NY- Victims blast judge over sentence for predatory priest
For immediate release: Thursday, Oct. 9, 2014
Statement by David Clohessy of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314-566-9790 cell, firstname.lastname@example.org)
We are shocked that a New York judge is giving a dreadfully light sentence to a Catholic priest who pled guilty of child sex crimes. Kids are safest when child molesters are imprisoned. It’s not about punishment, it’s about prevention.
Yesterday, Judge James Hughes gave a fine and an order of protection to Fr. James Michael Taylor who pled guilty in August to one count of endangering the welfare of a minor, a misdemeanor.
According to WNYT TV, “the six-month-long relationship included inappropriate physical contact, along with phone calls, texts and photos.”
We applaud police and prosecutors for successfully pursuing this predator. (We disagree, however, with the prosecutor who said Fr. Taylor “failed.” His actions were deliberate. So he did not fail. He repeatedly chose to act in illegal, hurtful and inappropriate ways with a vulnerable teenaged girl.) Above all, however, we applaud the courageous family that cooperated with them to make others safer. To us, this sentence feels like a betrayal to all of them.
We’re glad Fr. Taylor must stay away from this family but we worry that he’ll hurt other families. He belongs in a remote, secure, independent treatment center, far away from parents and kids who have come to trust him.
We cannot say this often or loudly enough: this brave teen and her family heroes for exposing wrongdoing and protecting others. Though they have a long, hard road ahead, we are confident that this outcome will help them in their recovery.
We hope and believe this outcome will prod others who have been hurt by ministers, priests, nuns, deacons, seminarians and other church employees to get help, come forward, expose wrongdoers and protect kids. But we are sorely disappointed that six months of abuse of a teen by a trusted priest results in a $1.000 fine and no jail time.
And we urge Albany area Catholic church officials and members - especially in Round Lake and in Schenectady - to aggressively seek out others who may have seen, suspected or suffered crimes by Fr. Taylor.
We strongly suspect that he has hurt others. Yet he walks free. So it’s crucial that anyone who may have knowledge or suspicions about other misdeeds - by Fr. Taylor or other predators – to contact law enforcement immediately.
(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.