SD--Victims want bishop to help on abuse
For immediate release: Monday, April 11, 2016
Victims urge bishop to act on abuse
Group wants “outreach” about SD predator
He was just sued for child sex crimes in Texas
But he’s an SD native and worked here too
A support group for clergy sex abuse victims is urging South Dakota Catholic officials to “aggressively reach out” to victims of a recently-sued predator priest.
Last month, Fr. Milton “Milty” Eggerling was accused for the first time in Texas sex abuse and cover-up lawsuit. In it, the victim charges that Eggerling lured him with special treatment, gifts of money, and outings before sexually abusing him. The abuse, which took place in the 1970s, began when the boy was 11 years old.
The lawsuit also says that Austin, Texas, church officials—including the bishop—knew or should have known about the abuse and did little to nothing to stop it. http://www.mystatesman.com/news/news/crime-law/lawsuit-filed-against-austin-catholic-diocese-over/nqjjG/
SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org)—the nation’s largest support group for men and women sexually abused in religious and institutional settings—wants Sioux Falls Bishop Paul J. Swain to reach out to anyone who may have encountered Eggerling during his time in the state.
The group fears that there may be more victims who are suffering in shame and silence. SNAP also wants to encourage witnesses and whistleblowers to come forward and share what they know.
Eggerling was a native of South Dakota, born and raised in the Sioux Fall Diocese. After his ordination into the priesthood, he worked at churches and schools in Lennox, Worthing, Howard, Marion, Aberdeen, and Sioux Falls, SD from the 1950s to the early 1970s. http://www.bishopaccountability.org/assign/Eggerling_Milton.htm
“We’re concerned because our experience has shown us that Eggerling may have victims across the Sioux Falls Diocese,” said David Clohessy of SNAP. “Predators never have just one victim. Bishop Swain has a moral duty and the Christian obligation to reach out to anyone who may be hurting or who may have information about Eggerling in South Dakota.”
SNAP wants Swain to use all means at his disposal—the pulpit, church bulletins and websites, and diocesan publications—to reach out to Catholics who may have been abused.
In addition to his time in South Dakota and Texas, Eggerling also lived and worked in California, Massachusetts, and the country of Peru. He died in 2008. http://www.thebostonpilot.com/article.asp?ID=5971
Eggerlling's photo and work history are available at BishopAccountability.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.