PA - Victims leaflet outside bishop's mass with accused priest
- Bishop joins controversial priest for “final mass”
- Child sex abuse victims hand fliers to church-goers
- Cleric investigated for Facebook postings with youngster
- Yet Catholic officials refuse to detail the alleged messages
- SNAP: “Parishioners and parents should know truth to protect their kids”
As church-goers enter a controversial priest’s last mass attended by Pittsburgh’s Catholic bishop - clergy sex abuse victims and supporters will hand out fliers urging top church officials to
-- provide more information to parishioners and the public about a just-resigned priest, and
-- aggressively seek out and help anyone who may have seen, suspected, or suffered any misconduct by him or other clerics.
They victims will also urge any other victims, witnesses or whistleblowers with any knowledge or suspicions of clergy sex crimes to contact secular officials, not church officials.
Wednesday, August 15th, 6:30 p.m.
Outside Saint James Catholic Church, 200 Walnut Street in Sewickley, PA
Two or three clergy sex abuse victims and supporters who belong to a nationwide a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org)
In May, Fr. Daniel A. Valentine temporarily resigned from St. James Catholic Church because of complaints of questionable Facebook postings with a minor. Pittsburgh Bishop David Zubik called them "a matter of poor judgment," but law enforcement officials deemed the postings inappropriate but not illegal. Fr. Valentine has now permanently resigned his post at St. James, effective today and is saying his farewell mass tonight.
Bishop Zubik plans to be there tonight.
In light of the allegations against Fr. Valentine, SNAP believes that is “reckless and callous” for Zubik to let the priest perform this special Mass. Also It’s slap in the face to victims of clergy abuse - and perhaps to the family who filed this complaint against Valentine, SNAP contends.
Worse, SNAP says, Zubik’s presence may deter others who might have seen, suspected or suffered wrongdoing by Valentine or other priests by essentially sending the signal that Zubik stands behind Valentine (At a bare minimum, SNAP feels, it’s too early to assume that Valentine is innocent).
Instead, SNAP wants Zubik to appeal from the pulpit for anyone who may know anything about clergy sexual misconduct to contact law enforcement officials, not church officials.
Another troubled priest, Fr. John P. Connor, worked at St. James. In 1984, Connor was arrested in Camden NJ for molesting a boy. He admitted his guilt and spent several months at a treatment center. Then Connor was quietly sent to St. James for three year and later to Philadelphia. In 2002, he was removed from ministry.
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.