Letters List


The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Letter

Letter to Bishop Galeone

January 21, 2010

Bishop Victor Galeone
Office of the Bishop
11625 St. Augustine Road
Jacksonville, FL 32258

Dear Bishop

We are seeking your help regarding an admitted child molesting cleric who lives in your diocese and who soon faces sentencing in Wisconsin. He's Fr. James. R. Blume, who admitted last week that he sexually assaulted a child.

Many times, Catholic officials do little or nothing about dangerous predator priests, saying "These are only allegations" or "We can't tell who's telling the truth" or "There's never been any solid proof."

None of those excuses work in this instance however. Blume is an admitted criminal. And since he's acknowledged his wrong-doing, and since predators rarely strike once or twice, and since he's faced allegations in at least two states, we believe it's your moral and civic duty to aggressively seek out others with knowledge of his misdeeds - both victims and witnesses - and urge them to contact law enforcement.

If someone in your diocese saw, suspected or suffered Blume's crimes, he or she could potentially help
-- initiate prosecution against Blume in Florida, or
-- convince the Wisconsin judge to jail Blume longer, or
-- local law enforcement investigate and find victims in Florida.

Any or all of this would help keep a proven child predator away from kids for longer. So we're not just talking about a theoretical "nice thing to do" here. We're proposing a simple, inexpensive, common sense step to possibly help prevent another child from the devastating effects of child sexual abuse. Further-more, this kind of outreach serves another valuable purpose: it helps victims heal. Even if Blume dies tomorrow, or flees justice, or had never faced legal action, we know that it comforts victims when the truth about child sex crimes and cover ups is finally exposed. Victims feel better when those in authority show, by their actions, that they take child molestation seriously and care about child sex victims.

Specifically, we're asking that you
-- starting this weekend, go to parishes near Blume's home (parishes where Blume may have volunteered or just attended) and beg your flock to ask everyone they know about Blume, and call police if they have or learn any information that might help law enforcement, and
-- put clear, prominent notices in all your parish bulletins, on your diocesan website, and elsewhere that prod victims and witnesses to step forward, get help, call police, protect others and start healing.

We hope you will go beyond the bare minimum requirements of the church's national sex abuse policy. We hope you will honor the spirit of that document, and put the safety of innocent children and the well-being of wounded adults first. We hope you will reach out so that those already wounded will be reassured and those at risk of being wounded will be spared.

We look forward to hearing from you.

David ClohessyBarbara BlaineBarbara Dorris

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests