MO- Victims respond to predator priest case settlement
For immediate release: Monday, July 7, 2014
Statement by Barbara Dorris Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314-503-0003, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)
For starters, please remember that just because a Catholic public relations person says something, that doesn't make it right. Nor does it make it normal. Katie Pesha should be ashamed of herself for savaging this brave young victim today. Years from now, we suspect that she will be. And we hope she will then try her best to make amends to a courageous, suffering young woman.
In a further effort to smear this brave young woman, and deter other victims from stepping forward, we believe that Catholic officials are circulating records that have been marked “confidential” by a judge. We have been sent one of those records. But we won't comment on those records.
We believe Archbishop Carlson settled today to keep his complicity and the complicity of his colleagues hidden. And we believe that this brave young woman settled for the sake of her healing.
We believe that our job, as a support group, is to make sure we don't in any way ever compound a victim's pain. The last thing we would ever want to do is to add to this courageous young woman's suffering in any way. That's why we will be brief in what we say today.
First, the archdiocese claims settlement details are being withheld at the request of the victim. Frankly, we find this hard to believe. The archdiocese should answer a simple question: Which side asked that the settlement amount be kept private. We believe it was the archdiocese.
Second, there are rumors that this brave young woman once recanted. Like most victims, she had some obviously justifiable concerns about how mean Catholic officials might be during the criminal and civil processes. But she never recanted.
Third, these were dozens of crimes, sometimes brutal, inflicted on a girl starting when she was young. So if on one detail her memories don’t match her father’s memories, that is not surprising nor significant.
Fourth, Catholic officials have tons of resources and tons of experience in clergy sex abuse and cover up cases. It's neither surprising nor significant that they claim they've found an expert or two who would allegedly disparage this brave victim.
Fifth, no church official today mentioned – much less explained or apologized – for warning no one when they put a convicted criminal in an unsuspecting parish. We ask Archbishop Carlson to go to St. Cronan's this weekend and do this, while begging others who saw, suspected, or suffered to come forward.
Archbishop Carlson is unclear on when he learned it's a crime to molest a child. But this young woman is and always has been very clear – Fr. Joseph Ross molested her. Fr. Ross poses a danger to kids. And she should try to protect others from Fr. Ross. She has done that. We applaud her bravery.
She did everything in her power to protect other kids—a claim that very few if any church official can match.
Here's what's really going on today: Carlson faces two other very damaging civil cases that are well within the statute of limitations. They involve Fr. Bryan Kuchar, a convicted molester, and Fr. Joseph Jiang, a close friend of Carlson. Carlson wants to scare victims, witnesses and whistleblowers in these cases, and others, into stopping their quest to expose church wrongdoers. We hope he fails.
(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 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.