OR--Victims blast Portland archbishop over predator priest
For immediate release: Wednesday, Aug. 19
Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, firstname.lastname@example.org)
If an Oregon Catholic priest wanted by the law has fled overseas, we suspect his church supervisors told or encouraged him to do so.
We’re saddened but not surprised by the news that Father Ysrael Bien of Sherwood may have left the country. Over the past 26 years, we’ve seen dozens or hundreds of cases like this in which accused sex offender priests have left the US, escaping law enforcement, while their Catholic colleagues and supervisors claim to be “shocked.”
(Just today, an admitted Newark predator priest says two fellow church staff told him to escape to Ecuador, where he’s now a school teacher. See Newark Star Ledger story about Fr. Manuel Gallo Espinoza: http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2015/08/exclusive_priest_who_fled_country_admits_sex_with.html
We’re glad that charges have at last been filed against Fr. Bien. We join the police in asking anyone with any information about abuse or cover up to come forward at once.
In the future, Archbishop Alexander Samples and other Catholic Church officials should insist that accused predator priests turn over their passports to their bishops so there’s no chance they can flee overseas.
We hope that law enforcement will investigate whether individual church officials helped Fr. Bien escape. If so, we hope they will be charged. That’s the only real way to deter cover ups in the Catholic church in the present and future.
A prosecutor recently called the St. Paul archdiocese’s claim to monitor accused priests "a sham." We strongly suspect this is true of church “monitoring” claims all across the US.
"We were falsely led to believe that the Archdiocese had an effective program in place" to monitor priests, that prosecutor, John Choi, said. He’s one of tens of thousands who’ve been misled by Catholic officials.
So for the safety of kids and the prevention of more crimes, we strongly urge anyone with information or suspicions about Fr. Bien call police, expose wrongdoing, protect kids 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.