Rome--Chicago priest promoted by Francis hid child sex crimes
For immediate release: Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014
A Chicago priest who was just promoted by the Pope concealed clergy sex crimes, according to today’s Boston Globe. We urge Francis to rescind this promotion.
In September, the Vatican announced that Fr. Robert J. Geisinger will head up child sex abuse and cover up cases across the world. But today’s Boston Globe reveals that Fr. Geisinger, while head of the Chicago Jesuits, hid credible allegations of child sex crimes by a colleague, Fr. Donald McGuire who was close to Mother Teresa. McGuire is now in prison.
Why on earth would Francis pick a priest with a problematic track record on abuse in the US to deal with abuse worldwide? Any one of hundreds of thousands of priests could have been tapped for this key post. So why choose one who so clearly and repeatedly refused to call the law or tell the truth about a notorious, now-imprisoned serial predator?
According to the Globe, Fr. Geisinger “had detailed knowledge of the complaints against McGuire as early as 1995 and advised officials in Chicago on how to discipline McGuire as late as August of 2002, when they were still keeping the complaints secret” and “Fr. Geisinger played a significant role in the Jesuits’ long, unsuccessful effort to prevent McGuire from continuing to befriend and travel with young teenagers despite complaints dating to the 1960s.”
Fr, Geisinger had years and years to call police about Fr. McGuire. He never did so. He has no business being the Catholic church’s top abuse official.
When Fr. Geisinger’s promotion was announced, we publicly said that he “has some links to a notorious, serial convicted predator priest once close to Mother Teresa.” We publicly said”
“We're anxious to hear from Fr. Geisinger about his dealings with Fr. Donald McGuire, a once high profile but now-imprisoned Jesuit in Fr. Geisinger's own province who – despite multiple reports of abuse – was allowed to keep ministering until law enforcement officials finally arrested him.
In 2002, another Jesuit (Fr. Rick McGurn) sent Fr. Geisinger a detailed, three page, single-spaced letter about Fr. McGuire:
Notice the phrase: “long list” of Fr. McGuire's “inappropriate behaviors.”
Not until 2005 were criminal charges brought against Fr. McGuire. We see no evidence that Fr. Geisinger ever helped police or prosecutors investigate Fr. McGuire, or any child molesting cleric. We challenge him to produce such evidence if he has any.
The letter show s that Fr. McGuire is repeatedly warned about his contact with children. But Fr. McGuire does exactly what he wants. More and more abuse reports and complaints against Fr. McGuire surface over time, yet neither Fr. Geisinger nor his colleagues take any effective action whatsoever. (At this time, Fr. Geisinger was in charge of “all matters of canon law” for the Jesuits. In other words, he was a high ranking cleric with the power to make a difference.)
The letter shows that Jesuit officials – including Fr. Geisinger – go on and on worrying about following canonical rules and whether or not Fr. McGuire will cause problems for them. There's no mention or concern evidently about the kids that he has assaulted or is assaulting kids. It is clear from the letter that Fr. Geisinger knew – or at a least strongly suspected – that Fr. McGuire was a criminal. Yet Fr. Geisinger went along with the plan to keep Fr. McGuire under wraps and away from law enforcement.
We're pessimistic about Fr. Geisinger's new position. On the church's continuing child sex abuse and cover up crisis, the pontiff’s promotions have been very disappointing. We see no evidence that Fr. Geisinger has done or even said anything encouraging about this scandal though he's been a cleric for decades.
At a bare minimum, Fr. Geisinger should publicly explain why he apparently never called police about Fr. McGuire, whether he ever called police about any predator priest, and why he deserves this promotion.
Geisinger had previously worked as the Associate Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Chicago, as well as a presiding judge on the archdiocese’s Metropolitan Tribunal.
( Francis has made several troubling promotions of complicit church officials” http://www.snapnetwork.org/ky_bishop_promoted_to_pa_post and http://www.snapnetwork.org/oh_toledo_bishop_promoted_to_ct and http://www.snapnetwork.org/ok_catholic_official_promoted_to_ks_snap_responds )
(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)
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.
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.