NJ--Predator priest dies; Victims blast archbishop
For immediate release: Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2014
A predator priest, Fr. Gerald P. Ruane, has passed away. As best we can tell, Newark Archbishop John Myers kept this quiet, denying abuse victims months of comfort. Myers seems incapable of handling any part of the church’s on-going abuse and cover up crisis with honesty and compassion.
Fr. Ruane was accused in 2002 of abusing a boy in 1970s-1980s. A second accuser also stepped forward. Archdiocesan staff “investigated” and found deemed Fr. Ruane “credibly accused.”
Myers claims to have suspended Fr. Ruane but apparently told no one (or at least few people). So in 2005, Fr. Ruane was still celebrating mass in public, until exposed by the Newark Star-Ledger, in violation of the US bishops’ conference abuse policy. That’s when his name was finally publicly released as a credibly accused child molester. (See BishopAccountability.org for more information.)
We have heard from one of Fr. Ruane’s victims, Michael Iatesta, who stumbled across news of the priest’s passing by chance this week. A statement from Michael is below.
It would have taken Myers minutes to approve and have his public relations team send out a news release about Fr. Ruane’s death. That would have brought relief to those who worried, until now, that Fr. Ruane might still be hurting children.
We hope this predator’s passing will bring some comfort to those whose lives he devastated. We also hope that someday, Myers might opt for sensitivity over self-serving secrecy. And we hope that anyone who was hurt by any Newark priest, nun, seminarian or other archdiocesan staff will find the courage to speak up, get help, expose predators, protect kids, deter cover ups and start healing.
Statement by Michael Iatesta, abused as a youngster by Fr. Ruane:
"As I was looking for my mom's obituary to send to family and friends I accidentally came across this notification. How ironic it was, in so many ways, that the priest who sexually and emotionally abused me as a young boy was laid out (August, 2015) at the same funeral home just a few months before my mom. In his obituary he was described as one who lived a life devoted to God and served God's people with great dignity. I know for certain my mom lived a more saintly life and was always selfless in her actions and in her heart-felt service to others. She is resting in peace now knowing that the man she bestowed her trust upon when I was grieving my father’s death could no longer hurt/abuse or take advantage of any other vulnerable young children. She spoke and wrote to me on countless occasions about the guilt she had not knowing therefore not reporting his inappropriate actions. But as a woman of great faith she was able to forgive him for his sins as she taught us through her own actions, faith and devotion that love and forgiveness is what would ultimately bring us all closer to God and eternal happiness. She was a dedicated Catholic who saw everyone as God sees them and touched the lives of countless people in countless ways. She was in a true sense "priestly" and" charismatic'" unlike Ruane who selfishly used and exerted his priestly duties for his own alternative motives."
(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), Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003 cell, bdorris@SNAPnetwork.org), Mark Crawford, SNAP New Jersey Director (732-632-7687, email@example.com)
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.