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Letter to Letter to Fairfax, VA, Commonwealth Attorney Morrogh about Father Fernando Cristancho

November 7, 2008

Mr. Raymond F. Morrogh
Commonwealth Attorney, Fairfax County
4110 Chain Bridge Road, Room 123
Fairfax, VA 22030

Dear Mr. Morrogh:
We are deeply concerned about Fr. Fernando Cristancho and the credible
child sex abuse allegations against him.

As you can see from the enclosed articles, a social service agency and a
judge have determined that he recently molested two of his three
children. We are concerned that he may have abused other children
during his tvime as a priest at Good Shepherd Catholic Church in Fairfax
County (1995-1998). He was fired from that parish following accusations
of sexual misconduct with a young woman (though reportedly not a
minor). Subsequently, he worked in a Maryland parish where he fathered
three children through a surrogate mother. Fr. Cristancho is a native
of Colombia, South America. You can read the findings of the Maryland
Court of Special Appeals which recently denied him custody of his
children.
http://www.bishop-accountability.org/opinions/2008_10_27_Cristancho_v_Redacted_R.pdf.

We are concerned because
- Fr. Cristancho walks free today,
- Catholic officials have a dismal record of supervising abusive clergy,
- Statutes often allow predators to escape criminal charges,
- Predator priests tend to be well-educated, shrewd and manipulative,
- Dozens of predator priests have escaped justice by fleeing overseas, and
- As you know, rarely does a child molester strike only once.

We are not police or prosecutors. But we are citizens concerned about
the continuing risk to innocent children as well as to other possible
victims that Fr. Cristancho sexually abused while he lived and worked in
No. Virginia.

We believe that authorities can deal with child sex crimes in two ways:
passively or aggressively. One can passively sit back and wait until a
victim walks in the door. Or one can aggressively use one's bully pulpit
and investigative tools to search out victims and witnesses and pursue
predators vigorously. We want the office of the Commonwealth Attorney,
along with the Catholic Diocese of Arlington, to take steps to preclude
Fr. Cristancho's access to children and to seek out other possible
victims of sexual abuse by him in No. Virginia. As a start, last
weekend the diocese arranged an announcement about Fr. Cristancho at
Good Shepherd Catholic Church, and this weekend a notice will be in the
parish bulletin. As a Catholic priest in a local parish, however, Fr.
Cristancho had access to many people and families in No. Virginia,
particulary among the Hispanic population to whom he specifically
ministered.

Specifically, we ask that you
- do everything in your power to probe Cristancho's past,
- try to get his passport revoked or suspended, so he can't move
elsewhere and molest again, and
- make a strong public appeal to anyone with information about his
crimes or misdeeds to come forward, get help, and contact law
enforcement right away.

When the time comes for discovery and subpoenas and other legal moves,
we will be glad to put you in touch with legal experts who understand
the church structure, terminology, and hierarchy, so that prosecution
can proceed as quickly and effectively as possible.

Thank you. We look forward to hearing from you. Please let us know how
we can help.

Sincerely
David Clohessy
Executive Director
SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests)
314.566.9790; snapclohessy@aol.com


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