The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
For Immediate Release:
For More Information:
New List Names 19+ US Bishops Publicly Accused of Sexual Abuse
Two Groups Urge Pope Benedict to Defrock Bishops Who Molest Children and Vulnerable Adults
Church Reforms of 2002 Restrict Pedophile Priests but Not Pedophile Bishops
Some Abusive Bishops Have Retired; Church Officials Keep Their Whereabouts Secret
At a news conference and vigil, two groups concerned with the on-going Catholic sex abuse and cover-up crisis will:
- Release the first comprehensive list of US bishops who have been publicly accused of sexual abuse;
- Call on the Pope to monitor and disclose the whereabouts of resigned bishops accused of abuse;
- Ask abusive bishops' victims and witnesses to contact police and come forward to therapists and support groups to get help.
WHEN: Sunday, April 13, 1:30 pm
WHERE: At the US Capitol Reflecting Pool (center grassy panel on the WEST side) in Washington DC
VISUAL: Participants will hold colorful posters and large-sized childhood photos of victims.
20+ child sex abuse victims and advocates, including the heads of:
- SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests,), a Chicago-based, nationwide support group for clergy molestation victims, and
- BishopAccountability.org, a Boston-based research group that documents the crisis.
More than 5,000 US priests have been accused of molesting kids. Hundreds have been suspended from ministry, and dozens of abusive priests have been defrocked or jailed.
But virtually no preventive or punitive measures have been taken against bishops who have admitted to or are accused of child molestation. This, victims and advocates feel, puts kids at risk, leaves Catholics in doubt, and impedes healing throughout the church.
The list being released Sunday by BishopAccountability.org includes prelates who have: admitted child molestation (Bishop Anthony O'Connell of Knoxville TN and Palm Beach FL); been sued for abuse (Bishop Lawrence Soens of Sioux City IA); and been criminally indicted (Bishop Thomas Dupre of Springfield MA).
Most of the abuse allegations against bishops have emerged since 2002. Some bishops resigned their offices (but are still on the church's payroll and remain bishops), several are retired, and some have died. Some stay in office today, after orchestrating internal investigations that said they were innocent of the charges. None has been laicized or publicly rebuked by the Vatican.
A sexually abusive bishop is one of our society's most dangerous men, these groups say. Vulnerable to blackmail, he tolerates and conceals criminal behavior by his priests. Pedophile clergy find safe harbor in his diocese, and more and more children are raped and molested.
In June 2002 in Dallas, church leaders adopted disciplinary measures for accused priests but not accused bishops. According to church rules, only Pope Benedict can effectively deal with bishops who are known abusers or who face credible allegations.
Anne Barrett Doyle of Boston, BishopAccountability.org Co-Director, 781-439-5208
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests