AR - SNAP Urges Little Rock Bishop Taylor to Protect Children and Heal Victims
Victims to leaflet mass-goers
They list seven accused Ark. predators
Most have attracted little public attention
Several molested elsewhere but spent time here
Last year, one led a retreat, another was honored
Group urges bishop to post all child molesting clerics on websites
As parishioners leave mass, clergy sex abuse victims will hand out fliers listing seven proven, admitted or credibly accused child molesting Arkansas Little Rock priests, most of whom have attracted little public attention in the state. They will also urge
--- Little Rock’s bishop to post the names and photos of these alleged predators on his diocesan and parish websites, and
--- urge church officials to “actively seek out” anyone who “saw, suspected or suffered” clergy sex or cover ups and beg them to call police and prosecutors so that kids might be safer.
Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013 at 12:20 p.m.
On the sidewalk outside the Cathedral of St. Andrew, 617 Louisiana Street (corner of 7th St.), Little Rock, Arkansas
Two members of a support group for clergy sex abuse victims called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, including a Missouri woman who is the organization’s long time outreach director
It’s been almost a decade since Little Rock’s Catholic bishop admitted that 11 priests in the state had been accused of child sex crimes. But despite a decade- old national church policy mandating “openness” in clergy sex cases, church staff have still not , as best SNAP can tell, disclosed all of their identities or ever updated that figure.
Nor has the bishop made clear “whether the allegations against the 11 priests were all substantiated,” according to the Little Rock Democrat. “Clearly, some were, since the diocese identified 18 victims.”
One accused priest led a retreat last year in ARK. Another was honored last year in ARK.
The ARK priests who have been publicly accused include: Fr. Ralph J. Esposito, Fr. Thomas Behnke, Fr. Paul Frederick Haas, Fr. Timothy Sugrue, Fr. Nicholas Fuhrmann, Fr. Vance Thorne, and Fr. Joseph D. Ross. (See BishopAccountability.org)
SNAP is especially concerned about four of them:
--Fr. Fuhrmann who has been accused twice yet led a retreat in Subiaco just last year.
http://issuu.com/olivetan-echoes/docs/2012_spring (See page 4)
--Fr. Esposito who abused in Pittsburgh, was then sent here but has never been exposed in Arkansas. (He is listed as a retired priest on the Little Rock diocesan website, and last year, he was honored at a diocesan Mass in Arkansas: http://www.dolr.org/clergy/clergydetail.php?id=36)
--Fr. Haas who taught in a school here and was sent to Tennessee where he repeatedly molested kids.
--Fr. Ross who pled guilty to abuse in St. Louis but has reportedly moved here.
Roughly 30 US bishops have, under pressure, posted names of proven, admitted and credibly accused child molesting clerics on their diocesan websites.
SNAP is urging Little Rock Catholic Bishop Anthony Taylor, “for the protection of kids and the healing of victims,” to do likewise.
Photos of Fuhrmann, Behnke, and Ross are at BishopAccountability.org. Esposito’s photo is here: http://www.dolr.org/clergy/clergydetail.php?id=36
Flier from Event
Please help us protect kids
Who we are
We are victims of child sexual abuse. We belong to a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org)
Why we’re here
We want kids to be safe, victims to be healed, and the truth to be exposed.
What we want
We want you to know about seven proven, admitted or credibly accused child molesting clerics who are in or have been in Arkansas: Fr. Ralph J. Esposito, Fr. Thomas Behnke, Fr. Paul Frederick Haas, Fr. Timothy Sugrue, Fr. Nicholas Fuhrmann, Fr. Vance Thorne, and Fr. Joseph D. Ross.
And we want you to share anything you may know or have heard about these clerics with law enforcement, especially if you have seen, suspected or suffered their crimes.
We’re especially worried about two/three kinds of priests
--Those who abused elsewhere but were also here (like Fr. Haas who taught in a Little Rock Catholic school before being transferred to Tennessee where he repeatedly molested kids, Fr. Esposito who abused in Pittsburgh and was then sent here, Fr. Behnke who molested in Texas and Oklahoma and was sent here, and Fr. Ross who abused in St. Louis but has reportedly moved here).
--Those who may still be active (like Fr. Nicholas Fuhrmann who led a retreat in __ just last year).
How you can help:
--Urge Bishop Taylor to put the names, histories, photos and whereabouts of every proven, admitted and credibly accused child molesting cleric – who is or has been in Arkansas - on parish and diocesan websites.
--Ask every current and former Catholic you know if they were ever hurt by any of these clerics. If so, please urge them to seek professional help from independent sources and call law enforcement so that kids might be better protected.
--Educate yourself about clergy sex crimes and cover ups at BishopAccountability.org
For more information:
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.