SC--Victims “out” another predator priest
Victims “out” another predator priest
He was cited in new PA grand jury report
And he is the 14th accused child molesting SC cleric
Group urges Catholic bishop to “come clean & end slow torture”
Church officials refuse to do “real outreach,” support group says
SNAP warns: “Recently suspended cleric could be put back to work”
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will disclose that
--a predator priest recently suspended because of abuse allegations in Pennsylvania also worked in SC,
--he’s the 14 alleged predator priest to have worked in the state, and
--at least seven civil lawsuits are pending against predator priests in SC, including one filed last October.
The group will prod
--Charleston Catholic bishop to permanently post on parish websites the names of all predator priests who have worked or lived – or now work or live – in the diocese.
--“anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered sexual misdeeds, crimes or cover ups” in the state to “call police, expose wrongdoing and protect others.”
Tuesday, March 22, 2016 at 11:00 a.m.
In Charleston, outside the Charleston Catholic diocese headquarters (“chancery”), 901 Orange Grove Road (corner of St Charles Ct.)
Two adults who were sexually abused as children and are members of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org), including a Missouri woman who is the organization’s long time outreach director
Two weeks ago, Pennsylvania’s attorney general released a 150 page grand jury report detailing clergy sex crimes by 50+ clerics against hundreds of kids that were covered up for decades by Altoona area Catholic officials.
On Friday, three of those officials were arraigned on charges of concealing child sex crimes in the Altoona area.
One of those 50+ predator priests was quietly sent to work Charleston SC. He’s Fr. Robert J. Kelly. He was temporarily suspended last month and may, SNAP fears, be put back to work in a parish.
In fact, Fr. Kelly was kept on the job even after he was sued for alleged child sex crimes in 2003 and after a settlement was paid to one of his Pennsylvania victims.
SNAP wants Charleston Bishop Robert Guglielmone (843-853-2130) to “seek out others who were hurt in Charleston by Fr. Kelly” and “disclose the names and whereabouts and work histories of other priests like him who molested kids elsewhere yet were quietly accepted into the Charleston diocese and given access to Charleston children.”
Some of those accused predator priests likely are still in Charleston, either working for the church or for other organizations or institutions, SNAP says.
Fr. Kelly was once a prison chaplain, spent time in Rome, and was assigned to at least ten Altoona area churches in eight towns. (see page 61 of the grand jury report).
SNAP stresses that Fr. Kelly’s suspension is temporary. The group fears if church officials claim abuse reports against him can’t be “substantiated,” he may be put back into another parish.
Last October, the latest in a series of civil child sex abuse and cover up lawsuits was filed against the Charleston Catholic diocese. It involving alleged child sex crimes by Fr. Justin Goodwin. (Thus far, it has attracted little or no media attention.) http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news2016/01_02/2016_01_26_Elmore_AbuseVictims.htm
It’s the seventh pending lawsuit of its type against the relatively small statewide diocese. Judge Nicholson has set an Oct. trial date for at least one of these cases.
There’s also a 2008 class action suit that was never closed, stemming from abuse reports against Fr. Goodwin and at least 21 other accused predator priests or employees (including former teacher Edward Fischer, who molested dozens of boys). SNAP maintains that this class action suit is “deeply flawed” with “inadequate outreach” to victims who might want to join a class action lawsuit. SNAP is calling for “more aggressive advertising and outreach to make sure that no victim is left out.”
SNAP is also urging “anyone who may have information or suspicions about clergy sexual misdeeds, crimes or cover ups by current or former church staff” to “find the courage to call the independent professionals – police, prosecutors, therapists and support groups – about the wrongdoing” instead of contacting church officials.
According to an independent website called BishopAccountability.org, there are 14 publicly accused predator priests in South Carolina. They are: Fr. John F. Bench, Fr. Juan Carlos Castano, Fr. Eugene L. Condon, Fr. Raymond DuMouchel, Fr. Thomas A. Evatt, Fr. Justin L. Goodwin, Fr. Frederick J. Hopwood, Fr. James Robert Owens-Howard J. (James) Robert, Fr. Gerald J. Ryfinski, Fr. Paul F. Seitz, Fr. Lawrence Sheedy, Fr. Hayden Vaverek, Fr. Kelly and Fr. James McCarthy, who was accused of molesting a child in a civil lawsuit filed a few months ago in South Carolina. http://www.snapnetwork.org/sc_victims_beg_others_to_step_forward
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.