Victims blast 2 new church moves
They're worried about principal who was selected
And they're angry about new diocesan chancellor
Group has also heard from another victim of deacon
But bishop refuses to admit several allegations have been made
Prelate's secrecy continues to endanger kids, SNAP charges
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, advocates for clergy sex abuse victims will blast two new appointments by Youngstown Catholic officials. They are;
--the new chancellor for the diocese, and
--the new principal for John F. Kennedy High School.
The victims will also
--announce they've heard from another victim of a child molesting deacon who was accused last year
-- church officials need to identify and suspend the deacon, and
--prod church officials to post on their website the names of proven, admitted and credibly accused child molesting clerics.
Tuesday, June 17, 1:30 p.m.
Outside of the Youngstown Catholic diocese headquarters, 144 W. Wood Street (corner of Elm) in Youngstown
Three members of a self help group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org), including a Youngstown area abuse victim who spoke up last year for the first time ever about his own painful experiences at the hands of a local cleric
SNAP will announce they've heard from another victim of a child molesting deacon who church officials refuse to identify or suspend. The deacon was publicly accused of abuse for the first time last year.
The group is also expressing its dismay at two recent appointments to high-ranking positions in the diocese.
In recent weeks, Youngstown Catholic officials have announced that Msgr. John Zuraw will be the new chancellor (replacing Nancy Yuhasz) and that next month, Joseph Kenneally will become the new principal of John F. Kennedy High School (where a notorious child molesting cleric, Brother Stephen Baker, worked).
SNAP is upset with both moves. The group believes it's rarely good for victims when a male cleric replaces a lay woman in a top church job.
It's particularly distressing that Msgr. Zuraw has been promoted, SNAP says. As head of the diocese's deacon program, Msgr. Zuraw oversees the deacon who was accused last August of molesting a Youngstown area man. The victim is Jerry Arnal.
“Next to the bishop, Msgr. Zuraw is the one person in the entire diocese who should have taken the allegations against the deacon most seriously,” said David Clohessy of SNAP. “And because he's cooperating in Bishop Murray's secrecy and recklessness, he wins a promotion. That's just wrong.”
“When Catholic officials ignore or reward wrongdoing like ignoring credible child sex abuse reports they are basically encouraging others to ignore abuse reports,” said SNAP's Judy Jones. “And then victims, witnesses and whistleblowers feel helpless and stay silent, because they see that little is changing in the church with abuse.”
Kenneally's appointment is problematic, SNAP says, because the school should have chosen an outsider who would be more likely to act responsibly and work hard to find and help others who may have seen, suspected or suffered child sex crimes by Brother Baker or other present or former school employees.
Baker committed suicide in 2013. More than 100 men in five states (Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, Virginia and Pennsylvania) have reported being molested by Baker.
Roughly 30 U.S. bishops have posted, on their diocesan websites, the names of proven, admitted and credibly accused child molesting clerics. SNAP believes this is the bare minimum bishops should do to protect kids.
“If a priest, brother, bishop or nun is too dangerous to keep on the job in a parish, then they're too dangerous to let them quietly go elsewhere and get jobs in day care centers or schools or libraries,” said Clohessy. “Bishops recruit, educate, ordain, hire, train, transfer and protect pedophiles. So the least they can do, when they suspend pedophiles, is put them on a website so it's easier for parents to find out about the offenders and better protect their own kids.”
Finally, SNAP is begging every current and former Catholic church employee or member to contact police immediately with any knowledge or suspicions they may have about pedophile priests no matter how long ago
“Kids are safest when secular authorities not church figures are given information about known or suspected child sex crimes,” said Clohessy.
Judy Block Jones (314-974-5003, SNAPjudy@gmail.com), David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, SNAPclohessy@aol.com), Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)