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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Letters

 

Letter to Loyola Academy

 

Sept. 1, 2003

Rev. Ted Munz, SJ
   President
Mr. David McNulty
   Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs
Loyola Academy
1100 Laramie
Wilmette, Illinois 60091

Dear Father Munz and Mr. McNulty:

Last month, in the wake of the recent sexual abuse lawsuit against Father McGuire and your school, we asked you that you "aggressively (seek) out additional information and other potential victims from Loyola Academy alums."

Instead, you sent alums and parents an inaccurate, insensitive, smug, and self-congratulatory letter that we believe is intended to keep other victims quiet. It mentions nothing about other victims coming forward and getting healing. It mentions nothing about contacting the police or prosecutors or our support group.

We again ask that you begin a genuine, pastoral outreach effort to everyone who worked at or attended the school. We again ask that you urge them to contact law enforcement officials with information about McGuire.

Victims of sex crimes are almost always reluctant to come forward. They feel shame, confusion, guilt and hopelessness. And when they remain silent, kids remain at risk.

But if you and other responsible leaders specifically and sensitively urge them to break their silence, they may respond. If you direct them to the independent and experienced professionals in law enforcement, they may respond.

On the other hand, if you send out vague platitides about how wonderful your school is, victims get the clear signal that disclosing their pain will have little impact.

At this point, after decades of molestation by clergy and cover up by church leaders, and after nearly 18 months of disclosures and exposes on this crisis, you should know better than to respond in an evasive, disingenuous ways. You should know better than to try to minimize the horror of childhood sexual abuse by playing up in your letter how long ago the crimes took place and using words like "impropriety" and "misconduct." You should know better than to complacently brag about a "culture and an environment where our students are safe and protected."

When I spoke to John Doe on August 21 and informed him that you had removed McGuire from ministry the response was: "Barbara, this is the best news I've heard in 35 years. I'm so relieved. It is giving me goose-bumps. I sure hope that means that he won't be able to abuse anyone else." That, Fr. Munz, is the goal of every person in SNAP. That is a goal that you and your institution should actively support.

If, as you claim, the school plans to "cooperate and openly support efforts to serve justice," then urge others who were wounded or who may know about McGuire's crimes to step forward.

If you fear that "developing an accurate account of what did or did not happen may be difficult," then beg anyone who attended or worked at the school during those years to contact those who can best determine the truth: the police.

Last month, a courageous victim of sexual abuse by a priest last month came forward, giving you an opportunity to show that you really care about children. Please don't squander this opportunity by continuing to behave like defensive, insensitive bureaucrats.

Barbara Blaine
SNAP
Chicago
312 399 4747

SEE: Related News Story


Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
www.snapnetwork.org

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