NY--Victims blast new Rockville Centre bishop
For immediate release, December 9, 2016
Allentown’s bishop shouldn’t be promoted, especially not to Long Island which has suffered under a terrible bishop for years.
Just three months ago, Rockville Centre’s new bishop lied – or let one of his staff lie – to parishioners. They were told Fr. John Stephen Mraz stepped down because of “medical issues.” In fact, he’d been caught with child pornography. (He’s expected to plead guilty.)
Yet neither Bishop John O. Barres nor any of his staff were disciplined or even apologized for leading their flock.
Barres shouldn’t be promoted, especially not to Long Island which has suffered under a terrible bishop for years.
With a pending grand jury investigation into Pennsylvania Catholic officials, it seems odd and risky for Francis to promote Barres. For the sake of Long Island Catholics, parents and abuse victims, we hope more evidence doesn’t surface showing that Barres ignored or hid reports of child sex crimes.
The Rockville Centre diocese is one of just a few in the US where priests who are accused of molesting two children are still on the job (Among the others: Tulsa’s Fr. Paul Eichhoff and St. Louis’ Fr. Alex Anderson.) It’s the only diocese, as best we can tell, where a priest facing two pending civil child sex abuse and cover up lawsuits. He is Fr. Gregory Yacyshyn. For the safety of kids and the sake of his accusers, Bishop Barres should immediately suspend this credibly accused child molesting cleric. http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news2016/05_06/2016_05_26_SNAP_cardinalMust.htm
Six years ago, we urged Barres to do outreach in an abuse case. As best we can tell, he ignored us.
Regarding kids’ safety, Bishop William Murphy was among the very worst in the country. We hope Bishop Barres thoroughly “cleans house” in Rockville Centre and fires or demotes Murphy’s aides who either helped or did nothing while the boss concealed abuse reports.
No matter what church officials do or don’t do, we urge every single person who saw, suspected or suffered child sex crimes and cover ups in Catholic churches, schools or other institutions to protect kids by calling police, get help by calling therapists, expose wrongdoers by calling law enforcement, get justice by calling attorneys, and be comforted 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.
NOTE - Barres’ name also surfaces in the once-secret files of Delaware predator priests.
(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)
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.