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Two Bishops Asked To Warn Flocks About Convicted Pedophile Priest
He Admits Hurting Hundreds Yet Gets Out of Prison Tomorrow
Catholic Officials Have A Moral Duty To Alert Families At Risk, SNAP Says
A support group for clergy molestation victims is urging two California Catholic bishops to warn their flocks about a convicted pedophile priest who gets out of jail tomorrow. The admitted sex offender, Anthony Edward Rodrigue, will reportedly live in San Bernardino county, the same county where he abused children. http://www.pe.com/localnews/inland/stories/PE_News_Local_D_priest18.132c52b2.html
Rodrigue's brother, one of his victims, a former co-worker, and the heads of a support group are sending a letter to the heads of the San Diego and San Bernadino dioceses, asking that they alert their parishioners to the release of Rodrigue from the prison system.
The five individuals, who are affiliated with SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, are also urging both bishops to back a proposed California law which would end the criminal statute of limitations for child sexual abuse. They say that current law includes an archaic time technicality that has allowed Rodrigue and many other molesters to escape prosecution, despite overwhelming evidence and/or their own admissions to the crimes. http://www.californiafamily.org/Site/leg_billdetails.asp?BillID=285
Rodrigue, also known as Fr. Tony was ordained in 1962, registered as a sex offender in 1980 and was removed from the priesthood in 1992. He admitted in a lie detector test that he sexually abused 4-5 young boys a year while he was a priest. Rodrigue was finally sentenced to prison for one offense, despite admitting that he abused over a hundred children. He served 8 ½ years of his 10 year sentence.
In letters sent today to Bishop Robert Brom of San Diego and Bishop Gerald Barnes of San Bernardino, SNAP leaders are urging the prelates to reach out to Rodrigues victims with actions, not just words, by:
---personally visiting all parishes and schools near Rodrigues new residence,
---personally visiting the parishes where he lived or worked, and
Use diocesan websites, diocesan newspapers and parish bulletins to
---post Rodrigues photo, crimes and assignment history, and
---publicize SNAPs independent confidential self-help support group information
At every opportunity, they want the bishops to explicitly warn parishioners about his history, his release from prison and the likelihood he may contact former parishioners and/or re-offend, while also prodding victims and witnesses to contact law enforcement.
Many victims who were abused by my brother are likely still trapped in isolation, shame and self-blame, said Tom Rodrigue, SNAP supporter and Tony Rodrigues brother. These wounded men and women deserve everyones help and support, including their bishops, so that they can find the strength to come forward, get help and report the crimes to police.
While we hope that Fr. Tony wont molest again, his long history of abusing kids means we must do more than simply hope, said Margaret Schettler, a former parish employee who worked with Rodrique at Our Lady of Soledad in Coachella. In 1976, when she was 22 years old, the parish priests told Schettler to monitor Rodrigue while he was assigned at her parish. http://www.snapnetwork.org/news/calif/vow_victims_father_tony.htm
"Rodrique admits abusing more than a hundred children. So were upset he got out of prison early, said Pat Olivas of Ontario, SNAP Inland Valley Leader and survivor of Rodrigue. Its vital that his new neighbors are made aware of him and his history so kids will be safer."
Reports indicate that Rodrigue intends to move to San Bernardino County.
"Instead of starting all over again, often molesters go right back to the same families and places where theyve built up trust," said Mary Grant of Long Beach, SNAP Western Regional Director. "We're worried about the safety of kids in both counties where Rodrigue lived and worked, says Grant.
Bishops claim that the dioceses no longer have direct responsibility for Rodrique, since he is no longer a formal priest. While technically true, bishops have a moral responsibility for him, SNAP leaders believe.
You and your brother bishops recruited, educated, ordained, hired, paid, transferred and shielded Rodrigue, enabling him to abuse innocent kids time and time again. At a bare minimum, we believe you have a moral and civic duty now to warn Catholics about his release and to safeguard families in your diocese from him after he is released, said SNAPs letter to the bishops.
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests