NJ - Trenton bishop hid “sexting” by priest; SNAP responds
For immediate release: Monday, September 30, 2013
Statement by NJ SNAP director Mark Crawford (732-632-7687, firstname.lastname@example.org)
For months, Trenton’s Catholic bishop has kept hidden the fact that one of his priests sent 1,200 inappropriate sexual text messages to what he thought was a teenaged boy and had sexually harassed at least five teenagers and young men, some of whom were seminarians.
The bishop is irresponsible and disingenuous. His excuses ring hollow. His flock should be outraged.
And every single person who saw, suspected or suffered misdeeds by Fr. Riedlinger should call police, expose wrongdoing, deter cover ups, get help and protect others.
Regarding the Trenton diocese’s response to today’s Newark Star :edger story:
First, it’s reckless to keep clergy sexual misdeeds hidden and it’s deceitful to tell only one parish - out of 109 parishes – about Fr. Riedlinger’s sexual misdeeds,
Second, it’s hard to believe that this is the recent mass is the only time Fr. Riedlinger has appeared in public dressed like and acting like a priest in good standing. (“This is the only public Mass that Fr. Riedlinger has engaged in. . .”)
Third, it’s disingenuous to suggest (as Trenton’s bishop did in a statement on Fr. Riedlinger’s parish website) that only a priest can push a bishop in a wheelchair. (Anyone can do it. It needn’t be a priest). And it reckless and deceptive to let a priest who’s secretly been suspended for sexual misdeeds do it, especially while he wears a Roman collar.
Fourth, it’s an irresponsible cop-out to let an accused and sexually troubled priest determine his fate. (“Fr. Riedlinger has decided to leave. . .”)
Fifth, it’s sad that a bishop basically admits he would have kept secret about admitted clergy sexual misdeeds if not for the prospect of bad publicity. (“Determining that media coverage will impede his efforts to recover. . .”)
Again, to every current or former Trenton Catholic church employee or member: if you have knowledge or suspicions of Fr. Riedlinger’s wrongdoing, please come forward, speak up, protect others and start healing.
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.