For immediate release: July 12, 2013
Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 862 7688 home, 314 503 0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)
First, we commend this brave family for cooperating with law enforcement. That takes courage and compassion.
It’s always easiest to do nothing. It’s always tempting to believe an adult over a child (especially a trusted religious authority figure). It’s always easy to naively assume that wrongdoing was unintentional or a one time “slip.” It’s always appealing to worry strictly about oneself and let others worry about protecting other kids.
This family obviously is choosing a different course. They are helping police and prosecutors. They are acting responsibly and compassionately. We applaud them for doing the right thing, however hard it may be. They are protecting others from a dangerous predator.
But we hope they don’t have to carry this burden alone. We hope that others, who saw, suspected or suffered crimes by Fr. Jiang and misdeeds by Archbishop Carlson have already come forward. If not, we hope those individuals will do so. Child molesters rarely molest once. We strongly suspect Fr. Jiang has hurt others.
We’re troubled by the $20,000 Fr. Jiang reportedly left with this family. But we’re more troubled by Archbishop Carlson’s silence about this charge of witness tampering. As best we can tell, in this case and in others, he’s never once spoken out against efforts by church employees or volunteers to discourage others reporting of child sex crimes. We urge Carlson to strongly denounce such serious crimes.
We also urge Carlson to aggressively use his vast resources to help police and prosecutors build a strong case and successfully keep a child molester away from other kids?
This isn’t rocket science. Its common sense and common decency. Through church bulletins and parish websites and archdiocesan publications, Carlson can – and should – send a simple but crucial message: “If you have any information that might shed light on the case against Fr. Xiu "Joseph' Jiang, please step forward right away.”
Why is this crucial?
Because child molesters rarely strike only once.
Because most clergy sex cases can’t be prosecuted.
Because many predator priests exploit technicalities and walk free.
Because kids can’t help find other victims so responsible adults must.
Because unless bishops begin to change, their shattered reputations and diminished moral clout won’t ever be restored.
To those who might be inclined to believe the accused over the accuser, we hope you’ll reconsider. Remember, the independent professionals in law enforcement, police and prosecutors, are pursuing this case. Often, they are underfunded and overworked. They often can’t or won’t deal with cases that seem marginal or questionable or lack evidence.
If you’re tempted to think Fr. Jiang may be innocent or this may be some kind of misunderstanding, ask yourself three questions. First, why would police and prosecutors fabricate the $20,000 check, the text messages and the phone message? Second, why would Fr. Jiang put a $20,000 check on this family’s vehicle? And third, how would you feel if your child were sexually violated by a powerful, trusted, smart adult and then you and your family were publicly vilified by a few loud individuals who knew nothing about what really went on?
To Cathedral parishioners, please know that your words and deeds have consequences. You can make it more difficult for any child victim of any predator to speak up, get help, expose wrongdoing, protect others and start healing. Or you can make it less difficult. We urge you to show restraint, use common sense, and support Fr. Jiang if you must in quiet ways, not public ways. Publicly rallying around credibly accused criminals, especially in child sex cases, intimidates and re-victimizes those who have already been hurt. It jeopardizes those at risk of being hurt. And it’s an incredible help those who commit and conceal heinous child sex crimes.
So send Fr. Jiang cards, emails and letters. Bring him cookies and flowers. Prayer for him. But don’t attack this child or her family in public. (Can you imagine Jesus scaring other child victims so they remain trapped in secrecy, silence, fear and shame?)
Here’s how parishioners SHOULD act when a priest is accused:
Finally, maybe the subpoenas of top archdiocesan staffers signals that decades of deference – unwise, unhealthy and excessive deference – toward religious figures is gradually waning. And maybe these subpoenas alone will give other church officials pause the next time they are asked to or are tempted to ignore, minimize, deny or hide known or suspected child sex crimes.
As Martin Luther King said “The arc of history is long but it bends towards justice.” Ever so slowly, the naïve trust many individuals have long had in church officials is deteriorating and the favoritism many authorities have long granted church officials is disappearing. Thankfully, children are safer because of this.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 12,000 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)
Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, SNAPclohessy@aol.com), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747, SNAPblaine@gmail.com
Keep in mind your silence only hurts, and by speaking up there is a chance for healing, exposing the truth, and therefore protecting others.
Judy Jones, SNAP Midwest Associate Director, USA, 636-433-2511. firstname.lastname@example.org,
“SNAP (The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests)