MT- Church officials should act now, not wait for settlements
For immediate release: Tuesday, March 04, 2014
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)
As part of a yet-to-be-finalized settlement with clergy sex abuse victims, Helena Catholic officials say they'll release the names of credibly accused child molesting clerics. They should have done this years ago and we urge them to do this now. There's no reason they cannot or should not.
For the sake of healing and the safety of kids, church officials should name all the pedophile priests right now, and not wait to be forced to do so by legal settlements. Helena Bishop George Thomas should especially name the proven, admitted and credibly accused who are still alive and capable of hurting more kids. He should be ashamed that he has kept these names hidden for years. He's done so only for the sake of his own convenience, comfort and reputation (and the reputations of other high ranking church officials, past and present).
Roughly 30 U.S. bishops have posted the names of predator priests on their websites, almost always after considerable litigation and pressure. Both Montana bishops should do so right now.
Some of the roughly 50 predator priests belong to religious orders, like the Jesuits and the Ursuline Sisters. Those Catholic institutions should also disclose these names immediately.
More than 360 adults report having suffered horrific child sex crimes by Catholic clerics. In our view, this likely means that hundreds of current and former Catholic employees either knew about or suspected these crimes and either ignored or concealed them. That is horrific too.
These names of these church officials - who cover-up horrendous child sex crimes - should also be released and they should be punished. Only when both the enablers and predators are all exposed will children truly be safe in the Catholic Church. And only when enablers are harshly disciplined will cover ups in the church be deterred.
(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)
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.