For immediate release: Thursday, March 13, 2014
Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 862 7688 home, 314 503 0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)
We applaud Philly prosecutors for pledging to re-try Fr. Andrew McCormick on child sex abuse charges. We're saddened but not surprised by the mistrial, because predator priests are often shrewd and well-educated and get top notch defense lawyers, while their victims, traumatized as kids, don't often have perfect recall or make the absolute most convincing witnesses.
Often, when a child molesting cleric is arrested or charged, others who saw, suspected or suffered his crimes choose to be silent, complacently assuming that now justice will be done and kids will be protected. While that approach is tempting, it's wrong. It's a violation of our moral and civic duty to safeguard the vulnerable.
So now more than ever, it's crucial that people step forward with knowledge about or suspicions of crimes or misdeeds by Fr. McCormick.
Here in St. Louis, a decade ago, Fr. Bryan Kuchar's criminal trial ended in a deadlocked jury. Prosecutors pledged to retry him. And in the next few months, they found a priest, a nun and a lay church employee who all acknowledged that Fr. Kuchar had admitted his crimes to them. Fr. Kuchar was convicted in a second trial.
We suspect the same thing can happen in this case. But it takes individuals who are courageous and compassionate and willing to buck the dangerous and irresponsible culture of self-protection in the church.
Let's hope that current and former archdiocesan employees who can shed light on Fr. McCormick will search their consciences, pick up their phones, and call police and prosecutors so that horrific crimes against kids will be prevented.
(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)