KY -- Please help us protect kids!
WHO WE ARE
We are child sex abuse victims who belong to a self-help group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
WHY WE’RE HERE
We want to protect the vulnerable, heal the wounded, and expose the truth about clergy who commit and conceal child sex crimes.
WHAT WE WANT
We’re urging Lexington’s new Catholic bishop to aggressively warn his flock about two serial predator priests and post the names of all predator priests on church websites and in church bulletins. We also want anyone who saw, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes or cover ups in Lexington to step forward, get help, call police, expose wrongdoers, protect kids and start healing.
--Fr. Carroll Howlin faces at least four child sex abuse allegations, but now lives – and likely still ministers – among poverty-stricken families in McCreary County with no supervision. Recently-released church records show that prosecutors found the child sex allegations “credible” and “there was sufficient evidence to file criminal charges” but the statute of limitations prevented it.
The Chicago Tribune reported that “Church officials removed Howlin from public ministry, but otherwise left him alone in Kentucky (despite charges that) Howlin had used money to gain sexual favors from two impoverished teenage boys and had been engaging in ‘informal ministry on the side’ in Kentucky” (with a charity called "Hills and Hollers Ministries," 606 376 7577).
In 2010, the Vatican banned him from unsupervised contact with children, but “he serves as his own minder here in rural Kentucky. The choice of whether to follow the Vatican's restrictions involving ministry or being alone with children remains entirely up to him,” the Tribune found.
“Howlin is in fact still a Joliet Diocese priest who is supposed to answer to its bishop, according to both the Vatican and other experts. The diocese continues Howlin's pension, and (his bishop) has the authority to dictate where Howlin lives. (But) records show church officials have done little to keep tabs on him,” the Tribune reported.
The Joliet diocese website says he has “a continuing canonical process,” proof that he’s still a priest.
From 1977-2002, Fr. Howlin was pastor of Good Shepherd Chapel (513 489 8815, 513 489 0200, 606 376 8728) in Whitley City, about two hours south of Lexington (but still in the Lexington diocese). He is listed as a “credibly accused” predator priest on the Joliet Diocese website:
--In 2009, Fr. Joseph N. Muench was accused of having sexually abused five children in the 1980s. He pleaded guilty to unlawful imprisonment and attempted sexual abuse involving two of them. In May 2010, he was sentenced to a year in jail, but was released just four months later.
Fr. Muench worked at Mary Queen of the Holy Rosary in Lexington (2006-2009) and at churches in Covington, Frankfort, Prestonsburg, Martin, Harrodsburg, Perryville and Frankfort.
We do not know where Fr. Muench is now. But we want Catholic officials to defrock him, publicize his whereabouts and “aggressively” seek out others who might be able to bring more criminal charges against him.
It’s irresponsible for Catholic officials to recruit, educate, ordain, hire, train, transfer and shield priests, but suddenly act powerless about them once their crimes become public.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
--Ask your loved ones about these predators. If they saw, suspected or suffered crimes, misdeeds or cover ups, urge them to call police.
--Ask your new bishop to spread the word about them and post their names, photos, whereabouts and work histories on church websites so that kids can be protected and victims can be healed.
(More details about Fr. Howlin, Fr. Muench, and other Lexington predator priest are available at BishopAccountability.org. Some others are: Fr. William J. Fedders, Fr. Stephen Gallenstein, Fr. John B. Modica, Edward Francis Murray, Fr. Leonard B. Nienaber, Fr. William G. Poole, and Fr. Carl C. Schaffer.)
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.