For immediate release: Tuesday, June 24, 2014
Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, SNAPclohessy@aol.com)
In a rare "split in the ranks," a bishop says that Vatican officials have "injured the people of God" by their "silence" over former Vatican envoy Archbishop Józef Wesolowski, who is accused of sexually abusing boys in Dominican Republic.
Santo Domingo Archdiocese Auxiliary Bishop Víctor Masalles admitted yesterday that he saw Wesolowski walking free in Rome. Vatican staff are refusing to extradite Wesolowski to Poland where law enforcement authorities want to question him for his alleged child sex crimes.
In our view, it's incredibly irresponsible for Catholic officials to thwart a police investigation. But it's also incredibly irresponsible for them to let a credibly accused child molesting cleric live in the figurative and literal center of Catholicism evidently with no supervision.
Consider these three simple facts. It takes seconds to molest a child. Millions of tourists and their families visit Rome annually. Most of them respect and trust clerics. Only a tiny handful of them know who Wesolowski is. He likely still dresses as an archbishop.
That combination is a child molesting cleric's dream. Knowing that he faces potential criminal prosecution and imprisonment, this looks like a recipe for re-offense.
If not for self-serving Vatican intervention, Wesolowski would likely be behind bars now. The least Vatican officials can do is to put him in a remote, secure, independently-run treatment center where he'll be kept away from kids. Anything less dramatically increases the chances that Wesolowski will assault another innocent child.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 25 years and have 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)