PA--SNAP: “Other PA bishops must act now”
For immediate release: Wednesday, March 2, 2016
For the safety of kids and the healing of victims, we call on all Pennsylvania bishops to quickly and thoroughly share the names of Altoona predator priests cited in the new grand jury report.
No priest stays in his home diocese forever. Virtually all priests cross diocesan boundaries often and help at churches where their clerical colleagues are sick or on vacation, when seminarians are ordained, when a bishop is installed and for dozens of other reasons.
So it’s likely that kids were abused or are at risk in dioceses near Altoona. And it’s callous and irresponsible for Harrisburg Bishop Ronald Gainer or Pittsburgh Bishop David Zubik or Erie Bishop Lawrence Persico to assume that none of the 50+ wrongdoers identified by the grand jury are not now in or has not ever hurt anyone in his diocese.
A cursory look at the new grand jury report confirms this: Fr. William A. Rosensteel abused a kid on a trip to Pittsburgh. Fr. William Crouse sodomized a boy in New Jersey. Fr. Mario Fabbri raped youngsters on trips to New York, Quebec and Montreal. Fr. David Arsenault assaulted a teenager in Washington DC. Fr. Francis McCaa was quietly sent to work in West Virginia. Fr. Robert J. Kelly was quietly transferred to work in Charleston, South Carolina. We suspect most Altoona predators also molested outside of Altoona.
An Altoona predator priest might be babysitting a relative’s children in Philadelphia tonight or be tutoring an inner city child this afternoon in Greensburg.
So get moving, Greensburg Bishop Edward Malesic, Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput, Allentown Bishop John Barres and every Pennsylvania bishop. Use diocesan websites, church bulletins, and pulpit announcements to warn your flock about living predator priests and educate them about deceased predator priests.
No more excuses, apologies, promises, reassurances or hair splitting. Your actions will show whether you care about kids’ safety or colleagues’ reputations.
(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.