NY- Priest on probation abuses again, SNAP responds
For immediate release: Tuesday, September 23, 2014
A New York priest, who has been on probation since 2008 for child sex crimes, has struck again. He's allegedly been caught abusing a six year old girl, who now has a sexually transmitted disease. Our hearts ache for this innocent girl who might never have been hurt had church officials acted responsibly.
Fr. Augusto Cortez, who is a member of the Vincentian religious order from Brooklyn, abused a 12 year old child in 2008. Vincentian officials should have immediately removed him to a remote and secure treatment facility so that he could not harm another child. Instead they allegedly wrote letters on Cortez’s behalf. It is deeply upsetting, although not surprising, that Cortex has abused another child, by exploiting the trust of an unsuspecting family.
According to news reports, after being arrested Cortez was released and has now disappeared.
We urge everyone to remain vigilant. Vincentian officials should immediately reach out to everyone who may have come in contact with Cortez and beg them to come forward and report what they know. They should use their websites, mailing lists, and bulletin boards to warn people about him.
Brooklyn's Bishop Nicholas Dimarzio should do the same. The Vincentians work in his diocese with his permission. He is responsible for the safety and well being of his flock. He must aggressively try to find others with knowledge or suspicions about Cortez' crimes.
We encourage anyone who saw, suspects, or suffered child sex crimes by Cortez, or any other church official, to immediately come forward, report what you know, and start healing.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 25 years 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.
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.