For immediate release: Tuesday, January 7, 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)
As the embattled and controversial Legion of Christ picks new leaders, some question whether it's reforming or not. It's a dreadfully premature and naive question.
Until the Legion takes clear, proven steps that protect kids and "out" wrongdoers, this question shouldn't even be asked.
Some of the Legion's trouble stems from questionable finances and its cult-like atmosphere. But most of it stems from clergy sex crimes and cover ups.
And very specific "reform" steps can be taken in clergy sex cases - measurable moves that actually safeguard kids by exposing those who commit and conceal sexual violence against kids.
Has the Legion identified even one complicit cleric who protected Fr. Maciel?
Has the Legion voluntarily exposed even one child molesting clerics?
Has the Legion disciplined even one complicit cleric who shielded any Legion predator?
Has the Legion voluntarily given even one known or suspected pedophile priests records to police?
As best we can tell, none of this has been done. So how can this secretive order even claim to be "reforming?"
We beg every single person who saw, suspected or suffered wrongdoing in the Legion to speak up. We beg them to call police, prosecutors, lawyers, journalists and support groups.
And we beg Catholic officials who must deal with the Legion to do so with great skepticism, and keep pushing for real reform on the central issue here - how the Legion handles clergy sex crimes and cover ups, now and in the past.