SD - Law enforcement opens probe into SD predator priest
For immediate release: Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2013
Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, SNAPclohessy@aol.com)
We are grateful that South Dakota law enforcement officials are doing what Minnesota and South Dakota Catholic officials refuse to do – taking seriously the admitted child sex crimes of Fr. Clarence Vavra.
Today, Minnesota Public Radio reports that an investigation has been opened “into alleged sexual abuse of children by a Minnesota priest” who admitted molesting kids on a reservation in South Dakota.
This is precisely what should happen.
South Dakota’s two Catholic bishops should show real leadership and aggressively help police and prosecutors by visiting every place where Fr. Vavra worked, begging victims, witnesses and whistleblowers to step forward. Catholic officials recruit, educate, ordain, train transfer and shield child molesting clerics. When those clerics admit sexually assaulting kids – as Fr. Vavra has – the least Catholic officials can do is to act like the shepherds they purport to be and seek out others who have been hurt.
This is not rocket science. It’s common sense and common decency. It’s what any and every adult should do: help law enforcement catch dangerous child predators. It’s especially what adults who claim to be spiritual guides should do. It’s tragic that victims must keep begging and prodding and encouraging Catholic bishops to take this simple step. And it’s more tragic that nearly every Catholic bishop rebuffs our pleas.
Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, SNAPclohessy@aol.com), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747,SNAPblaine@gmail.com)
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.