OR--Group challenges archbishop on abuse

OR--Group challenges archbishop on abuse

Group challenges archbishop on abuse

A twice-accused coach is still on the job

He was fired years ago for credible allegations

Central Catholic principal has kept this hidden

SNAP: “Archdiocesan officials should oust them both

And they should “aggressively seek out to other victims witnesses & whistleblowers

Organization also wants “user-friendly” list of predators’ names on church websites

What:

Holding signs and children’s photos at a sidewalk news conference, two leaders of a support group for clergy sex abuse victims will prod Portland’s top Catholic official to suspend two staff at the only archdiocesan high school. One is a coach who was fired once for child sex abuse allegations and twice faced criminal child sex abuse charges. The other is the principal who has apparently kept silent about the coach’s past.

The group also wants Portland’s archbishop to use church resources to

-- Aggressively seek out others who may have seen, suspected or suffered the coach’s alleged crimes, and

-- permanently post on his church websites – in an easily searchable format - the names of all proven, admitted and credibly accused child molesting clerics.   

When:

Today, November 20, at 2:15 p.m.

Where:

On the sidewalk outside Central Catholic School, 2401 SE Stark Street in Portland OR

Who:

Two members of an international support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org), including a Missouri man who is the organization’s long time director. (He and his brothers were molested as a child by a priest. One of them grew up to become a priest and molested children himself.)

Why:

1 - Today’s Wilamette Week reports that Patrick Jay Wallace is a coach with the state’s number one high school football team despite having been fired once over – and charged twice with –crimes relating to his alleged abuse of a teenaged student. He works at Central Catholic under President John Harrington who, ironically, was the man who fired Wallace from another school in 1997.

At a bare minimum, SNAP believes this is “reckless, callous and deceitful” and wants both men suspended – Wallace for the risk he poses to children and Harrington for violating the church’s abuse policy which mandates “openness and transparency” in child sex cases. The group asks “Why take chances with children’s safety?”

SNAP also wants Portland Archbishop Alexander Sample to aggressively urge “anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered crimes or cover ups” by school staff to contact law enforcement. 

2 - For the safely of innocent kids and vulnerable adults, SNAP wants Sample to permanently post on the archdiocesan and parish websites the names of all proven, admitted and credibly accused child molesting clerics who have lived or worked in the Portland area. Over the past 12 years, roughly 30 bishops in the US have done this (almost always when facing harsh public criticism for proven or admitted cover ups.)

This is the “bare minimum” bishops should do, SNAP says, to “protect the vulnerable and heal the wounded” especially since bishops “recruit, educate, ordain, train, transfer and shield predator priests” and then often “cut them loose when they’re caught molesting kids but refuse to adequately warn the police, prosecutors or the public about them.” It is a “simple, inexpensive, common sense way to safeguard kids,” SNAP says.

According to a Boston-based independent research group called BishopAccountabilty.org, there are 93 publicly accused Portland area Catholic clerics. SNAP notes that the actual number of area pedophile priests is likely much higher because BishopAccountabilty.org lists only those clerics against whom allegations have been lodged in the public domain in civil lawsuits, criminal prosecution or news accounts.

But archdiocesan officials admit, as part of their bankruptcy proceedings, a total of 133 Portland area clerics, nuns, seminarians, and lay employees are accused of abuse. (Source: Claims in Court Far Outnumber Church Listing, by Ashbel S. Green and Steve Woodward, The Oregonian, 11/12/2006 - http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news5/2006_11_12_Green_ClaimsIn.htm)

In 2004, however, archdiocesan officials reported only 37 such clerics. (Source: Archbishop releases local data on misconduct cases, 2/21/2004)

http://www.bishop-accountability.org/usccb/natureandscope/dioceses/portlandor.htm

Some abuse documents on the archdiocesan website. These were released per order of the bankruptcy court in 2007-2009. But it doesn’t include photos, work histories and the current/recent whereabouts of these clerics. And they are not easily searchable.

http://www.bishop-accountability.org/AtAGlance/diocesan_and_order_lists.htm#Portland_OR

http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news2007/03_04/2007_04_27_CatholicSentinel_PeopleIn.htm

In 2002, Baltimore became the first US diocese to disclose predators’ names. A good current example is the Philadelphia archdiocese: http://archphila.org/protection/Updates/update_main.htm .

Here’s a list of US bishops who have posted predator priests’ names:

http://www.bishop-accountability.org/AtAGlance/diocesan_and_order_lists.htm

Contact

David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, davidgclohessy@gmail.com), Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)

 

    

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