WA- Victims and Catholic laity challenge archbishop over 2 priests

WA- Victims and Catholic laity challenge archbishop over 2 priests

One is an admitted serial predator priest who got “full honors”

Church officials hid the other's sexual misdeeds for a decade

SNAP: “Funeral re-victimizes the wounded & deters other victims”

“And secrecy endangers vulnerable kids and teenagers,” group says

WHAT

Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, concerned Catholics and clergy sex abuse victims HAND DELIVER A LETTER CENSURING Seattle Catholic officials for:

– covering up the truth about an admitted serial predator ex-priest at their full-honor funeral celebrations for him, and

– their continued silence for a decade about another priest for sexual abuse of a teenager.

The group will also urge:

– Seattle's archbishop to hold an open public meeting about both situations and explain why his archdiocese policies were violated, how he will prevent this, and

– all church staff to “aggressively reach out to anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered their crimes.”

WHEN

Monday, Oct. 13 at 2:00 p.m.

WHERE

On the sidewalk outside the Seattle Catholic archdiocesan headquarters (“chancery”) 710 9th Ave. (corner of Cherry St.) in downtown Seattle

WHO

Three or four adults some whom are concerned Catholics and some who were abused as kids by clergy and belong to a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (including a Seattle woman who once supervised the admitted predator)

WHY

1) An ex-Seattle archdiocesan priest who admitted molesting youngsters was buried weeks ago with full priestly honors in a highly visible funeral led by 20 local clerics. He is David Peter Jaeger, who was defrocked because he molested 8-10 children in the 1970s.

SNAP does not oppose church funerals for predator priests. But the group feels these should follow the archdiocese policies to protect children (adopted from the US Bishop's Dallas Charter) and be low-key events; otherwise, they “rub salt into the already deep and still fresh wounds of thousands who have been raped and molested by Catholic priests and re-victimized by callous and deceitful Catholic officials.” Such ceremonies also discourage and deter other victims from “speaking up, exposing predators and protecting kids,” SNAP says.

On Aug. 2, one priest partially apologized for the funeral events in writing. However, St. Josephs pastor Fr. John D. Whitney’s letter to the parish avoids explaining what and why archdiocese policies to protect children were broken.

A concerned St. Joseph parishioner wrote the Archbishop and Provincial of the NW Jesuits, “In the funeral events aforementioned, the clergy was complicit in disregarding the Charter and in perpetuating a sham that Jaeger left the priesthood to be with his partner. Jaeger’s lengthy obituary (with photo as priest), connected website (www.davidpjaeger.com) vigil, funeral, program, website photos and poster photos on the wall at our parish (including shots of Jaeger at the camp where he molested boys), written accolades, homily, eulogy, hundreds of mourners, twenty concelebrating priests and the title 'Fr' on Jaeger’s website cannot change one important fact, that David Jaeger admitted in deposition, that he sexually molested 8 to 10 young boys and this sham does not change that legacy. “

SNAP wants Seattle Archbishop Peter Sartain (206-382-4560) – and each priest or nun who participated – to publicly apologize to abuse victims. The group also wants Sartain held accountable for violating his policy to protect children by burying a predator priest with full honors. (There have been similar controversies recently about criminal priests' burials with Fr. Gerald Robinson in Toledo OH and Fr. Joseph Kelleher in Charlotte NC.)

Jaeger was born 1943, ordained in 1969, removed from ministry in 2002 and defrocked in 2005. Jaeger's vigil was 7/29 and his funeral was 7/30.

2) In 2004, a Seattle archdiocesan abuse panel found Fr. Harold Francis Quigg “unsuitable for the priesthood” because of credible allegations of his “egregious” sexual abuse of a then-17 year old in Washington. But, again, against archdiocese policies, officials kept the accusations hidden from the public and let him stay among unsuspecting parishioners for a decade. The accusations surfaced May when a church whistleblower sent SNAP an inadequately redacted copy of internal church records. The group then held a news conference and disclosed the allegations.

From a searing letter to the Archbishop regarding Quigg in a 2014 article in NCR last May from retired Judge Terrence Carroll and former U.S. Attorney Mike McKay, both prior members of the archdiocesan review board, they wrote in May, “We urge you to consider releasing the documents of the review board . . . so that the laity can have complete and accurate information,” The letter also stated, “We take strong issue with the suggestion in the statement that the archdiocese was unaware Fr. Quigg was continuing to perform priestly functions . . . To suggest that such conduct has continued for 10 years without knowledge of the chancery cannot be accurate.”

In the same article, a parishioner from St. Bridget's, the last parish Quigg served from 1989 to 2000 (and Jaeger served there while molesting young boys) wrote that, "Despite the archbishop's apologetic tone, archdiocesan staff continue to spin this and downplay it," In response to the Quigg matter, the Archdiocese issued a bland statement that they “ . . . will review our monitoring systems . . . ”.

SNAP feels that Sartain is violating the national Catholic Church's abuse policy which mandates “openness and transparency” in clergy sex cases. In 2011, then Bishop Cupich of Spokane said the experiences of the past nine years have shown that "the [Dallas] charter works" and "The [Dallas] charter has served the church well," he said. "It is a helpful tool as we keep our pledge to protect children, promote healing and rebuild trust."

