PA - Predator priest arrested, SNAP urges Scranton bishop to do outreach
It is ironic that while America's bishops pat themselves on the back for their alleged clergey sex reforms, another arrest of a priest for serial sexual abuse hits the news. We hope that as the bishops leave Atlanta and return to their home dioceses, they see this story as a sobering reminder of how far church officials really do have to go.
We are grateful to the police for apprehending Fr. Thomas Shoback and preventing him from abusing any more kids. The fact that he is currently facing more than 30 charges is indicative of the lack of oversight and care by church officials at the Diocese of Scranton.
Shoback abused kids on church grounds and in the rectory. It is hard to imagine, therefore, that no other employee or parishioner saw his crimes and failed to report them. We hope that this is not the case, but we expect it is.
We urge anyone who saw, suspected, or suffered crimes by Shoback to come forward immediately to the Pennsylvania State Police. Bishop Bambera should also do everything he can to help law enforcement. Issuing a short statement urging people to “pray for healing” does nothing. Instead, he should use all the resources available to him (including the diocesan website and newspaper) to reach out to others who may have been hurt by Shoback or any other employee of the Diocese of Scranton.
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.