OH--Steubenville Catholic seminarian arrested on child sex charge
For immediate release: Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016
A Catholic seminarian studying to be a Steubenville priest has been arrested in San Diego on child sex charges.
Joel H. Wright had been attending a seminary in Columbus Ohio.
We fear Wright may have hurt kids in Vermont or Ohio. So it’s crucial that church officials in both states use church websites, parish bulletins and pulpit announcement to beg anyone who may have information or suspicions about him to call police. Specifically, it’s crucial that Steubenville church officials do this kind of outreach.
All too often, in cases like this, Catholic officials pretend to be powerless. They aren’t. They can actively help law enforcement and aggressively seek out others who may have been wounded and are still trapped in silence, shame and self-blame. That’s what truly caring shepherds would do.
We hope every single person who saw, suspected or suffered crimes by or cover ups by priests, nuns, seminarians, brothers or bishops will find the strength to call police, expose wrongdoers and protect kids.
Father John Allen, with the Pontifical College Josephinum says Wright became a former seminarian when he left Friday without authorization, and is no longer a student or a member of his diocese in Steubenville. He also said on behalf of the administration "We are shocked, saddened, and truly sickened by the intent of the alleged actions. We have zero tolerance for any type of misconduct, most especially that which would endanger children. The seminary is eager to help with the investigation."
The Diocese of Steubenville issued the following statement.
"Joel Wright was a first year pre-theology student at the Pontifical College Josephinum, Columbus, Ohio.
Wright was discerning ordination to the priesthood for the Diocese of Steubenville.
Immediately upon learning of the allegations against Wright, Diocese of Steubenville Bishop Jeffrey M. Monforton suspended Wright from the studies."
(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)
Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, firstname.lastname@example.org,SNAPclohessy@aol.com), Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003 cell, bdorris@SNAPnetwork.org), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747, email@example.com)
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.