PA--Victims urge US Attny: No consent decree with church
For immediate release: Saturday, April 9, 2016
We urge a US attorney to NOT enter into any “consent decrees” with church officials and we applaud him for considering RICO charges against them.
Last week, U.S. Attorney David Hickton said “the ongoing investigation concerns whether diocesan officials engaged in a pattern of criminal activity that would fall under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, commonly referred to as RICO,” reported KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh.
He also talked of possible “injunctive relief," a court order, or “consent decree,” a voluntary agreement. In our experience, voluntary agreements with Catholic officials about clergy sex crimes and cover ups are always problematic. They often make promises to evade serious consequences but begin backsliding and undermining their pledges quickly but quietly.
Examples abound but were most clear perhaps in New Hampshire and Phoenix.
We urge Hickson to pursue court injunctions rather than consent decrees. And we urge anyone with information or suspicions to call him or others in law enforcement immediately.
No matter what secular 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 Pennsylvania – 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)
Feds May Seek Racketeering Suit for Clergy Abuse in Diocese
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS PITTSBURGH — Apr 3, 2016, 10:51 AM ET
A federal prosecutor may file a racketeering lawsuit against a Roman Catholic diocese where a state grand jury found two former bishops helped cover up the sexual abuse of hundreds of children by more than 50 clergy over a 40-year period.
The ongoing investigation of the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese grew out of . . .
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.