NY--Archdiocese pays 3 men $250k each, maintains secrecy, and covers for abuser priest
For immediate release Monday, December 11, 2017
Three Hudson Valley men have bravely disclosed years of sexual abuse by a since-defrocked Catholic priest, Gennaro “Jerry” Gentile, leading the Archdiocese of New York to pay each man $250,000 in compensation.
We commend these men for coming forward. Doing so will likely help prevent child abuse, help others who have been or are being abused share their own accounts, and help hold those who commit or enable sexual abuse accountable for their actions.
We also commend the Westchester County prosecutors who went the extra mile and contacted these men, whose names remain anonymous, and provided them an opportunity to expose what happen to them as children and seek some form of long-overdue justice.
While Gentile is no longer an “active priest,” it is disturbing he could remain at-large and free from criminal investigation and prosecution given the gravity of the many accusations of heinous crimes made against him. We urge prosecutors in each jurisdiction in which he has lived to seek more facts, victims, and witnesses, as well as his whereabouts, so that the pursuit of justice can reach its full extent.
We hope anyone who has experienced, witnessed, or suspects abuse by Gentile or anyone else to contact law enforcement immediately.
Lastly, according to the Times Herald-Record article, there were complaints about Gentile as far back as 1971. The three individuals mentioned above claim abuse spanning from 1987-2000. There have been other complaints, as well, according to the article. Gentile was assigned to nine parishes in 32 years in the archdiocese. The archdiocese now refuses to disclose the number of other complaints against Gentile.
So, the looming question is this: Who in the archdiocese has been fired, punished, or investigated by civil authorities for the crime of child endangerment?
Paying out millions of dollars to survivors of clergy sexual assault is a cheap and easy cop-out without any real consequence to the individuals who have acted recklessly and criminally, causing many devastating effects of childhood sexual abuse. These archdiocesan payouts are no different than those by Congress, done with secrecy and anonymity on the part of the accused. As long as this process is allowed to continue, children will be at risk and abuse survivors will continue to unnecessarily carry the burdens of these crimes.
And the New York Archdiocese will have no business claiming to care about abuse victims or protecting children from future crimes.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 25,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested in all institutional settings, including churches, schools, clubs, and homes. 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.
The Attorneys General of forty states have inquired about the grand jury process in Pennsylvania. Let's get statewide investigations going in fifty states.
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.