PA--Judge: Trial vs. Catholic officials will go forward; Victims respond
For immediate release: Wednesday, April 27, 2016
We’re grateful that the trial of three Pennsylvania Catholic officials who repeatedly ignored and hid child sex abuse reports against a cleric will go forward.
Church officials claimed they did nothing wrong because they sent Brother Stephen Baker to a doctor who essentially cleared him to stay on the job. We’re not buying it. We’re glad the judge didn’t either.
Catholic bureaucrats have made this claim about thousands of predators: “A doctor said he was ok.” But in most cases, bishops carefully pick devout Catholic doctors who will provide the “diagnosis” bishops seek. Or they give doctors inaccurate and inadequate information about the predator. Or they pick general practitioners who know little or nothing about sexual deviants. So it’s “garbage in, garbage out.”
Church officials often use these carefully-chosen professionals for “cover” to keep sexually troubled priests, nuns, brothers and seminarians in parishes and schools, and later feign shock when abuse reports surface.
We are saddened but not surprised that Franciscan officials didn’t tell principal William Rushin about Brother Baker’s crimes. And we hope that anyone with knowledge or suspicions of wrongdoing by Franciscans, especially Anthony Criscitelli, Giles Schinelli and Robert D’Aversa will speak up now.
No matter what lawmakers or church officials do or don’t do, we urge every single person who saw, suspected or suffered child sex crimes and cover ups in Catholic churches or institutions – especially in the Altoona area - to protect kids by calling police, get help by calling therapists, expose wrongdoers by calling law enforcement, get justice by calling attorneys, and be comforted by calling support groups like ours. This is how kids will be safer, adults will recover, criminals will be prosecuted, cover ups will be deterred and the truth will surface.
(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.