PA--Victims seek Scranton bishop’s help with ex-priest wanting parole
For immediate release: Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2016
Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, 314 645 5915 home, email@example.com
A former priest who was convicted of child sex crimes in the Scranton diocese is up for parole. We hope he’s kept in prison. We call on Scranton’s top Catholic official, Bishop Joseph Bambera, to aggressively reach out to anyone who may have information or suspicions about his crimes.
And we hope this news prompts others who may have seen, suspected or suffered his crimes to call police so he might be charged with and convicted on other offenses and be kept away from kids even longer.
In March 2008, Steven Wolpert pled guilty to involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, a felony, with an eight year old in 2006 and 2007 in Hawley Borough, PA. He was sentenced in June 2008 to nine to 18 years in prison.
Kids will be safest if Wolpert serves his entire sentence of 18 years behind bars.
Also, Wolpert testified in 2008 that he allowed kids to sleep naked with him. We fear he has more victims, so we urge anyone who may have knowledge of or suspicions about him to find the courage to come forward and contact law enforcement no matter how long ago it happened.
Wolpert worked at Mount St. Alphonsus Seminary in Esopus NY and Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Brooklyn NY (1987-2008) before he retired.
As best we can tell, Wolpert never had a formal church assignment in the Scranton diocese. But he molested in the Scranton diocese and very likely used his status as a priest to ingratiate himself into eastern Pennsylvania families.
All too often, when child molesters are caught, their supervisors and colleagues clam up. But if kids are to be safer, everyone who saw, suspected or suffered child sex crimes must call law enforcement immediately. Those who hire or work with predators must do all they can to find others who have been assaulted and beg them to call law enforcement. This is especially true of Catholic bishops, who recruit, educate, ordain, hire, train and often transfer and cover up for predator priests. These bishops can’t wash their hands of these pedophiles just because they’ve been sent somewhere else or have moved somewhere else.
We hope that no one in the Catholic hierarchy in PA or NY ignored or concealed Wolpert’s crimes. But we also hope police and prosecutors have investigated or will closely investigate this possibility. We hope that officials Scranton Catholic officials will find the courage to do what’s right – search for and help anyone else who is in pain because of Wolpert.
No matter what lawmakers or church officials do or don’t do, we urge every single person who saw, suspected or suffered child sex crimes and cover ups in Catholic churches or institutions – especially in New York – to protect kids by calling police, get help by calling therapists, expose wrongdoers by calling attorneys, and be comforted 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)
Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, firstname.lastname@example.org), Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003 cell, bdorris@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.