NE-- Victims prod archbishop to act
Victims prod archbishop to act
Two Omaha priests were "outed" this week as predators
Catholic officials say one faced "substantiated” accusations
Group worries about victims of two other former Nebraska clerics
It urges anyone who "saw, suspected or suffered" abuse to speak up
And it wants church staff to post offenders' names on archdiocesan websites
As parishioners enter/leave mass, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will hand out fliers to them. The leaflets urge parishioners to ask loved ones if they were hurt by four credibly accused Omaha priests who worked in eastern Nebraska but molested elsewhere so have gotten little or no public attention in the Omaha area. (All of the clerics were recently "outed" as predators.)
For the safety of kids, they will also urge
--Omaha's archbishop to post names of predator priests on his website, and
--anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes to call police, not priests.
On the sidewalk outside St. Cecelia’s Catholic Cathedral, 701 N. 40th St (corner of Burt) in Omaha
Two-three clergy sex abuse victims plus several of their supporters who are Omaha area concerned Catholics. Most of them belong to a support group called SNAP (the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests). One is a Missouri man who is the organization’s long time executive director.
Two Omaha area Catholic priests have just been “outed” as credibly accused child molesting clerics.
--On Friday, Fr. Anthony Palmese was accused of sexually abusing a boy in 1984-85 at Holy Ghost Parish in Omaha. The priest was a member of the New Jersey-based Order of Augustinian Recollects.
--Last week in Minnesota, Fr. Charles Potocki was exposed by victims’ lawyers and church officials as a priest with “substantiated” reports of child sexual abuse against him. He worked in the Omaha archdiocese at an unspecified Catholic parish in Columbus, Nebraska. Fr. Potocki had never been publicly accused before. Nebraska Catholic officials have said nothing publicly about him.
Fr. Potocki was ordained in 1970 and belonged to a religious order called the Order of Friar Minor, also known as Franciscans. Its regional headquarters is in St. Louis (314-353-7470). Catholic officials have not disclosed where Fr. Potocki’s alleged crimes too place.
SNAP is also concerned about two other publicly accused Omaha priests. Because they molested elsewhere, neither of them have received any/much publicity or attention in Nebraska. They are: Fr. Alphonsus Ferguson (who allegedly abused in Minnesota and was “outed” in a civil lawsuit in July) and Fr. Timothy C. Conlon (who allegedly abused in Arizona and was “outed” in January).
--Fr. Ferguson reportedly damaged a Minnesota boy's rectum so severely that “he now suffers from rectal fissures," according to a pending lawsuit. The alleged victim said that he saw the priest molesting 20 to 30 other altar boys. Fr. Ferguson also worked as a priest in New York, Nebraska, Iowa and Ireland. He belonged to a religious order called the Missionary Society of St. Columban, based near Omaha.
--Fr. Conlon was suspended from active ministry in January while he was at St. John the Baptist Catholic church in St. Johns, Arizona. From 1979 85, Fr. Conlon worked as retreat director of the Ministry Center in Hastings, Nebraska. Fr. Conlon belongs to a religious order called the Crosiers. He was ordained in 1979 and is now still in Arizona.
Fr. Conlon is living. Fr. Palmese died iin 2012. Fr. Potocki died in 1992. Fr. Ferguson died in 1973.
2) SNAP is also asking Omaha Archbishop George Lucas to do what 30 other bishops have done, and post on his websi0te -- for the sake of public safety -- the names, whereabouts and priestly status of child molesting clerics who are or have been in the area. Over the past eight years, roughly 30 US Catholic prelates have taken this step, which SNAP considers a simple, inexpensive, common sense way to safeguard kids.
According to a Boston-based independent research group called BishopAccountabilty .org, there are 11 publicly accused Omaha area Catholic clerics. SNAP notes that the actual number of area pedophile priests is likely much higher because BishopAccountabilty. org lists only those clerics against whom allegations have been lodged in the public domain in civill lawsuits, criminal prosecution or news accounts.
In 2002, Baltimore became the first US diocese to disclose predators’ names. A good current example is the Philadelphia archdiocese: http://archphila.org/protection/Updates/update_main.htm .
Here’s a list of bishops who have posted predator priests’ names:
Here are the publicly accused Omaha area predator priests: Fr. Robert Allgaier, Fr. Richard Colbert, Fr. Franklin “Frank” A. Dvorak, Fr. John M. Fiala, Fr. Daniel P. Herek, Fr. Jay L. Kruse, Fr. Duane W. Lukes (Lucas), Fr. Anthony Petrusic, Fr. Alfred J. Salanitro, Fr. Thomas P. Sellentin, and Fr. John C. Starostka.
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.