The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
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Clergy sex abuse victims ask Giuliani to not appoint palCandidate keeps suspended pedophile priest on his payroll
Despite protests, presidential hopeful still backs childhood friend
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Rudy ignores allegations of cover ups and insults prosecutor by denying accusations
Support group wants assurances that sex offender won’t be hired in a Rudy administration
A support group for clergy sex abuse victims wants Rudy Giuliani to promise that, if elected, he won’t appoint a suspended pedophile priest to a federal post.
At several campaign stops, Giuliani's has been dogged by protests and questions about his close friend, Msgr. Alan Placa, who was accused in a thorough grand jury probe of molesting boys and helping to cover up child sex crimes by other Catholic clergy.
Leaders of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, are asking Giuliani to "pledge that he won’t pay Placa with taxpayer funds” if Giuliani wins his White House bid.
“It’s hurtful and reckless that Rudy keep paying a credibly accused child molesting cleric who’s also been identified as a cover up artist. But it would be even worse if Rudy taps him for a government job after the election," said Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, SNAP's Outreach Director.
For five years, Placa has worked for Giuliani Partners, a New York-based consulting firm. In 2002, he was suspended by his bishop yet remains on Giuliani's payroll. Giuliani insists Placa's been falsely accused.
But a 2003 Long Island grand jury report also accuses Placa of helping to "cover up the sexual abuse of children by other priests" (according to Salon.com). He "was part of a three-person team that handled allegations of abuse by clergy for the Diocese of Rockville Centre" that "resulted in the prevention, hindrance and delay in the discovery of criminal conduct by priests.” Giuliani refuses to address those allegations.
As reported in the New York Times, Newsday, and numerous other sources, Giuliani and Placa are boyhood friends and have remained close throughout their adult lives.
"Loyalty to friends is good," said David Clohessy of St. Louis, SNAP's National Director. "But helping and protecting a deceitful, callous child molester who in turn helps other child molesters is not. Placa has no place in public life and certainly not on the public’s dime."
Placa also urged church staff to deceive victims, writing in one memo "Please do not identify me as an attorney [to complainants.]" He bragged of how Rockville Centre's handling of abuse claims had resulted in the "lowest ratio of losses to assets of any diocese" and that "In the past 10 years, I have been involved in more than two hundred such cases in various parts of the country." Placa also worked for a Worcester, Mass. Center for pedophile priests. According to the grand jury, several adults testified that they were molested as kids by Placa, including an Albany man named Richard Tollner and two others.
The grand jury heard from 97 witnesses over nine months, and uncovered "deception and intimidation" by diocesan officials.
Placa's also accused of "(using) his role as a spiritual adviser to gain information from victims to strengthen the diocese's legal position" (New York Times, 2/1/03). According to Salon.com, he told a reporter "that he did not report allegations of abuse to law enforcement." The Atlantic Monthly (6/22/07 reports that Placa "was accused by a grand jury of orchestrating the over-up of nearly 60 separate molestations allegations."
According to Newsday, the grand jury report "routinely said that Placa dragged out cases to make legal redress difficult. Victims were often 'ignored, belittled and revictimized. In some cases, the grand jury finds that the diocese procrastinated for the sole purpose of making sure that the civil and criminal statutes of limitation were no longer applicable.'"
A copy of SNAP's letter to Giuliani, sent today by fax and e mail to his campaign headquarters, is below:
January 25, 2008
We’ve repeatedly asked you to fire your friend, Msgr. Alan Placa. We have asked, and others have asked, that you squarely and honestly address the serious allegations against him: that he molested three kids and that he helped dozens of other predatory priests conceal their crimes.
You’ve ignored those requests. Yet we hope that you will at least agree with us on one point: Placa should never be on the public payroll.
He's been accused of molesting kids. He's also been accused of helping to cover up the crimes of other child molesting clergy. These aren't anonymous accusations from questionable sources. They come from impartial grand jurors, professional prosecutors, and at least three victims who have testified under oath about the abuse they suffered. (One of them, Richard Tollner, has identified himself publicly and repeatedly discussed his experiences in interviews.)
The charges are credible and serious enough that Placa’s own bishop has suspended him and forbidden him to work as a priest or publicly present himself as a priest for five years now.
Both you and Msgr. Placa have had five years to explain how all of these people – the victims, the prosecutors, the grand jurors, and the dozens of reputable journalists who have examined the grand jury report – might be so terribly mistaken. Both you and Msgr. Placa have had five years to produce one scintilla of evidence that might help exonerate Placa or cast doubt on his accusers. Both you and Msgr. Placa have had five years to take legal action against all those who have allegedly ‘falsely accused’ Placa.
You're obviously busy now, running for the Republican presidential nomination. But, if you honestly feel Placa's innocent, you should publicly explain why you failed to take any of these steps at any point over the past five years, when presumably the prosecutors' wrongdoing was fresh in your mind, when you had more time, and when you theoretically could have spared your friend years of agony and perhaps gotten him returned to ministry. You might have even spared other innocent Long Island citizens who might have been 'falsely accused' by their prosecutor. Yet you did nothing. And Placa did nothing.
Instead, you have repeatedly (but vaguely and briefly) professed Placa’s innocence and given him a job. By doing so, you continue to rub more salt into the already deep and still fresh wounds of his victims. And you continue to give Placa the veneer of respectability that could allow him to gain access to and molest more kids.
We ask now that, at a bare minimum, you promise that, if elected, you will not give this dangerous man a government job (and the status and authority that comes with one). Robbers often use guns and ski masks to get into banks and steal money. Child molesters often use their jobs to get into families and steal their children’s innocence. We ask that you not enable Placa to do this while on the public’s payroll.
Finally, we again appeal to you to confront the charges against your pal directly. Instead of dismissing the serious allegations against Placa in a vague sentence or two, address them head-on. Specifically address the cover up charges, not just the molestation charges. Explain precisely why you believe that he's innocent. (Having known him a long time is no explanation.) Enlighten us as to why Placa's bishop (who knows better than anyone what Placa has done) has suspended him and kept him on suspension for five years now.
You were raised Catholic. We were raised Catholic. All of us were taught that it's morally wrong to stay silent in the face of wrongdoing or to facilitate wrongdoing. You've essentially stayed silent for five years now (offering nothing beyond an occasional “Alan’s my friend; I believe him”). At least, we beg you, publicly pledge that you’ll keep him off the government’s payroll if you are elected president.
Barbara Dorris email@example.com
David Clohessy firstname.lastname@example.org
Barbara Blaine email@example.com
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests