PA- Scranton priest arrested, victims respond
For immediate release: Friday, April 4, 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 Scranton priest, Fr. Philip Altavilla, has been arrested for giving alcohol to a minor and assaulting her. We are grateful for this brave victim for having the courage to report to police. More children will be safe because of her bravery.
We hope, although it is unlikely, that this was an isolated incidence. Predators rarely attack only once. It’s not enough for Bishop Joseph Bambera to simply suspend this priest and express anger. What children and victims need now is action.
Bambera should aggressively seek out any other people who may have been hurt, using his bully pulpit and parish bulletins. He should personally go to each parish where Fr. Altavilla worked and beg victims, witnesses and whistleblowers to speak up and call police.
We hope that anyone who saw suspected or suffered abuse will contact law enforcement.
(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.