- New diocesan whistleblower speaks
- He worked for four years at church HQ
- Man describes “sexually hostile workplace”
- Fired in June, he comes forward for first time now
- And he’s the 4th “insider” to recently blast diocese
- This much “breaking ranks” is “unprecedented,” SNAP says
- Group will also criticize bishop for picking “biased, bizarre shrink”
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, a former five year diocesan headquarters employee (along with a few clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters) will read a 700 word statement describing
--the “hostile work environment” and sexual harassment he suffered in the KC’s Catholic chancery office,
--the “offensive, sexually oriented material that was often open and obvious to any passer-by” in the diocese headquarters,
--the response of church supervisors to his concerns (“indifference, defense, protection and resentment” and threats of “losing my job”)
He will beg other diocesan and parish employees (current and past) to look hard at “the persons and mechanisms that contributed to the victimization of the most innocent.”
And clergy sex victims will blast KC’s bishop for choosing a “biased and bizarre” therapist to do a one-day “evaluation” of Fr. Shawn Ratigan.
TODAY, Thursday, Nov. 17 at 11:00 AM
Outside the Catholic diocesan chancery (headquarters), 20 West Ninth Street, Kansas City,
1. Larry Probst of Kansas City, who – until a few months ago – worked in the diocesan headquarters here (until he reported a co-worker’s alleged sexual misconduct and was let go). He’s speaking publicly for the first time.
2. Two-three clergy sex abuse victims who belong to a support group called SNAP, the Survivors network of those Abused by Priests (including a KC man who was abused by a priest who became a bishop and a Saint Louis woman who is the group’s long time outreach director)
Probst may take legal action for the distress he endured during his work for the diocese, especially starting in March of this year when he internally reported misdeeds. He believes prosecutors and the public “may grossly underestimate how widespread the sexual misdeeds and the cover up of those misdeeds are in the diocese” and “just how unhealthy the climate, the culture and the practices of this diocese are to this day.”
While on the church payroll, Probst admits that he “was skeptical, and even cynical, of the multitude of clergy abuse claims” but now apologizes “to the victims of abuse for my mindset that was reflective of the same mindset so prevalent in the church.”
He’s the fourth former church headquarters staffer to break ranks and speak out in recent months.
Last month, a woman who was the diocesan grant-writer (Margaret Mata) said she was fired after offering to help Finn address the abuse and cover up crisis. http://www.courthousenews.com/2011/10/14/40611.htm
Two weeks ago, a nun who was the diocesan “victims assistance coordinator” for four years (Sr. Jean Christensen), also spoke out against Finn. http://www.kmbc.com/r/29714778/detail.html
And in June, a former diocesan communications staffer (Pat O’Neill) blasted Finn over the Ratigan case. .
Probst will NOT take questions.
I would love to connect with other whistleblowers. I blew the whistle myself in St. Louis in 2008 when a religious order would not reign in a credibly accused priest/former president at the private, all-boys’ school where I worked. The archdiocese finally removed the priest’s faculties to minister at nearby parishes, but it was all too little and too late. The functionaries at the diocese washed their hands of helping me, the wicked whistleblower, by saying I had to deal with the priest’s religious order. Right—I’m going to address a corrupt, deceitful pack of wolves for redress!
Catholic whistleblowers need to unite and network for greater unity and strength. E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.