PA- Three more Pittsburgh child molesting clerics exposed
For immediate release: Wednesday, May 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)
Three more credibly accused child molesting clerics have been publicly exposed for the first time thanks to the courage of victims. We applaud these brave men and women for stepping forward and beg them to contact secular authorities, not church figures.
There are at least two key lessons here.
First, times are slowly changing. It's somewhat less difficult these days for victims to expose predators. So we encourage anyone who was hurt by clerics – no matter how long ago it happened – to speak up so that the truth can be known, kids can be protected and healing can really happen.
Second, there are obviously many child molesting clerics who have yet to be publicly exposed. So we again prod Catholic officials – as we do nearly every day and have done nearly every day for a quarter century – to go beyond the bare minimum and aggressively use their resources and bully pulpits and websites and bulletins and newspapers to beg those who saw, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes to speak up.
It's irresponsible for Catholic officials to passively sit back and wait for the phone to ring. Pittsburgh's bishop should personally visit every single parish where a proven, admitted and credibly accused priest, nun, seminarian or church employee worked. The bishops should clearly and emphatically beg victims, witnesses and whistleblowers to break their silence by calling police and prosecutors. Terse, carefully crafted three sentence notices tucked far back in a diocesan newspaper or parish bulletin don't cut it.
(And Bishop Zubik should start by reaching out – publicly, personally and persistently - to victims of Brother Bernard Hartman, who faces pending criminal child sex charges in Australia.)
Finally, let's remember two things.
First, let's remember how this cascade of revelations began. It began after we prodded Pittsburgh's bishop to seek out others who were hurt by Brother Hartman. We do not believe Pittsburgh Catholic officials who claim that they only recently learned about Hartman's trial. Nor do we believe them when they claim they had no information about a predator priest who was arrested, convicted and reported on in the mainstream media back in the 1980s.
Second, let's remember the suffering these wounded individuals have endured and likely are still enduring. They need and deserve our gratitude, praise and support. Their strength is peeling back decades of denial and secrecy. Their courage is inspiring others who suffer in silence to speak up. Their bravery is making kids safer.
(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)
Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, SNAPclohessy@aol.com), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com), Judy Block Jones (636-433-2511, SNAPjudy@gmail.com), Fran Samber (717-514-9660, firstname.lastname@example.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.