NJ--Newark archbishop hides abuse accusation for months; SNAP responds
For immediate release: Friday, Jan. 15, 2016
Again, Newark Catholic officials, including Archbishop John Myers, are knowingly putting kids in harm’s way by keeping credible accusations of child sex crimes from parishioners and the public.
In October, Fr. Michael "Mitch" Walters “left ministry” because of child sex abuse allegations. But violating common sense, common decency and the US Catholic bishops’ abuse policy, Myers kept silent about this. Shame on him, on his PR man Jim Goodness, and on every single Newark Catholic official unless they publicly denounce this irresponsible, hurtful and selfish silence by Myers.
In the three months since Fr. Walters’ removal, we can’t help but wonder how many victims he may have intimidated, how much evidence he may have destroyed, how many witnesses he may have threatened, how many whistleblowers he may have discredited, how many alibis he may have fabricated and how many other kids he may have abused.
Thanks to Archbishop Myers, Fr. Walters has had ample opportunity to do all this, especially since Myers hasn’t insisted that Fr. Walters go to a remote, secure, independent treatment center far away from New Jersey families whose trust he has won over decades of contact.
We hope every single person who saw, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes or cover ups in New Jersey to summon the strength to speak up. It’s crucial that police and prosecutors be told, no matter how small, old or seemingly insignificant the information or suspicions might be.
Myers and his staff – including Goodness – continue to endanger kids. So all the rest of us must double down on our efforts to protect them, even if it may mean jeopardizing church careers.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 20,000 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)
Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, firstname.lastname@example.org, SNAPclohessy@aol.com), Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003 cell, bdorris@SNAPnetwork.org), Mark Crawford of New Jersey, SNAP director New Jersey (732-632-7687, email@example.com)
Former altar boy says priest molested him in confessional
By Mark Mueller on January 15, 2016 at 12:33 PM
An assistant pastor at a South Orange church has been removed from ministry amid allegations he sexually assaulted two minors in the early 1980s, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Newark confirmed.
The Rev. Michael "Mitch" Walters is accused of molesting a 12-year-old boy at St. Cassian Church in Montclair in 1982 and a 13-year-old girl in 1982 and 1983. He has denied the accusations.
The Rev. Michael "Mitch" Walters, parochial vicar at Our Lady of Sorrows Church, also has given up . . .
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.