National Catholic Reporter commented on the Dallas Charter 11 days before the Jaeger funeral, " . . . the bishops of the United States recognized the problems were systemic and adopted . . . a nationwide set of standards that they applied to themselves." These standards need to actually be followed.

CONTACT

David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, davidgclohessy@gmail.com), Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com) Mary Dispenza (425-644-2468, marydispenza@me.com)

 

October 13, 2014

 The Most Reverend J. Peter Sartain

 Archbishop of Seattle

 710 9th Avenue

 Seattle, WA 98104

 Dear Archbishop Sartain:

We are men and women sexually abused as children—with family members and concerned Catholics—who are members and supporters of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

We are here today because of two recent events in the Seattle Archdiocese that appear to conflict with the norms of the Dallas Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People adopted by this archdiocese over 10 years ago and re-examined, expanded and strengthened at regular intervals since inception.

We recognize that the Dallas Charter is not a perfect set of rules and reasonable people should apply the spirit or intention in some cases. However, it would seem that the Catholic leadership in Seattle would be especially dedicated to these policies in order to prevent misinterpretation and therefore, tragic outcomes such as occurred with Harold Quigg and David Jaeger.

In the first instance, Harold Quigg was deemed credibly accused of sexually abusing a teenager by the archdiocese review board in 2004. In May you received a letter from retired Judge Terrence Carroll and former U.S. Attorney Mike McKay, both prior members of the archdiocesan review board, they wrote, “We urge you to consider releasing the documents of the review board . . . so that the laity can have complete and accurate information”. The letter also stated, “We take strong issue with the suggestion in the statement that the archdiocese was unaware Fr. Quigg was continuing to perform priestly functions . . . To suggest that such conduct has continued for 10 years without knowledge of the chancery cannot be accurate.”[1]

Almost six months ago the Archdiocese promised to review it’s policies concerning the Quigg failure and we would like to know the results of your internal review. What has been changed to prevent such dangerous situations from happening again?

Less than two months after the Harold Quigg scandal, an ex-Seattle archdiocesan priest—who admitted sexually molesting boys—was buried with full priestly honors in a highly visible public funeral led by 20 local clerics, including Fr. Michael Ryan of St. James Cathedral. He is David Peter Jaeger, who was defrocked because he molested [at least] 8-10 children in the 1970s[2].

SNAP does not oppose church funerals for predator priests. We feel they should follow the archdiocese policies adopted from the US Bishop's Dallas Charter to protect children and be low-key or private events. Therefore, we respect and support the language in your funeral policy for priests credibly accused of sexually abusing children that state, “This is also a difficult time for the priest’s family members who may have very uneven knowledge of the priest’s history. While family members are entitled to make decisions regarding any private service(s), in regard to any and all public Catholic services or liturgy, as well as worship aids, the Archdiocese will be the primary decision maker.”

On August 2, 2014, St. Josephs’ pastor Fr. John D. Whitney’s letter to the parish partially apologized for and attempted to explain why a predator priest removed from ministry was buried from St. Josephs with full honors. Fr. Whitney stated that the vigil and funeral celebrations for Jaeger were “ . . . planned by a complex group involving [Jaeger’s] family and friends” and that Fr. Whitney “ . . . relied on their wisdom and sensitivity.” He also wrote, “Neither St. Joseph nor [he] had a role in the planning of the liturgy.”

Fr. Whitney’s letter to the parish avoids explaining what and why archdiocese policies to protect children were broken. Fr. Whitney makes no reference to any communications to or from the Archdiocese.

The funeral for Jaeger consisted of a lengthy obituary in the Seattle Times and linked to a personal website for Jaeger where he is referred to as “Fr.” The vigil (not allowed by the policies) and funeral were held at a parish Jaeger was involved in a long-time ministry (not allowed by the policies). The obituary photo of Jaeger shows him in his clerical garb, as did pictures at the funeral, including of him at the place he molested children (not allowed by the policies), it refers to his ministry, as did the homily, the funeral program and the eulogy (not allowed by the policies), posted to the public website along with numerous photos in clergy garb and stories about his ministry. The statement required by the archdiocese policy anytime a spoken or written reference to the deceased’s ministry is made, “removed from active ministry according to the norms of the Dallas Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People” was never spoken nor was it ever printed anywhere.

The funeral program and eulogy suggests that Jaeger left the priesthood when, ” . . . he decided after much internal struggle that he wanted an intimate relationship in his personal life.” The truth is that he was removed from ministry and defrocked for sexually molesting 8 to 10 boys.

Such ceremonies, which glorify rather than expose predator priests, discourage victims from speaking up, exposing predators and protecting children.

The spirit of healing in your funeral policy[3] about “compassion for those who have been hurt” and the “benefit of the people of God of the Archdiocese of Seattle” has instead rubbed salt into the already deep and still fresh wounds of thousands who have been raped and molested by Catholic priests and re-victimized by Catholic officials.

We are asking you – and each priest or nun who participated – to publicly apologize to abuse victims, children at-risk and the Catholic community. We also need an explanation of the, who, what and when of communication with the Archdiocese allowing this breaking of policy, in letter and spirit. We further need you to acknowledge that your policies to protect children were violated in both of the above matters and meet with Catholics from throughout Seattle to discuss the prevention of both such situations going forward. 

We all look forward to your immediate response to us, Seattle Catholics and the general public regarding this matter.

Sincerely,

Barbara Dorris

Outreach Director of SNAP

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priest

    

 

 

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