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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
For immediate release:
For more information:
Sex Abuse Group Urges Bishop To Reach Out To Victims In Mexico
DA Says Abusive Priest May Be Hiding There
Cleric Was Already Convicted Of Molestation in 2000
Group Suspicious of Bishop's Protocol With Prosecutor
A support group for clergy abuse victims is asking a Catholic bishop to turn over personnel files of a convicted abusive priest to law enforcement and use public announcements to help police track him down and extradite him from Mexico, where prosecutors believe he has fled. (Press-Enterprise, article, 2/1/05)
The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), is writing San Bernardino Bishop Gerald Barnes to publicly urge anyone who experienced or witnessed sex crimes by Fr. Jesse Dominguez, either in California or Mexico, to come forward and contact to criminal authorities. The group also wants Barnes to publicly urge Mexican bishops to notify all parishes that children may be at risk of abuse because of Dominguezs possible presence there.
Barnes has been unwilling to release Dominguez' personnel records to local prosecutors. He claims he's afraid Dominguez will sue him for privacy violations (Press-Enterprise article, 3/8/05).
Your diocese is being sued, in numerous cases, for allegedly harboring known and suspected molesters. It is ironic and sad you now supposedly fear being sued by an already convicted molester. You and your brother bishops have already been repeatedly accused of siding with perpetrators over children. It would frankly be refreshing to see a bishop accused of siding with children over perpetrators for once. Lay Catholics, we believe, would applaud a bishop who showed such concern for children, said SNAP in its letter to Barnes.
The group is also highly skeptical of Barnes' expressed interest in working out some sort of "protocol" with the district attorney that would dictate what information about Dominguez would be turned over.
SNAP points to the Vatican's recent secret request of U.S Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (http://natcath.org/NCR_Online/archives2/2005a/031105/031105h.php) to intervene and dismiss pending civil sex abuse cases against Catholic officials who allegedly knowingly harbored known and suspected molesters in the U.S.
We are not surprise that Bishop Barnes is trying to strike a deal with prosecutors. Vatican officials are similarly attempting to thwart justice in the courts for clergy sex crimes, says Jaime Romo, SNAPs San Diego Director.
Your time and energy would be better spent, we feel, launching an aggressive outreach to witnesses and victims of Dominguez and other known and alleged molesters in your diocese, said SNAPs letter to Barnes.
Dominguez now faces 58 counts of child molestation. Prosecutors seized some of his records recently with a search warrant.
We applaud prosecutors for obtaining a search warrant to seize Dominguezs personnel files from the diocese like they should with any other known or suspected criminal. We are relieved that they were not influenced by church officials historic unquestionable power and influence with government officials to protect them and their clergy accused of these heinous crimes, said Mary Grant, SNAPs Western Regional Director.
SNAP is a national self-help support group for men and women victimized by clergy.
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
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