Priest with “Substantiated Allegations” Found Working for School in Tucson

An accused Philadelphia priest found to be “unsuitable for ministry” went on to get a job at an Arizona school until vigilant watchdogs blew the whistle.

Fr. John F. Meyers was just found working at a Tucson charter school despite being ousted by Pennsylvania Catholic officials in January for “substantiated” claims of sexual abuse. We are grateful to Carolyn Fortney and the other survivors and advocates who uncovered this information and alerted the public. Thanks to them, we believe that children in Tucson are safer today.

However, we cannot help but wonder why the duty of tracking down Catholic clergymen with “substantiated allegations” and keeping them from working around children has fallen on the shoulders of survivors and advocates. Should it not be the responsibility of Church officials who recruited, educated, ordained, trained, hired, and transferred these priests to keep them away from children and vulnerable adults?

Dioceses are powerful institutions with vast resources and manpower. They have the ability to do more than just post the names of clerics with “substantiated allegations” online. Church officials need to find ways to inform communities when these men relocate. Dioceses should at the very least report these movements to the public, especially to local schools, community centers and other groups that serve children.

We hope that Church officials will find ways to improve their notification processes without relying on survivors to do it for them.

CONTACT: Tim Lennon, SNAP President (tlennon@snapnetwork.org, 415-312-5820),  Zach Hiner, Executive Director (zhiner@snapnetwork.org, 517-974-9009)

(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org


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