NH- Priest sentenced for theft; SNAP responds
For immediate release: Wednesday, April 23, 2014
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 being sentenced Wednesday, April 23 after pleading guilty to theft.
Most recently, Msgr. Arsenault was paid $170,000 to head St. Luke's Institute in Maryland, which has housed hundreds of predator priests over many years.
We hope he gets the longest sentence possible. That would be justice for each of the three groups he stole from – a family, a hospital and the Catholic faithful of New Hampshire.
A long sentence would show New Hampshire citizens that no one is above the law and would deter thefts and abuse of power by other officials in the future.
A short sentence would show New Hampshire citizens that Catholic officials continue to use their power to protect themselves and their colleagues, and that there are different standards for regular people and for those who claim to be religious figures.
A long sentence would also be some measure of justice for the dozens of victims who were sexually violated by New Hampshire priests who were quietly protected by Msgr. Arsenault and his Catholic colleagues for decades while they deceived parishioners, destroyed evidence, transferred predators, misled police, stonewalled prosecutors, intimidated witnesses, and discredited whistleblowers so they could protect their assets, reputations and clerical careers.
Our hearts ache for New Hampshire clergy sex abuse victims and Catholics who have been betrayed, time and time again, by Msgr. Arsenault and his colleagues and supervisors in clergy sex abuse and cover up cases.
Msgr. Arsenault has repeatedly defended the indefensible by denying, minimizing, mischaracterizing devastating crimes against children. He is a self-serving charlatan.
He has repeatedly blamed media and others for the on-going abuse and cover up crisis. It was his largely long-standing and severe 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.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 25 years and have more than 15,000 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.