OR--Priest fled the US during police investigation
Group to leaflet at Catholic church
They challenge archbishop on accused cleric
Priest fled the US during police investigation
SNAP: “Church officials must do aggressive outreach”
Staff must also warn families abroad about wrongdoer, victims say
As parishioners leave mass with Portland’s archbishop, two leaders of a support group for clergy sex abuse victims will hand out fliers. The leaflets urge church goers to
--seek out others who saw, suspected or suffered misdeeds or crimes by a priest fleeing the law, and
--question former church members about the cleric and urge them to call law enforcement.
The fliers also urge Portland Catholic officials to
--use church resources to aggressively reach out to anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered the cleric’s alleged crimes,
--write their Philippine colleagues and urge them to keep the priest away from children, and
---promise that the next time a priest, nun, seminarian, brother or other church employee is accused of or suspected of sexual misdeeds, church supervisors will insist that his or her passport be turned over to the archbishop, to prevent the accused from fleeing overseas.
Sunday, Aug. 22 at 11:00 a.m.
Outside St. Francis Catholic Church, 15651 SW Oregon St. in Sherwood, OR (503-625-6185)
Two members of an international support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org), including a Portland woman who is the organization’s Oregon director
This weekend, Portland Archbishop Alexander Sample will be at St. Francis, talking about Fr. Ysrael Bien who has fled the US and returned to the Philippines. Sherwood police have issued an arrest warrant for Fr. Bien in connection with a hidden camera he apparently bought and installed in a parish bathroom.
For the safety of parishioners, SNAP wants Sample to write his colleagues in the Philippines begging them to keep Fr. Bien away from kids and out of parishes.
The group also wants Sample to “aggressively urge anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered crimes or cover ups by Fr. Bien to contact law enforcement.” If more victims, witnesses or whistleblowers step forward, SNAP says, Fr. Bien may be charged with more crimes which will increase the chances that he’ll be extradited, convicted and imprisoned, which makes everyone safer and deters similar crimes and cover ups in the future.
SNAP also contends that Sample should have yanked Fr. Bien’s passport when this crime was reported. Or Sample should have acted decisively when it was clear that Fr. Bien lied to parishioners, by telling them he had contacted police when in fact he had not.
Some church members or staff who may have seen, suspected or suffered” crimes or misdeeds by Fr. Bien may have quit the parish in frustration or fear, SNAP says. So the organization is appealing to church-goers to contact former members or employees and ask them to share any information or suspicions they may have with law enforcement.
Finally, to help law enforcement and reassure local Catholics, the group wants Sample to disclose all church facilities where Fr. Bien spent time.
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.