NE--Victims want new Nebraska bishop to focus on kids' safety
For immediate release: Wednesday, Jan. 14
Soon the Vatican will appoint a new bishop for the Grand Island diocese in Nebraska.
Children’s safety should be his top priority. We urge him to disclose the names, whereabouts and work histories of any cleric who is a proven, admitted or credibly accused predator and to permanently and prominently post this information on his diocesan and parish websites.
In the past, Western Nebraska Catholic officials have claimed there have been no predator priests in their diocese. We find that extremely hard to believe. We strongly urge anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes or misdeeds – as an adult or a child – to get help, call police, expose wrongdoers, protect others, deter cover-ups and start healing.
Look at other dioceses in the area. There are three publicly accused Lincoln diocese predator priests (Fr. Robert C. Hrdlicka, Fr. Paul Margand and Fr. Jerome C. Murray) and 13 such clerics in the Omaha Archdiocese (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 Palmese, Fr. Charles Potocki, Fr. Anthony Petrusic, Fr. Alfred J. Salanitro, Fr. Thomas P. Sellentin, and Fr. John C. Starostka). Two of them – Fr. Palmese and Fr. Potocki - were just “outed” for the first time in November. http://www.snapnetwork.org/ne_advisory
Neighboring dioceses include Denver (with 16 publicly accused priests), Cheyenne (with two) and Rapid City South Dakota (with eight).
We strongly suspect that at least a few of these clerics spent time in Grand Island diocese, even if just “filling in” briefly for a brother priest who was sick or on vacation. And if so, the new Grand Island bishop should use his resources – parish bulletins, church websites, pulpit announcements and personal visits – to beg anyone with information or suspicions about him or them to step forward. It takes just seconds for a child molester to shove his tongue in a girl’s mouth or down a boy’s pants. So why not err on the side of caution and aggressively seek out anyone who might have been sexually assaulted by a priest, nun, brother, seminarian or other church employee and who may still be suffering in shame, silence and self-blame?
Often when a new bishop takes office, parents and parishioners assume he’ll do a better job of protecting kids than his predecessor did. That’s irresponsible. We must insist that bishops earn our trust by taking tangible steps to expose those who commit or conceal child sex crimes. And we must find the courage and strength to report anything we know or hear about clergy wrongdoing to the independent professionals in law enforcement, not the biased amateurs in church offices.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We were founded in 1988 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.
The Attorneys General of forty states have inquired about the grand jury process in Pennsylvania. Let's get statewide investigations going in fifty states.
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.