NY--NYC’s Dolan continues abuse secrecy, victims say
For immediate release: Tuesday, April 5, 2016
Today, more evidence emerges showing that Cardinal Timothy Dolan is among the most secretive US Catholic officials when it comes to the safety of children.
Last week, the website of Dolan’s archdiocesan newspaper quietly posted a short notice that Fr. Keith Fennessy has been suspended because of child pornography.
As best we can tell, Dolan never
--told anyone when Fr. Fennessy was first accused,
--told anyone when church officials deemed the accusations against Fr. Fennessy credible, or
--told anyone about the outcome of the criminal investigation into Fr.Fennessy,
--told anyone where Fr. Fennessy is now living, or
--begged other victims, witnesses or whistleblowers to come forward and call police.
In other words, for months or years, Dolan has known Fr. Fennessy was accused of child pornography. Yet he kept silent, giving Fr. Fennessy years to destroy evidence, intimidate victims, threaten whistleblowers, discredit witnesses, fabricate alibis, flee the country and hurt more kids. Dolan also gave Fr. Fennessy at least ten months (and likely longer) to ingratiate himself into more trusting families who Dolan kept in the dark about the priest’s crimes.
Shame on him. This is a clear violation of Dolan’s repeated pledges to be “open and transparent” about clergy sex crimes. It’s also a violation, we believe, of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops abuse policy – the so-called Charter for the Protection of Children – which mandates such “openness and transparency.”
Many bishops send a news release to secular media when a priest is accused of child sex crimes. Many send another news release when those accusations are deemed “credible.” As best we can tell, Dolan refused to do this, instead opting – as he has time and time again – for secrecy.
And even now, Dolan posts nothing about these serious, credible allegations on his archdiocesan website.
We urge every single person who saw, suspected or suffered child sex crimes and cover ups in Catholic churches or institutions in the New York Archdiocese to protect kids by calling police, get help by calling therapists, expose wrongdoers by calling journalists, get justice by calling attorneys, and get comfort by calling support groups like ours. This is how kids will be safer, adults will recover, criminals will be prosecuted, cover ups will be deterred and the truth will surface.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has 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)
Father Fennessy Barred From Priestly Ministry
Father Keith Fennessy, who was discovered with pornographic material on his computer that violated the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, may not return to priestly ministry.
Law enforcement officials and the archdiocesan review board both examined the details of the allegation. As a result of its investigation, the review board recommended earlier this month that Father Fennessy no longer be permitted to serve as a priest. Cardinal Dolan accepted the board’s recommendation.
Father Fennessy had most recently served as pastor of St. Columba’s parish in Manhattan from 2011 until June 15, 2015, when he was removed from ministry after . . .
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.