- Pastor raises $$ for accused predator
- Cleric was suspended six months ago
- But he's still listed on church's website
- And parish bulletin tells how to donate to him
- Groups to Cardinal: "Stop this callousness & intimidation"
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will publicly urge Boston’s top Catholic officials to:
--remove a suspended accused priest’s name from a parish website
--insist that the pastor there stop using church resources to raise money for him,
--apologize for this “insensitive and intimidating move, “and
--train church staff and members about how to respond appropriately when clergy child sex allegations surface.
Outside Sacred Heart Parish, 169 Cummins Highway (corner of Brown Ave) in Roslindale, MA
Thursday, March 29 at 1pm
Advocates and child sex abuse victims who belong to two Boston-based groups (BishopAccountability.org and STTOP) and two national groups (NSAC, National Survivors Advocates Coalition, and SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests), including a Missouri man who is SNAP’s executive director
Four groups are urging Boston Cardinal Sean O'Malley to stop a Roslindale pastor from publicly raising money for an accused and suspended, alleged predator priest who was recently removed from his post.
On March 17-18, Monsignor Frank Kelley, pastor of Sacred Heart parish in Roslindale MA, published a notice in his church bulletin urging parishioners to donate to a legal defense fund for Fr. John M. Mendicoa, who the archdiocese suspended because of child sex abuse allegations in August 2011. Mendicoa is also still listed as associate pastor on the parish website and in the bulletin.
The pastor's overt advocacy for his colleague will silence potential whistleblowers, the groups say. "It is incredibly difficult even in a welcoming environment for a victim to come forward," said David Clohessy, national executive director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. “But when the victim's community seems to be supporting the accused cleric -- and when even the pastor champions the accused -- the victim feels terribly isolated and intimidated.”
The groups also say it is inappropriate for Monsignor Kelley to be using church resources to advocate for an accused priest. In part, they say such actions deter other victims, witnesses and whistleblowers from speaking up.
"If the cardinal is committed to healing and renewal -- as he constantly vows he is -- he must instruct his pastor to immediately stop this misuse of church resources," said Paul Kellen of Medford MA, New England director of the National Survivors Advocates Coalition.
In addition, the cardinal should release documents and information related to the allegations against Mendicoa, said Anne Barrett Doyle, co-director of BishopAccountability.org, the Waltham-based public archive that documents the abuse crisis. The archdiocese's 8/14/2011 news release said only that the priest had been placed on administrative leave as a result of receiving a report "of sexual abuse of a child ... alleged to have occurred in the 1980s." No information has been released since then.
"What kind of investigation has the archdiocese done? When will it be completed? Has the archdiocese known of any other alleged misconduct by this priest? The public deserves more information, especially if the pastor is running a public fundraising campaign on the priest's behalf," Doyle said.
Cardinal O'Malley's silence is part of a bigger pattern of "false transparency," the groups say. In August 2011, the cardinal released a list of accused priests, but did not release one "new" accused priest name; he conceded to omitting the names of more than 90 archdiocesan priests, simply because their names were not yet public; and he refused to include the names of more than 70 accused religious order priests who had worked in archdiocesan parishes and schools. [See: Many Alleged Abusers Left off Church List, by Michael Rezendes, Boston Globe, 11/20/2011]
In addition to Mendicoa, the accused priests who have staffed the Sacred Heart/St. Andrew communities (the parishes merged in 2000) include Revs. John Geoghan, Anthony Laurano, Gerard Creighton, Leon Beauvais, and Richard Johnson.
Paul Kellen, National Survivors Advocates Coalition: 781-526-5878; David Clohessy, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests: 314-566-9790, SNAPclohessy@aol.com; Anne Barrett Doyle, BishopAccountability.org: 781-439-5208, firstname.lastname@example.org; Ruth Moore, STTOP (Speak Truth To Power): 781-264-6519