later, he manipulated and molested her as many as ten times. “Multiple priests and lay persons (knew) that Tulipana and Cronin were sexually abusing children, providing liquor to children and spending inordinate amounts of time with children,” the suit maintains.
The lawsuit was filed in October 2010 in Jackson County Circuit Court. Three weeks later, Reno’s bishop still had not suspended Cronin, until SNAP drew public attention to the accusation. KC’s bishop has done “little or nothing,” SNAP says, to reach out to others he may have hurt.
Cronin was ordained in 1969. He was a realtor from 2004-09 and has claimed to be a "chaplain" for the Lyon County Sheriff's Department. A photo of Cronin is available at BishopAccountability.org/. His phone number is listed as 775 575-9500 and his email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rachel's Sanctuary’s is a tax-deductible 501(c)3 non-profit. Its board includes several Fernley residents.
The victim is represented by Kansas City attorney Rebecca Randles (816 931 9901, 816 510 2704 cell), who has handled dozens of clergy sex abuse and cover up suits. The victim in this suit, who now lives outside Missouri, repressed memory of the crimes until 2009, the suit says.
The National Review Board is chaired by Al Notzon of San Antonio. Members of the KC Review Board are Daniel J. Haus, Dr. John A Larsen, Richard Smith (police department official), Fr. Robert Stewart, Jean Tadokoro, Leslie Guillot, and Fr. Joseph Powers. James Caccamo is the former head of the panel.
Barbara Dorris, SNAP Outreach Director 314 503 0003, SNAPdorris@gmail.com, David Clohessy, SNAP Director 314 566 9790, SNAPclohessy@aol.com