PA -- Catholic Diocese of Erie releases names of accused priests, laypeople; victims group responds
Statement by Melanie Jula Sakoda, Volunteer Secretary of SNAP’s Board of Directors (925-708-6175, firstname.lastname@example.org)
We are always grateful when a diocese releases the names of accused priests. We are doubly grateful in this case, since Bishop Lawrence Persico has also released the names of accused laypeople, which we believe is a first.
However, we must be blunt: Bishop Persico has been in charge of the Erie Diocese since 2012. We find it hard to believe that this is not a public relations move in response to the imminent release of the grand jury investigation into how Erie and five other Catholic dioceses handled allegations of sexual abuse. If Bishop Persico had truly cared about helping victims, he would have released the names years ago.
We will never know how many children have been put at risk because the Erie Diocese concealed the names on this list until today. We will never know how many were harmed because the Church chose to protect itself instead of innocent young lives.
Bishop Persico has promised that more names will be forthcoming. We hope he will keep his promise. We also hope that he will include a list of where each of these people worked, as survivor James Faluszczak has suggested.
In the meantime, we urge anyone who has been victimized in the Erie Diocese or elsewhere to protect children by calling police, to get help by calling therapists, and to receive comfort by calling support groups like ours.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 25,000 supporters. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
Contacts - Judy Jones ( 636-433-2511, SNAPjudy@gmail.com), Tim Lennon, (415-312-5820, tlennon@SNAPnetwork.org), Becky Ianni (703-801-6044, SNAPVirginia@cox.net)
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.
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.