PA--Ex-Pittsburgh cleric sentenced for abuse
For immediate release: Friday, July 24
Statement by Judy Jones of St. Louis, Midwest Associate Midwest Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 974 5003, firstname.lastname@example.org)
A Catholic cleric who abused in Pittsburgh has been sentenced for other child sex crimes in Australia. Now, Pittsburgh church officials should insist that his religious order publicly disclose other child molesting clerics. And they should do more to find and help others he’s hurt.
Brother Bernard Hartman, a member of the St. Louis-based Marianists, will serve three years in jail for assaulting girls in Australia. He also faces a credible accusation of molesting a Pittsburgh child.
Hartman is one of nine clerics accused of molesting kids at a Pittsburgh school and one of at least 31 US Marianists who are accused of molesting 157 victims.
Catholic officials are still hiding the names of most of those nine who hurt kids at North Catholic High School (which recently became Cardinal Wuerl High School).
We strongly suspect there are other boys and girls sexually victimized by Hartman and other Marianists – in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Missouri and Australia; and we suspect that some of them are still suffering in shame, silence and self-blame.
That’s why Bishop David Zubik should reach out aggressively to anyone who may have experienced, witnessed or suspected abuse by Marianists, a notoriously secretive Catholic religious order. He should personally visit every parish where they worked to ask Catholics to ask their loved ones if they have been harmed by clergy. Church officials recruited, educated, hired, ordained, supervised, transferred and shielded these predators for decades. Their obligation to warn parents about and protect children from these men does not end if or when the criminals are jailed for a short time.
We beg anyone who saw, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes or cover ups in Pittsburgh – by Marianists or others – to call police, protect kids, expose wrongdoers and deter cover ups.
(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.