For immediate release: Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013
Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, SNAPclohessy@aol.com)
Here's why Bishop Murry should disclose the names and whereabouts of child molesting clerics:
-- Because that's what keeps kids safe. (Parents can protect their kids from child molesters if parents know who they are.)
-- Because just suspending an abuser from his job doesn't 'cure' him.
-- Because Murry has promised to be "open and transparent” in child sex cases.
-- Because the US bishops National Child Sex a Policy mandates “openness and transparency" in child sex cases
-- Because if Fr. Warner is no longer at a treatment center, then he's almost certainly living among unsuspecting families who are unaware of the child sex abuse allegations against him.
-- Because often, there can be no civil or criminal action against child molesting clerics because Catholic officials have kept accusations quiet until the statute of limitations has expired. (In these cases, since the justice system cannot take action, we believe it's even more important that Murry takes action, since that may be the only way the public may be warned and the truth may be revealed.)
Some have questioned whether HIPPA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) prevents Murry from revealing whether Fr. Warner is still at a treatment center. That’s silly. Catholic officials routinely reveal that their child molesting staffers have been sent to such centers. They can certainly reveal whether the child molesting clerics have since left those centers.
Finally, it's important to look exactly at what Bishop Murry's public relations team has said. They claim the accused deacon and teacher is "not working" in the diocese now.
That doesn't mean he's defrocked. We strongly suspect he hasn't been defrocked. (Only the Vatican can defrock a priest or deacon.) So he is very likely still on the payroll. He may have been suspended, but he's still a diocesan staffer. As such, we think it's especially important that Murry obey the US bishops abuse policy and honor his own promises and err on the side of public safety and disclose this man’s name.
To keep his name hidden at this point unfortunately casts doubt about decent, law-abiding Youngstown area deacons.
Here is a copy of the letter we sent this morning to Bishop Murry:
August 29, 2013
Dear Bishop Murry:
We are writing about three credibly accused child molesting clerics.
We want you to disclose their whereabouts, to reach out to their victims, to warn citizens and Catholic parishioners about them and reveal to citizens and Catholics in your own diocese the identity of the other credibly accused child molesting clerics.
In 2002, US Catholic bishops adopted a supposedly binding national child sex abuse charter mandating “openness and transparency” in child sex abuse cases. SNAP, however, believes that you as the Youngstown Bishop is violating that policy in two recent cases by your “on-going secrecy.”
1) You disclosed yesterday that a teacher and deacon no longer works for the diocese “in any capacity” but refused to say why. We suspect it is because that teacher/cleric faces child sex abuse allegations. In fact, we disclosed yesterday that the group has heard from one local man, Jerry Arnal, that he has been molested as a child by a Youngstown Catholic teacher/cleric. Months ago, we also received an anonymous letter that said the teacher/cleric was ousted recently from his post at Cardinal Mooney High School.
For the sake of public safety, and to honor your pledges of “openness, we want you to tell parents, parishioners and the public the name of the teacher/deacon, when and why the he was removed, whether he will ever return to work as a teacher or cleric again, and disclose the man’s whereabouts now.
2) We want you to reveal the whereabouts of Fr. John F. Warner, who resigned as pastor of Sts. Philip and James Parish in Canal Fulton in 2011 after an allegation was made that he abused a child years ago at St. Edward’s parish in Youngstown. (Your own church panel found the allegation credible.)
In 2011, Fr. Warner was sent to a treatment center. But as best we can tell, you have refused to disclose where Fr. Warner is now. we hope he’s still at a facility getting therapy and being kept away from kids (and not quietly living among unsuspecting families without any real supervision or restrictions).
3) If you insist on keeping your own flock “in the dark” about known and suspected abusers, we urge you to at least notify Catholics and citizens in Maryland and Michigan that Fr. John Hammer, an admitted molester, worked and lived in those states. We urge you to buy ads in secular and church newspapers in those states, to reach out to anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered Fr. Hammer’s crimes there, so that he might be prosecuted and so that they might get help.
If you can’t bring yourself to be as “open” as you have promised to be in Youngstown, perhaps you will take at least this small step forward in those two states, so that those hurt by Fr. Hammer might know that they are not alone.
We look forward to hearing from you.
Judy Jones of St. Louis, SNAP Midwest Associate Director, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 974 5003, SNAPjudy@gmail.com )
David Clohessy of St. Louis, SNAP Director, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, SNAPclohessy@aol.com )