NH- priest pleads guilty to theft; SNAP responds
For immediate release: Monday, Feb. 3
Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, SNAPclohessy@aol.com)
The long-time second-in-command of the New Hampshire Catholic diocese, Msgr. Edward Arsenault (he has not been defrocked), is pleading guilty to theft.
We are not surprised. But our hearts ache for New Hampshire clergy sex abuse victims and Catholics who have been betrayed and misled, time and time again, by Msgr. Arsenault and his colleagues and supervisors in clergy sex abuse and cover up cases.
Msgr. Arsenault has attacked victims, deceived parishioners and defended the indefensible.
He has repeatedly blamed media and others for the on-going abuse and cover up crisis. It was his wrongdoing that led New Hampshire's attorney general to investigate the diocese and insist on overseeing its handling of abuse cases for five years.
We hope New Hampshire's bishop will “come clean” about allegations that Msgr. Arsenault has been involved in an inappropriate sexual relationship with an adult. And we hope that anyone who has seen, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes in New Hampshire will report to secular officials, not church officials.
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.