OH-- Victims urge bishop to do outreach about predator
For immediate release: Thursday, March 3, 2016
Statement by Judy Jones, Associate Midwest Director of SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (636-433-2511, SNAPJudy@gmail.com)
At least one of the 50+ wrongdoers just exposed by Pennsylvania authorities attended a Columbus Catholic seminary (the same one recently-arrested seminarian Joel Wright attended). We urge Bishop Frederick Campbell to tell his flock about the predator and actively seek out and help anyone he may have hurt in Ohio.
The child molesting cleric is Msgr. Harold J. Burkhardt of the Altoona PA diocese. He worked at the Pontifical College of Josephinum in Columbus for almost a quarter century (between 1947 and 1971).
On Tuesday, Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane released a scathing 147 page grand jury report that detailed decades of abuse involving hundreds of children by Catholic officials. It exposed Msgr. Burkhardt as a predator for the first time. (Catholic officials knew of or suspected his crime long ago, however.)
That report says Msgr. Burkhardt "perpetrated sexual child abuse on a 9 year old boy." The victim also recalled "being fondled through his clothes and being forced to suck Burkhardt's penis." Also, "Burkhardt would pull down the victim’s pants and insert a finger into his anus."
The victim reported to the diocese in 2005. The diocese responded by hiring detectives to investigate the victim and did not take the matter to police.
https://www.scribd.com/fullscreen/301459233?access_key=key-InMLjnSSwX0reEaMjr7Z&allow_share=true&escape=false&view_mode=scroll (see page 27)
We predict Bishop Campbell, his staff, his priests and Josephinum officials will ignore this news. They shouldn’t. They should aggressively spread the word about Msgr. Burkhardt. They should beg his victims to step forward and get help. That’s the least they should do. But we doubt they’ll do anything.
So let us say now what Catholic officials should have said long about about this predator priest: We hope every single person who saw, suspected or suffered his crimes will speak up, expose wrongdoers and start healing.
And let us point out that the Pennsylvania Attorney General says her investigation into Altoona Catholic officials continues. So Campbell and his Josephinum colleagues have a second reason to do aggressive outreach – to help law enforcement officials get to the truth.
Msgr. Burkhardt died in 2000.
(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.