PA- Priest with abuse allegations promoted, SNAP responds
For immediate release: Friday, March 14, 2014
Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, SNAPclohessy@aol.com)
A Catholic priest who has been accused of molesting boys in Pennsylvania has been promoted to two higher positions with the church in Paraguay. We are extremely disturbed by this.
Ironically, a week ago Pope Francis whined that Catholic officials are “singled out” and “picked on” in abuse cases. This case shows why the church hierarchy deserves more scrutiny, not less, in child sex cases: because it continues to knowingly put kids in harm's way.
Fr. Carlos Urrutigoity was transferred from Pennsylvania to the South American country by former Scranton Bishop Joseph Martino.
A therapist said of Fr. Urrutigoity: "In view of the credible allegation from (a victim), his admitted practice of sleeping with boys and young men, (he) should be removed from active ministry; his faculties should be revoked; he should be asked to live privately."
Instead, a credibly accused child molesting cleric was sent to live abroad among unsuspecting families by retired Scranton Bishop Joseph Martino and is being ignored by current Scranton Bishop Joseph Bambara.
Could Catholic officials possibly act more recklessly and callously?
Transferring predator priests to different diocese or countries is dreadfully irresponsible but sadly, nothing new. It is a dangerous and self-serving practice that, just last month, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child demanded that Catholic officials stop doing.
Transferring child molesting clerics puts unsuspecting families and children at great risk.
We hope that Bishop Bambara will step up, show compassion, exercise leadership, and do everything he possibly can to prod those who saw, suspected or suffered Fr. Urrutigoity's crimes to call police, and warn Paraguay Catholic officials about this threat to children's safety.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 25 years and have more than 15,000 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.