The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
Nov. 7, 2003
Most Rev. John J. McRaith
Dear Bishop McRaith:
We are distraught to read of yet another suicide by a person sexually victimized by clergy. Our hearts ache for Karen Roby's family.
We are also distraught that apparently two of Ms. Roby's perpetrators remain in ministry.
In light of the promises made by you and your brother bishops in Dallas, and in light of these new disclosures, we beg you to promptly remove Fr. Delma Clemons from his post at St. Jerome's parish in Fancy Farm and Fr. Richard Powers from his post at St. Mary Magdalene parish near Owensboro. This is the least you can do as a precaution.
Surely, given the pain already inflicted upon Ms. Roby and her loved ones, you will not split hairs and claim that her age at the time of the abuse excuses her molesters' immoral behavior or somehow magically decreases the likelihood that they will abuse others.
Surely, you will honor the words of our Holy Father: "There is no place in the priesthood or religious life for those who would harm the young." (You understand, of course, that the Pope made no exceptions or references to legal definitions to 'age of majority.')
Surely, you will live up to the promises repeatedly made by you and your colleagues, to put the safety of young people first, remove accused priests pending full investigations, and cooperate fully with law enforcement.
Regardless of what you or your lawyer may think of this new lawsuit, it is clear that diocesan staff have found Ms. Roby credible in the past.
Several leaders of our organization will be in Washington next week during the USCCB meeting. We want to talk with you about this horrific case. Please call me to set up such a meeting.
Bishop McRaith, please act quickly to safeguard other members of your flock.
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests