NY - Victims Seek Investigation of Canadian Priest
For immediate release:
Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2004
For more information:
David Cerulli of New York City, SNAP Board Member, 917-757-1791 cell
David Clohessy of St. Louis, SNAP National Director, 314-566-9790 cell, 314-645-5915
Canadian Sex Offender Living in New York Archdiocese
Group Wants Community Notified and Outreach to Possible Victims
A support group for clergy sex abuse victims is writing New York's Catholic bishop urging him to investigate a Catholic cleric who is a sex offender and living in upstate New York.
According to yesterday's Dallas Morning News, a convicted child molester is living "at a Christian Brothers residence about 100 miles north of New York City." The man, Ronald Justin Lasik, is a former parochial school teacher at a Canadian orphanage who, the judge in his trial noted, showed "a lack of remorse for sexually assaulting and beating seven boys in the 1950s." The judge also rejected a bid for leniency because of his age and sentenced him to 10 ½ years in prison “more than any of the orphanage's other workers.'
Leaders of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, are asking Cardinal Edward M. Egan to look into the matter and determine whether church officials in New York knew about Lasik's past. They also want Lasik to be monitored and want Cardinal Egan to visit the parishes around Lasik's Christian Brothers residence in order to urge "anyone who witnessed, suspected or experienced abuse to contact law enforcement." In addition, to "notify those living in and around West Park, NY that a convicted child molester is residing in their community."
In a year-long investigation, The Dallas Morning News has found that more than 200 known, admitted, or suspected abusive Catholic clerics have quietly moved across national borders, often on the run from the law.
Lasik was deported from his home country after serving one-third of his prison sentence for sexual abuse. He is now a registered sex offender living at a residence for Christian Brothers in the town of West Park on the Hudson River in Ulster County. He faces no standard post-prison requirements, such as living in a halfway house or meeting with a parole officer.
"It is a travesty and very dangerous situation that a convicted sex offender is residing in a small upstate New York town, apparently without the knowledge of those living in the community," said David Clohessy of St. Louis, SNAP's National Director. "This situation creates very grave public safety concerns for children living in West Park, NY," Clohessy said.
SNAP, is the nation's oldest and largest support group for victims of clergy sexual abuse with support groups in over 60 cities nation wide.
A copy of SNAP letter to Cardinal Egan, sent today by fax and e-mail, is below:
December 8, 2004
Dear Cardinal Egan:
We are alarmed at a news story indicating that Ronald Justin Lasik, a convicted ex-teacher at a horrific Canadian orphanage, is apparently living in your diocese. He is now a registered sex offender reported to be living at a residence for Christian Brothers in the town of West Park, NY in Ulster County.
At best, someone in your diocese did not question or check the background of a man once associated with the scandal-ridden Mt. Cashel orphanage.
At worst, someone in your diocese knew about and kept secret Lasik's background.
Either scenario is very upsetting. We can't help but wonder if there are other known, admitted or convicted sexually abusive clerics who have moved into the New York Archdiocese.
For the safety of children and the reassurance of your flock, we believe you should:
- investigate this matter immediately,
- make your findings known promptly, and
- visit parishes around the Christian Brothers residence in order to urge anyone who witnessed, suspected or experienced abuse to contact law enforcement,
- notify those living in and around West Park, NY that a convicted child molester is residing in their community.
Given Lasik's criminal behavior and the incorrigibility of child molesters, we obviously feel he should be monitored. You know that molesters rarely stop and that advanced age alone is no cure for a deeply rooted sexual compulsion. It would be naieve to assume he hasn't molested kids in or around West Park, NY. It would likewise be dangerous to think he's safe now.
We look forward to hearing from you soon.
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.