OH--Victims blast sending accused priest home
Victims blast sending accused priest abroad
For immediate release: Monday, July 20
Toledo Catholic Bishop Daniel Thomas is sending a priest who has been accused of inappropriate acts with a child home to India. This is irresponsible. This solves nothing. In fact, this increases the chances of kids getting hurt.
Fr. Samuel Punnoor was caught having some kind of questionable, inappropriate physical contact with a child that didn't rise to the level of a crime. But it's unlikely this was a "one time" occurrence. In fact, we suspect that Fr. Punnoor HAS molested a child but hasn't been caught yet.
Regardless, Toledo's bishop should personally visit every parish where he worked, begging victims, witnesses & whistleblowers to call police. He should aggressively seek out – through pulpit announcements, church bulletins and parish websites across the whole diocese – anyone who may have
He should send letters to former parishioners and former parochial school students and staff (who may have quit in light of Fr. Punnoor’s misdeeds), prodding them to call law enforcement if they have any information that could help law enforcement.
Furthermore, he should put Fr. Punnoor in a remote, secure, independently-run treatment facility, at least for a few months, instead of throwing him on a plane home.
For more than two weeks, Toledo Catholic officials kept silent about the allegations against Fr. Punnoor.
Even now, they apparently refuse to give any details that might be helpful to parents, parishioners, police, prosecutors or the public. Shame on them.
Fr. Punnoor worked at Most Blessed Sacrament and Corpus Christi University parishes in Toledo, Central Catholic High School, Church of St. Patrick, Immaculate Conception Church (all in Toledo) and Saint Joseph parish in Maumee.
We urge every single person who may have seen, suspected or suffered crimes by Fr. Punnoor or cover ups by his church colleagues to seek help form independent sources: police, prosecutors, therapists or support groups like ours. We also urge them to protect kids, expose wrongdoing, and start healing.
(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)
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.