PA--Victims applaud federal probe of Catholic officials
For immediate release: Friday, April 1, 2016
We’re grateful that a US attorney in Pennsylvania is talking about using RICO laws against Catholic officials.
This law, known as RICO, the Racketeering Influence and Corruption Organization Act, usually applies to criminal organizations. But we believe it can and should be used against bishops and other church staff who repeatedly endanger kids, deceive parishioners, move predators, hide evidence and refuse to call law enforcement about known and suspected clergy child sex crimes and cover ups.
We agree with U.S. Attorney David Hickton who said that people have “a hollow sense that there is justice that has not been dispensed” in clergy sex abuse and cover up cases. That “sense” is based on reality. Despite more than 6,400 accused child molesting US Catholic clerics, only two US Catholic officials have been convicted for concealing their crimes.
We urge others in law enforcement to consider RICO and other charges – endangering kids, obstructing justice, destroying evidence, intimidating victims, threatening whistleblowers and failure to report abuse – against current and former Catholic officials who put their comfort and careers ahead of the safety of innocent kids and vulnerable adults.
And we urge every single person who saw, suspected or suffered child sex crimes and cover ups in Catholic churches or institutions – especially in Altoona– to protect kids by calling police, get help by calling therapists, expose wrongdoers by calling journalists, get justice by calling attorneys, and get comfort by calling support groups like ours. This is how kids will be safer, adults will recover, criminals will be prosecuted, cover ups will be deterred and the truth will surface.
(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)
U.S. Attorney: Clergy Accused Of Sexual Abuse Could Face Consequences Under Civil RICO Statute
March 31, 2016 9:57 PM By Andy Sheehan
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The grand jury report sent shockwaves through the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese with revelations that 50 priests and religious leaders allegedly sexually abused hundreds of child victims.
But because of the statute of limitations, no criminal charges were filed.
“It leaves people with a hollow sense that there is justice that has not been dispensed or justice denied,” said U.S. Attorney David Hickton.
But now, Hickton says a federal investigation may go further than state prosecutors in seeking justice.
He tells KDKA that his office may address . . .
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.
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.