New bishop for Orange County is named, SNAP reponds
Today, Bishop Kevin Vann of the Diocese of Fort Worth has been promoted to lead the Diocese of Orange County, CA, replacing outgoing Bishop Tod Brown. Neither of these men have been friends to victims; while Brown actively perpetuated cover-ups and allowed abusive priests to remain in ministry, Vann refused to remove abusive priests or to apologize to victims for the cover-ups perpetrated in his diocese.
In 2006, Bishop Vann called a press conference to apologize to abuse victims for their suffering, but refused to acknowledge that cover-ups had gone on or to take steps to ensure that future cover-ups would not take place. Similarly, only last year, repeated his refusal to acknowledge or apologize for cover-ups when a case against Msgr. James Reilly was settled out of court.
In many cases, the covering-up of abuse can be worse than the actual abuse itself, because it allows a predator continued access and chances to turn more innocent kids into victims of sex abuse. The fact that Bishop Vann has repeatedly refused to acknowledge the pain caused by these cover-ups is telling.
It appears that this move, sadly, is garbage-in garbage-out. We would have hoped that the Vatican would have had the sense to promote a cleric that came from a diocese with a cleaner record or who had actually taken steps to oust predators instead of concealing them.
It is important that victims, witnesses, and whistleblowers do not get discouraged or complacent with this news. We urge anyone who may have seen, suspected, or suffered crimes in either diocese to make a report to secular, not church, authorities. Remaining vigilant will be the best way to protect kids in the Diocese of Orange County.
SNAP will be Representing Clergy Abuse Survivors in Rome!
We are taking the fight to Rome and are standing up for all survivors on a world stage! From February 19-25, Board President Tim Lennon, Seattle Leader Mary Dispenza, Los Angeles Leader Esther Hatfield Miller and Austin Leader Carol Midboe will be traveling to Rome for Pope Francis' Papal Abuse Summit.
If you are a member of the media and looking to get in touch with these survivors while in Rome, click here for our media advisory and contact information. If you are interested in connecting with a survivor in the US from your area of coverage, please contact one of the SNAP leaders in the US listed below:
- East Coast/DC: Becky Ianni (SNAPvirginia@cox.net, 703-801-6044)
- Midwest/Chicago: Zach Hiner (firstname.lastname@example.org, 517-974-9009)
- Midwest/St. Louis: David Clohessy (email@example.com, 314314-566-9790)
- West Coast / San Francisco: Melanie Sakoda (firstname.lastname@example.org, 925-708-6175)
If you are looking to help spread the word about the importance of this summit and for survivors to be heard, add your voice to the conversation on social media using the hashtag #PBC2019. Be sure to follow SNAP on twitter and Facebook and share our posts, add your comments, and let the world know that we are watching!Learn More