NJ- Letters to Mr. Notzon and Cardinal Dolan: A call for action against Newark Archbishop John Myers

NJ- Letters to Mr. Notzon and Cardinal Dolan: A call for action against Newark Archbishop John Myers

May 1, 2013

Mr. Al Notzon III

National Review Board

US Conference of Catholic Bishops

3211 Fourth Street

Washington, DC 20017

Dear Mr. Notzon:

We are child sex abuse victims who belong to a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org). Our mission is to protect the vulnerable and heal the wounded.

Because of the Fr. Michael C. Fugee situation and other similarly reckless acts, we believe that Newark Archbishop John Myers should resign. He has repeatedly put – and continues to put - an admitted child molester around kids.

But even if that happens, that’s not enough. Kids will keep being hurt until bishops who enable child sex crimes are punished.

So we are seeking action from you, in your role as chairman of the National Lay Review Board.

Specifically, we urge you to promptly, publicly and harshly discipline Myers for putting kids in harm’s way by letting an admitted child molesting cleric be around children (even after having signed a legal agreement with prosecutors to keep him away from youngsters).

We suspect that you will likely split hairs and deny responsibility. But we believe, as chairman of the bishop’s own review board you have both a moral and a civil obligation to speak out both publicly and harshly about this reckless behavior.

Until church officials who endanger kids suffer consequences, church officials will continue to endanger kids. (As you know, virtually no bishop – no matter how carelessly or deceitfully they’ve handled child sex cases – has been punished by the church hierarchy.)

We need not lay out “chapter and verse” here about Fr. Fugee’s crimes and Archbishop Myers’ wrongdoing. A few minutes reading the Star Ledger or BishopAccountability.org provides ample evidence that Archbishop Myers has violated the letter and spirit of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.

Such reading will reveal that even now, Archbishop Myers is unrepentant and does not deny that he quietly let Fr. Fugee go on trips to Canada with kids, hear confessions from kids, attend retreats with kids. He may well soon join Kansas City Bishop Robert Finn as the second US Catholic prelate found guilty in criminal court of endangering children.

So please honor the church’s abuse policy. Live up to your pledges to put kids’ safety first. Be a leader and demand that Archbishop Myers be publicly disciplined. Stop pretending to be powerless or uninvolved. Heed the words of Pope Benedict to “do everything possible” to heal abuse victims. Better still, do everything possible to prevent more abuse, by punishing Archbishop Myers.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Mark Crawford, New Jersey SNAP director (732 632 7687 mecrawf@comcast.net)

David Clohessy, SNAP executive director (314-566-9790 cell, SNAPclohessy@aol.com)

 

 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Dear Cardinal Dolan:

We are child sex abuse victims who belong to a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org). Our mission is to protect the vulnerable and heal the wounded.

Because of the Fr. Michael C. Fugee situation and other similarly reckless acts, we believe that Newark Archbishop John Myers should resign. He has repeatedly put – and continues to put - an admitted child molester around kids.

But even if that happens, that’s not enough. Kids will keep being hurt until bishops who enable child sex crimes are punished.

So we are seeking action from you, in your role as America’s highest ranking Catholic official - the president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Specifically, we urge you to promptly, publicly and harshly discipline Myers for putting kids in harm’s way by letting an admitted child molesting cleric be around children (even after having signed a legal agreement with prosecutors to keep him away from youngsters).

We suspect that you will likely split hairs and deny responsibility. But we believe, as USCCB president, you bar Myers from membership, attendance and committee assignments. And as America’s highest profile prelate, at a bare minimum, you undeniably have an enormous bully pulpit which you could and should use to denounce Myers and deter other church officials from acting irresponsibly in the future in child sex cases.

Finally, in November 2002, America’s bishops pledged to “fraternally correct” their brother bishops who mishandle child sex cases. For this reason too, you should speak up and act now.

And until church officials who endanger kids suffer consequences, church officials will continue to endanger kids. (As you know, virtually no bishop – no matter how carelessly or deceitfully they’ve handled child sex cases – has been punished by the church hierarchy.)

We need not lay out “chapter and verse” here about Fr. Fugee’s crimes and Archbishop Myers’ wrongdoing. A few minutes reading the Star Ledger or BishopAccountability.org provides ample evidence that Archbishop Myers has violated the letter and spirit of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.

Such reading will reveal that even now, Archbishop Myers is unrepentant and does not deny that he quietly let Fr. Fugee go on trips to Canada with kids, hear confessions from kids, attend retreats with kids. He may well soon join Kansas City Bishop Robert Finn as the second US Catholic prelate found guilty in criminal court of endangering children.

So please honor the church’s abuse policy. Live up to your pledges to put kids’ safety first. Be a leader and denounce and discipline Archbishop Myers. Stop pretending to be powerless or uninvolved. Heed the words of Pope Benedict who told bishops to “do everything possible” to heal abuse victims. Better still, do everything possible to prevent more abuse, by punishing Archbishop Myers.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Mark Crawford, New Jersey SNAP director (732 632 7687 mecrawf@comcast.net)

David Clohessy, SNAP executive director (314-566-9790 cell, SNAPclohessy@aol.com)

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  • commented 2013-05-01 14:16:18 -0500
    I feel for the people who are waiting for “anyone in the catholic church” to do “anything”, like is proposed in these letters, to the hierarachy. It is an impossible Hope! Christ says never to loose Hope. But to put your Hope(Blessed Hope) in the Devil is not a good idea that Jesus Christ would not approve of, unless you are the follower of the devil.
  • commented 2013-05-01 12:20:38 -0500
    Hi, Mark and David: Great letter to the “not-so-sainted-man-of-God,” Cardinal Dolan. Now let’s see if Cardinal Dolan will keep his commitment (and improve his image) that he made to the people of the United States! If not, maybe we could get the White House to intervene and make the Church as well as the good cardinal, Dolan, a little more accountable and transparent. Surely the Vatican has an empty desk in the Curia where Archbishop Myers can abide and do little harm, until it’s time for him to retire. Maybe he could even become Cardinal Law’s personal secretary. Surely there’s a place in the Church for him, but it’s obviously not as commander and chief of the Archdiocese of Newark.