NV--Credibly accused predator priest is now in Las Vegas
For immediate release: Thursday, Aug. 11, 2016
Predator priest from Michigan is now in NV
Earlier this year, Catholic officials disclosed allegation
They deemed child sex report involving girl “credible”
She now wants Las Vegas/Reno church staff to “warn others”
Retired cleric, now married, owns considerable property here
Victims group writes to two bishops: “Protect the vulnerable, heal the wounded”
A few months ago, Catholic officials in Michigan admitted that one of their former priests, who now lives in Henderson NV, likely molested a girl years ago. His victim and a support group are now calling on Nevada’s bishops to warn the public about him.
In March, Detroit Archbishop Allen Vigneron disclosed that his staff had deemed “credible” a child sex abuse report against Fr. Richard R. Lauinger. They also admit that they’ve kept secret about abuse charges made by two other women for 14 years.
One of his accusers is Judy Larson (PH here, firstname.lastname@example.org) who now lives in Salt Lake City, Utah. In January, 2016, she began writing Detroit church staff about the ex-priest.
“We applaud Judy for coming forward, contacting police, and pushing Catholic officials to be honest about this pedophile,” said David Clohessy of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. “But that’s not enough. He’s still around. So now, Nevada’s church hierarchy must warn parents, police, prosecutors, parishioners and the public about this potentially dangerous man.”
SNAP is writing to Las Vegas Bishop Joseph Pepe and Reno Bishop Randolph Calvo, urging them to use church bulletins, parish websites and pulpit announcements to alert “unsuspecting families and neighbors” about Lauinger.
A photo and more information about Lauinger is at BishopAccountability.org. He was reportedly removed from the priesthood in 1975.
“But a change of location or job title doesn’t ‘cure’ a predator,” said Barbara Dorris of SNAP. “He could be babysitting a neighbor’s kid tonight, giving a youngster a piano lesson tomorrow or taking a child to the movies this weekend. Church officials recruited, ordained, hired, trained and shuffled Lauinger around for years. They can’t just wash their hands of him and do nothing to safeguard others from him. It’s possible that Lauinger could still be prosecuted for child sex crimes. But that likely won’t happen unless church officials stop their self-serving secrecy and start doing real outreach.”
A copy of SNAP’s letter, sent today by email, is below:
Dear Bishop Pepe and Bishop Calvo:
We are victims of child sexual abuse who belong to an organization called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. One of us, Judy Larson, was raped by Father Richard R. Lauinger when she was only ten years old. Lauinger was a priest in Michigan, though he has been living in Henderson, Nevada, for many years. We are writing to you today because he has only recently been identified publicly as a predator.
In March, Detroit Archbishop Allen Vigneron disclosed that his staff had deemed “credible” a child sex abuse report against Lauinger made by Judy in January of this year. The Director of Communications for the archdiocese also revealed that Judy’s was not they only report on Lauinger the Church had received.
As Catholic hierarchs in this state, we believe it is now incumbent on you to warn parents, police, prosecutors, parishioners and the public about this potentially dangerous man. We beg you to report the findings from Detroit to local law enforcement and to the media. In addition, we want you to use every resource at your disposal, including church bulletins, parish websites and pulpit announcements, to alert unsuspecting families and neighbors who may have come into contact with Lauinger through one of your churches.
Please, you need to reach out to victims who may be suffering alone and in silence, thinking, as Judy did for many years, that no one will believe them if they speak up. You can also provide answers to families who are at a loss to understand seemingly inexplicable changes in the behavior of a beloved child.
For the safety of the vulnerable and healing of the wounded, we hope that we can count on you to do the right thing in this case.