The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
Letter to Bishop Leonard Blair
May 24, 2010Bishop Leonard Blair
Diocese of Toledo
1933 Spielbusch Ave
Toledo, OH 43604
Dear Bishop Blair:
We are writing you for two reasons - because of a recent judicial decision and a convicted murderer-priest. Both are hurtful to clergy sex abuse victims.
As you no doubt know, earlier this month, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that an alleged child sex abuse victim was unable to pursue a civil lawsuit because of the statute of limitations. She alleged that she had repressed memories of the sexual abuse until 2007, when a news event triggered the recovery of the memories. But the Court decided that a 2006 state law essentially prohibits most cases involving repressed memories, which Ohio law had previously allowed. http://www.legalbaldeagle.com/
We in SNAP want legislators to 1) restore the victims' rights which were taken away by the 2006 law, and 2) open up a one or two year civil 'window' which lets anyone victimized as a child by any predator take legal action against him/her (and complicit colleagues and supervisors) in court. Such "windows" in California and Delaware led to hundreds of dangerous and potentially dangerous predators being publicly exposed, suspended from jobs around kids, and some of them even criminally charged and convicted.
In recent years, Pope Benedict has made numerous comments and pledges to do more about dangerous priests.
(In 2006, for instance, while discussing the clergy sex abuse and cover up crisis with Irish bishops, he said "It is important to establish the truth of what happened." More recently, he said "forgiveness does not substitute justice.")
In light of these facts, we hope that you (and your brother bishops in Ohio) will support, not oppose, such long-overdue, desperately-needed secular legislative reforms, so that more predators can be exposed, more truth about cover-ups can be revealed, more children can be protected and more justice and healing can be achieved.
Our second concern is Fr. Gerald Robinson. As best we can tell, he is still a priest, despite having been convicted of murder and accused of child sexual abuse.
In recent weeks, the Pope's defenders (usually top Vatican staff) have claimed he is doing "everything he can" to punish abusers and protect kids. They claim he's speeded up the process of ousting predators. The Pope himself claims he'll take more "action" against abusive clerics.
How can victims and Catholics believe such claims while one of the most egregious criminal priests in the US remains a priest?
We urge you to do everything in your power to speed up the process of defrocking Robinson so that a clear message is sent - that clerics who murder and abuse will face serious consequences - and so that his victims and their families can feel some closure and attain some healing.
In the spirit of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People that you and your brother bishops adopted wherein you committed yourselves to openness and transparency, we ask that you disclose what amount, if any, you are paying Father Robinson. We also want to know what, if any, agreement you made with Robinson regarding his position as a priest. According to a Toledo Blade report he claims to have an agreement with you.
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests