OH - Groups Want Cincinnati Bishop to Speak Up About Controversial Priest
- Parole Revocation Hearing Set For This Thursday
- Pilarczyk Urged To Break His Silence About Cleric’s Behavior Since Conviction
Two groups concerned about the clergy sex abuse crisis are asking Cincinnati's Catholic Archbishop to speak out against one of his own priests. Leaders of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests [SNAP] and Voice of the Faithful [VOTF] are writing Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk urging him to attend Father Thomas Kuhn’s probation revocation hearing and publicly insist that Kuhn accept the restrictions placed upon him, and pledge to aggressively seek Kuhn's permanent removal from the priesthood.
They also want the prelate to closely monitor Kuhn’s whereabouts and activity and insist that Kuhn promptly deliver the court-mandated apologies and admissions that he was at fault, not the youngsters he hurt. Kuhn was convicted in June 2004 to one count of public indecency for masturbation in front of a minor and ten counts of giving alcohol to minors.
This Thursday at 8:30 am in Montgomery County Common Pleas court, Judge Mary Katherine Huffman will consider sending Kuhn to jail for allegedly breaking his probation condition. When Kuhn keeps hurting his victims – by not apologizing, by going back to schools where there are youngsters – Pilarczyk, as Kuhn’s boss, has a moral duty to publicly discipline Kuhn,” said Christy SNAP’s Cincinnati director. “Otherwise, a dangerous man makes a mockery of church authorities, and others engaged in sexual misconduct learn that there are few consequences for their misdeeds, even if they get caught.”
“We strongly suspect that Kuhn has broken his restrictions in other ways, but some Catholics and church employees are too fearful to report him” said Mike Knellinger Dayton, VOTF spokesman. “In the days ahead, we hope they will examine their consciences, pick up the phone, and do what’s right.” He added that some parishioners, school officials and church staffers who suspected abuse or misbehavior in the past have kept silent. “Their inability or refusal to speak up may have led to more crimes against children… I pray that’s no longer happening,” said Knellinger.
A copy of the SNAP/VOTF letter to Archbishop, sent via fax and e-mail, is below:
January 10, 2005
Most Rev. Daniel E. Pilarczyk
Archbishop of Cincinnati
100 East Eighth Street
Cincinnati, OH 45202
Dear Archbishop Pilarczyk:
Father Thomas Kuhn is facing a hearing to revoke his probation this Thursday at 8:30 am in Montgomery County Common Pleas court. The revocation action was requested by Kuhn’s probation officer as a result of his apparent violation of the terms of his probation as set forth last July 21.
Kuhn has been the epicenter of upheaval for the Church, schools, community and most importantly, the youngsters whom he victimized. Kuhn and his attorney continue to cause turmoil by skirting or ignoring his probation terms, and by quibbling with the court over semantics and the wording of statements. It reached the point this past week where the editorial staff of the Dayton Daily News felt compelled to admonish Kuhn and his high priced attorney for continuing to drag on the fight.
His actions are problematic for several reasons:
First, they rub salt into the already deep wounds of those whom he has victimized.
Second, they continue to bring frustration and shame to devout Catholics who feel that Kuhn represents the worst elements of clergy misbehavior.
And third, Kuhn's deeds lead Catholics to doubt your sincerity about dealing with the problem of clergy sex abuse. After all, Father Thomas Kuhn remains a diocesan priest sworn to obey you. Yet you apparently choose to remain silent in the face of his obstreperous and harmful actions, doing little to "rein him in" or chastise him.
The fact is that the man entered a “no contest” plea and was convicted of crimes against minors. Included is the “public indecency” charge… the polite way of describing his crime of masturbating while fixing his gaze on a young male, emotionally damaging the youngster for life.
Voice of the Faithful [VOTF] and Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests [SNAP] now call upon you as Kuhn’s spiritual leader and employer to intervene.
We urge that you:
· Attend the probation revocation hearing and publicly insist that Kuhn accept the restrictions placed upon him.
· Publicly pledge to aggressively seek Kuhn's permanent removal from the priesthood.
· Closely monitor Kuhn’s whereabouts and activity
· Insist that Kuhn promptly deliver the court-mandated apologies and admissions that he was at fault, not the youngsters he hurt.
Let us remember that it is our children who were the most harmed by this man’s criminal and reckless actions. The legal system has spoken. It is now time for you to step up. In 2003 you told some Catholics that you had to stay silent until after Kuhn’s trial. The trial was over more than six months ago and it is time for you to deliver on your promise. It is for the well being of the Catholics of this Archdiocese, the community in general and most importantly our children that you make public your opinion and intentions on this matter.
Michael H. Knellinger
Chairperson, Voice of the Faithful – Dayton Affiliate
Leader, SNAP Cincinnati
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
For more information:
Mike Knellinger of Dayton – Chair, Dayton Voice of the Faithful 937-470-3489
Christy Miller of Cincinnati – Leader SNAP Cincinnati 513-383-2198