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He Allowed Accused and Suspended Priest Back Into Parish
SNAP Urges Cardinal To Enforce Zero Tolerance Policy
Leaders of a nationwide support group for clergy abuse victims are urging Cardinal Francis George to discipline a Catholic priest who allowed a suspected child molester back into his parish.
Because of abuse charges, Father John Calicott of Holy Angels parish was twice removed from ministry, by two different bishops. He admitted "sexual misconduct" with two boys. Yet until weeks ago, Calicott has been teaching classes to kids, including sex education, back at the very same parish from where he was removed.
The pastor of Holy Angels, Fr. George Miller, has admitted he permitted Calicott to help at the school and parish because he "doesn't believe in that zero tolerance policy."
"Fr. Miller is openly defying Cardinal George," said Barbara Blaine, president and founder of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. "The Cardinal needs to decide who runs his archdiocese. When it comes to the sexual abuse of kids, he either has a 'zero tolerance' policy or a 'turn a blind eye' policy. The Cardinal must choose."
"Why bother removing abusive priests if those dangerous men simply sneak back in and no one suffers any consequences?" said Blaine.
"The Cardinal can remove suspected abusers day in and day out, but if their brother priests let them back in, kids will be in danger," said David Clohessy of St. Louis, SNAP's national director.
In recent interviews with local media, both Miller pastor and Calicott
himself admitted the suspended cleric has been at the parish a great
"But Father Calicott is not the issue. Father Miller is,"
Blaine said. "How can Cardinal George allow Miller to elude
responsibility for this deliberately dangerous and disrespectful
Two of Cardinal George's colleagues, Bishop William Lori of Bridgeport and Bishop Charles Grahmann of Dallas, have disciplined priests who defy zero tolerance policies, the SNAP leaders claim.
Former Connecticut priest Laurence Brett was wanted by the FBI for molesting kid in three states. They tracked him down to a Caribbean island, but he narrowly escaped. Agents did find evidence that two Bridgeport priests had corresponded with Brett, a criminal suspect on the run from the law. Bishop Lori disciplined those two priests.
In Dallas, in the wake of the widely publicized Fr. Rudy Kos case, the diocese began background checks on all parish employees. A Dallas Morning News investigation showed that at least two pastors failed to implement these simple safeguards. In response to public pressure, Bishop Grahmann demoted these errant pastors to smaller parishes.
"By taking these sound management steps, both church leaders
sent their flock a clear signal: hiding or enabling a child molester
will not be tolerated," Blaine said. "Cardinal George
needs to do likewise."
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests