NJ-Priest withdraws after sexual misconduct report, SNAP responds
For immediate release: August 6, 2013
Statement by SNAP director David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, SNAPclohessy@aol.com)
A man’s report of clergy sexual misconduct at a seminary is preventing a Catholic priest from taking over a New Jersey parish.
In June, Paterson Catholic diocese officials announced that Fr. Brando Ibarra would head St. Jude’s parish in Budd Lake. But after David Fagersten of Chicago complained to Mount Olive officials that Fr. Ibarra tried to rape him years ago, Fr. Ibarra has opted to not take the Budd Lake assignment.
Paterson’s bishop has pledged to be “open and transparent” in clergy sex cases. We hope he’ll start now with this one.
We applaud Mount Olive Mayor Rob Greenbaum for expressing his concern to church officials. And we deplore Paterson’s bishop for, in the words of one news account, “never directly addressing whether the diocese investigated the allegations."
Fr. Ibarra is blustering – through his lawyer – about possible legal action against Fagersten. We suspect that’s a calculated and desperate move to try and scare others who may have seen, suspected or suffered Fr. Ibarra’s misdeeds into keeping quiet. If so, we hope it doesn’t succeed.
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.