For immediate release: Friday, April 18
Our deepest sympathies go out to both families whose children have been sexually violated by Fr. Joseph Jiang.
Because of the first criminal charges against him, Fr. Jiang was suspended from his parish in June 2012. Carlson assured his flock that Fr. Jiang would be kept away from kids. Evidently, Carlson didn't honor his promise, because Fr. Jiang is now charged with molesting a different child just two months later (in August 2012).
We especially feel sorry for these brave families because Archbishop Robert Carlson continues to play mean-spirited legal hardball to protect his close pal, Fr. Jiang.
Today, through one of his public relations staff, Carlson released a statement impugning the honesty and motives of the family of the second child who has reportedly been sexually assaulted by Fr. Jiang.
Neither Carlson, his lawyers nor his professional public relations people are stupid. They desperately want to prevent embarrassing lawsuits. They know that it helps to quickly scare others who saw, suspected or suffered Fr. Jiang's crimes into keeping silent. And they know that one good way to ensure silence is to quickly and publicly question the honesty of those who speak up. We believe that's why Carlson claims that this victim's family 1) supposedly raised concerns about bullying in their parochial school and 2) supposedly didn't mention child sex abuse until this week.
Shame on Carlson, his lawyers and his PR team. Neither of those allegations – even if they are true - have any bearing whatsoever on whether these new criminal charges are valid.
Both of those claims might well discourage others with information about predator priests from stepping forward. We believe that's Carlson's motive here. What other reason could there be for Carlson to publicly make these allegations – or any allegations – about a victim or his or her family?
Carlson could perhaps have disclosed that the victim's relatives are lifelong Catholics or wonderful parents or regular church-goers or upstanding citizens. Instead, Carlson claims that they have raised other concerns with the archdiocese, as if to suggest they might be chronic complainers. And Carlson claims that the second victim's family supposedly did not mention abuse until recently, as if to suggest they kept the allegations secret too long. Again, shame on him and those who helped him craft these insensitive and self-serving claims.
And let's note what Carlson is NOT disclosing:
– where Fr. Jiang has lived for the last two years,
– why he kept Fr. Jiang's whereabouts secret,
– why Fr. Jiang moves from city to city with Carlson,
– why Fr. Jiang had living/sleeping quarters in both his parish rectory and archbishop's home,
--whether or not, as the civil lawsuit against Carlson asserts, Fr. Jiang admitted to Carlson that he molested the first victim, and
– whether or not he saw the check that Fr. Jiang put on the car windshield of the first victim's family car.
Now we call on Archbishop Carlson to
– disclose where Fr. Jiang has been living, and
– send Fr. Jiang to a remote, secure, independent treatment facility far away from St. Louis, where (if he isn't properly supervised) he will have to start from scratch identifying vulnerable kids and winning their families' trust, which would make it harder for him to sexually assault others.
It's reckless to assume that Fr. Jiang will be convicted. He got off last time on a technicality and he'll certainly try that again.
And it's reckless to assume that Catholic officials will now really keep Fr. Jiang away from kids. (Fr. Alex Anderson has been accused by three different people of molesting them as kids yet he remains in a parish today.) So it's crucial that those who could help police and prosecutors effectively pursue this case do their moral and civic duty and step forward now.
(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)