NM--Victims blast NM bishop for delays and omissions
For immediate release: Friday, Feb. 13
Statement by Joelle Casteix of Newport Beach CA, western regional director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (949 322 7434, firstname.lastname@example.org)
When it comes to kids’ safety, there’s no excuse for incomplete or inaccurate information, especially when the potential threat involves alleged clergy sex crimes and cover ups.
So for public safety, Gallup Bishop James Wall should immediately
-- honor his promise answers and answer questions about Fr. Ravi Kiran’s sudden departure from St. Anthony Mission months ago,
-- add more proven, admitted and credibly accused predator priests to his diocesan list,
-- reverse his decision and post photographs of the credibly accused abusers on church websites, and
-- aggressively seek out others who saw, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes and cover ups in Gallup and beg hem to call law enforcement.
Wall will claim his bankruptcy notices meet this request. He’s wrong. Bankruptcy notices are about a financial deadline. They’re not about prosecuting criminals. They’re not about keeping predators away from kids. They’re not about real justice, healing, prevention and truth telling.
Catholics and citizens need and deserve more honesty from Wall than he’s providing. Parishioners should donate elsewhere until their bishop
It’s important to be generous. But we hope New Mexico Catholics will give to organizations that prevent child sex crimes, not organizations that conceal them.
The claim by one of Wall’s public relations staffers (made to the Gallup Independent newspaper) that “Sometimes it takes a while to dig through the files” is both laughable and disingenuous. At some point, we predict, Suzanne Hammons, will look back with shame and regret that she made such a ridiculous and irresponsible claim and was part of a calculated decision to delay disclosing important information that could have helped keep innocent kids safe and helped wounded victims heal.
Time and time again, we’re told that the church is a “universal” institution and that rules and practices must be consistent across dioceses. Yet often one bishop selfishly and recklessly ignores another bishop’s finding that a priest is a predator. That’s basically what Wall is doing by refusing to name four credibly accused child molesting clerics who apparently hurt kids outside of New Mexico.
It’s been 30 years since the first US predator priest attracted national headlines. America’s bishops have had tons of time to get this right. And they’ve sadly had tons of experience too.
Still, most of them keep putting their own comfort, careers and reputations above the safety of kids, the healing of victims and the telling of truth.
We beg every single current and former church member and staffer who saw, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes or cover ups in New Mexico to speak up. It’s hard, but it’s crucial, that victims, witnesses and whistleblowers find the strength and courage needed to expose those who commit and conceal heinous crimes against children. That’s the only way the church will be safer, kids will be protected and real justice and healing can happen.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We were founded in 1988 and have 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)
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.