PA--Victims urge action on predator priest/therapist
For immediate release: Thursday, July 16
Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 503 0003, bdorris@SNAPnetwork.org)
A suspended, twice-accused predator priest is now a therapist. Shame on Catholic officials in Camden and Philadelphia for doing almost nothing to protect kids from him and warn parents about him.
Despite decades of devastation to families and repeated church pledges to reform, bishops continue, at best, doing the absolute bare minimum in clergy sex abuse and cover up cases.
They protect their careers and reputations by suspending predator priests. But they refuse to protect the public by warning them about predator priests.
We see this all the time. Two quick examples:
---Last week, it was revealed that a credibly accused Oblate priest, Fr. Michael Charland, is now a therapist in the Twin Cities.
(He also worked in Minnesota, Missouri, Wisconsin, Illinois, Texas, Mississippi and Canada.)
---A Catholic school teacher, Tom Hodgman, is a professor today at Adrian College in Michigan, despite admitting that he molested two girls and is accused of molesting at least one more. (His former employer, a Catholic high school, had to pay $1.6 million to Joelle Casteix who was repeatedly sexually violated by Hodgman when she was a youngster.)
Camden church officials did and are doing very little to protect kids from Fr. Igle. And what little they did, they did late and under duress. Notice the timeline:
--In 2000, Catholic officials suspended Fr. Igle from active ministry over an allegation of sex abuse.
--Catholic officials kept this move secret from law enforcement for two years.
--Not until 2011 did they tell New Jersey regulators about two abuse reports against Fr. Igle, both
of which, church officials admit, are credible.
--And allegedly they ever told Fr. Igle about a second allegation or that the first allegation was deemed credible.
The Inquirer story raised a troubling questions: “Where have the accused priests gone? And who bears the responsibility, if any, of monitoring them?”
Most suspended predator priests, we firmly believe, now live or work, unsupervised, among unsuspecting and uninformed families, colleagues and neighbors. A tiny percentage are in prison or on sex offender registries. A tiny percentage live in Catholic facilities and are allegedly supervised by their peers. And a small percentage have been defrocked. But most still enjoy easy access to kids.
And the responsibility of monitoring them, we firmly believe, lies with Catholic officials who recruited, educated, trained, ordained and transferred them while hiding their crimes so that most criminal prosecution is impossible. In other words, Catholic officials themselves are the main reason most predator priests still walk free. Had Catholic officials acted responsibly, most predator priests would be behind bars.
So Catholic officials have a moral and civic duty to house, treat and closely monitor predator priests in independent, remote, professionally-run facilities. And they have an obligation to use their vast resources – church websites, parish bulletins, pulpit announcements and public relations staff – to at least warn the public about these dangerous clerics, their whereabouts and their histories
State officials are also obviously at fault here. They should explain why they renewed Fr. Igle’s license and should do everything possible to revoke it as quickly as possible.
Finally, shame on Fr. Ilge’s boss, Marion Lindblad-Goldberg of the Philadelphia Child and Family Therapy Training Center. She says she believes he’s innocent so she helps him gain access to more vulnerable kids. Fr. Ilge’s Catholic supervisors have deemed him too dangerous to work in a parish but a therapist deems him no risk at all. Shame on her. We urge clients at the Center to consider going elsewhere. We urge any non-profits or agencies that work with or fund the Center to end their partnerships. To make kids’ safer, those who endanger kids must feel harsh consequences for their recklessness.
We hope every single person who saw, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes or cover ups – in Camden, Philly and elsewhere, whether by Fr. Ilge or another predator – will find the courage to call police, expose wrongdoers, protect kids, deter cover ups and start healing.
And we call on Philly Archbishop Charles Chaput and Camden Bishop Dennis Sullivan to put notices in every single church bulletin this Sunday urging their flock to stay away from Fr. Igle and to seek out others who have information or suspicions about his crimes. We believe it’s possible to prosecute him or those who helped hide his crimes, if there’s an aggressive outreach effort by Catholic church officials and church members. It’s time for them to stop talking about children’s safety and actually take proven steps to ensure children’s safety.
(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)
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.