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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Letters

Letter to California High School

 

January 20, 2005

Mr. Patrick K. Lee, Principal
St. John Bosco High School
Bellflower, CA

Dear Mr. Lee:

We, the members of SNAP, (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) are very troubled that at least seven alleged child molesters charged in civil lawsuits worked at St. John Bosco All Boys’ High School. In the interest of openness, healing and prevention, we urge you to reach out to anyone who may have been abused or witnessed abuse by these accused abusive clergy/faculty members. There names are Fr. Titian Miani; Brother John Verhart; Brother Richard; Brother Anthony Juarez; Brother Ernie Martinez; Fr. Larry Lorenzoni and Fr. Harold Danielson.

Your school website states, “St. John Bosco's style of education is called the "preventive system." It is profiled in all Salesian schools through the teaching of religion (morals and values) and by developing a reasonable rapport of loving kindness between the educator and the student. As Salesian the school recognizes itself as a center for family, parish, education, and recreation which is characterized by a method based upon familiarity, affection and trust. St. John Bosco wrote, "without familiarity there is no love expressed, and without love expressed there is no trust." As a result, a special bond of mutual respect and love is nurtured between student and educator.”

We are urging you to put St. John Bosco’s “preventive system” and “methods” into meaningful actions rather than mere words, by reaching out to help heal those already severely wounded by trusted leaders in your school and putting into place a truly “preventive system” to stops further abuse that requires openness, transparency and accountability.

Sadly, Cardinal Roger Mahony has knowingly allowed known and suspected child molesters to work in the Stockton and LA dioceses and has a history of not reporting these heinous crimes to law enforcement. Oliver O’Grady, Michael Baker and Michael Wempe are well documented examples of such a dangerous pattern of cover-up.

In a 1998 trial in Stockton, Mahony testified O'Grady was the only pedophile priest he dealt with in Stockton. Last month, however, CNN first reported that Mahony said two more Stockton priests who allegedly molested youngsters had allegedly slipped his memory. (http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0412/09/asb.01.html)

Sadly, Fr. Titian Miani, who worked at your school and allegedly molested a boy and his two siblings, is now among these horrific documented examples of Mahony’s “memory” and management failure. Personnel Board minutes from December 12, 1984, during Mahony’s tenure as Bishop of Stockton concern Father Titian Miani. "[Miani] seems to be causing dissension in the parish," the minutes state. "Reports have come from very credible witnesses. We have no process to deal with priests who act unprofessionally, nor a way to listen to credible witnesses in such cases." Miani was charged in 2003 with two counts of committing a lewd act on a child in the mid-1960s. Charges were dropped in 2003 after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down California’s statute of limitations for child sex abuse. http://www.laweekly.com/ink/05/04/news-anderson.php

In light of this, we are specifically urging you to:

-use the school’s website, newspaper and newsletters to post the names of all known and suspected abusers.

-send a mailing to all alumni of the school asking if they were hurt and urging them to track down and contact other former student to see if they were abused.

-hold a listening session with parents, faculty and students and make strong personal appeals to victims and witnesses who know of or suspect abuse to contact criminal authorities. SNAP members are willing to come to your school and share their own stories of how they came forward after years of being trapped in silence, guilt and shame.

-publicly reach out through the secular news media to past students who attended the school and ask if they were abused.

The fact that these allegedly dangerous men worked at your school, should be of grave concern to you knowing that you have a Christian duty to inform students and parents of all known and suspected molesters and help victims and witnesses feel safe coming forward. We urge you again to take prompt steps now to try to reach out in healing, prevention and openness.

We look forward to your response.

Sherida Ruiz of Anaheim,
SNAP Family Coordinator (714) 956-1786 or sheridaaruiz@aol.com

Mary Grant of Long Beach,
SNAP Southwest Regional Director (626) 419-2930 or mgrantsnap@earthlink.net

SNAP, P.O. Box 20491, Long Beach, CA 90814, SNAPnetwork.org



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