For immediate release: Tuesday, June 17, 2014
Statement by SNAP leader and abuse survivor Jerry Arnal (JerryArnal@yahoo.com)
Last August, the news media covered a SNAP news conference in front of the Youngstown diocese chancery office, where I told of being sexually abused by a teacher who, at the time, worked at St. Christine School (in Youngstown) and later worked at Cardinal Mooney High School (also in Youngstown). He was a teacher and an ordained deacon.
As a result of that event, SNAP was contacted by another victim of the same teacher/deacon. We are grateful to this person, who we'll call "Alex", for reaching out to us. That takes courage.
Like me, "Alex" is worried that this deacon may have hurt others or may hurt others in the future.
But Youngstown Catholic officials are still being secretive about this offender and refusing to identify him, violating their repeated promise to be open about clergy sex crimes.
In fact, in Youngstown Vindicator (1/25/13), for the third time in as many years, Bishop George Murray pledged transparency in abuse cases and claimed that they are "taking every action possible" to protect children from sexual abuse. But keeping a predator's name secret puts other kids in harm's way. It also exacerbates the harm to victims by leaving them invalidated.
By naming the perpetrator of known abuse, other victims who may have suffered abuse by the same person begin to feel free to come forward to seek help and understanding with their abuse and finally feeling as if they are not alone. Bishop Murray and his staff know this. Yet they refuse to act responsibly to both "out" and oust this deacon, so he can't hurt others and so that those he HAS hurt can better heal.
(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)