The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
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Clergy sex abuse victims cite worst US Cardinals
Pope will meet with them today in Washington DC
Group wants him to publicly censure at least one of them
New list outlines recent examples of 'recklessness, secrecy & deceit'
Houston, Chicago, Boston, LA and New York archdioceses are named
At a sidewalk news conference today in Washington DC, leaders of a suppport group for clergy sex abuse victims are releasing what they call a list of 'America's worst Cardinals' regarding the clergy molestation and cover up scandal.
Using publicly documented sources, SNAP leaders outline "troubling cases of very recent cover-ups and failures," undertaken since US bishops adopted an allegedly binding national child sex policy that mandates 'openness' in clergy sex cases.
The list includes the heads of the Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago, Boston and New York archdioceses.
"It's important for the Pope to understand that it's not just especially recalcitrant bishops or inexperience bishops who are still being corrupt," said Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, SNAP's outreach director. "Even now, just a few short years after promising to reform themselves, some of the most powerful and well-educated American Catholic officials continue to act recklessly, secretively and deceitfully in child sex abuse cases."
In one case, a cardinal let a school principal keep working at a school during a police investigation (Los Angeles). In another case, a cardinal withheld a credible child abuse report from the police and parishioners for two months (Houston). In a third case, national church officials have found a cardinal in violation of the US bishops national child molestation policy two years in a row, for refusing to offer abuse training to all the kids in his archdiocese (Boston).
A copy of SNAP's fact sheet is below. It is being sent later today to the Papal Nuncio in Washington DC.
FACT SHEET – America’s worst 5 Catholic Cardinals on child sex abuse & cover-ups
NOTE: This list focuses largely on the Cardinals’ admitted, proven, and alleged misdeeds within the past six years, AFTER the US bishops pledged to respond more quickly, openly and compassionately to clergy child molestation.
(For decades, however, these highly-educated men knew that child sex crimes were illegal, wrong and hurtful.)
Cardinal Francis George of Chicago
-- In August 2005, Fr. Daniel McCormack was questioned by the police because of abuse allegations. Two months later, the Chicago lay review board recommended that George suspend McCormack. George refused, kept silent and let his chancellor promote McCormack. Three months later, police arrested McCormack again. During those last few months of his active parish ministry in Chicago’s inner city, McCormack molested at least three boys, the district attorney said. (One of the children, prosecutors say, had been assaulted “on an almost daily” basis.)
McCormack has pled guilty to child molestation.
Later, records obtained by victims’ attorneys showed that in 1999, a school principal reported accusations against McCormack to archdiocesan officials. Nothing was done.
Adding insult to injury, five high ranking church officials closely involved in this fiasco have since been promoted.
The female veteran school principal (who was the only archdiocesan staffer to call the police) has, however, been fired. Church authorities refuse to say why.
-- While the McCormack case has received some attention, George has displayed shocking callousness, recklessness and secrecy in other, post-2002 cases. Perhaps most notably, within months of the adoption of the so-called ‘reforms’ in Dallas, George knowingly and secretly let a convicted predator priest (Fr. Kenneth Martin) work in the archdiocese and live, part-time, with George in George’s mansion.
Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles
• In 2005 or 2006, LA church and school officials were questioned by police about current child sex abuse allegations against John Malburg. Malburg was a Catholic high school principal from a politically prominent family. The archdiocese didn't suspend him. They told no one about the investigation. Six months later, Malburg was arrested and criminally charged. Parents asked church officials "Why didn't you tell us? Why didn't you suspend him?" Cardinal Mahony's PR man told the LA Times "Law enforcement told us to keep quiet." The next day, in the LA Times, prosecutors said they never made any such request.
• In just nine months, police say, Fr. Nicholas Aguilar Rivera, sexually assaulted at least 26 boys in Los Angeles.
In August 2007, long-secret church records about Aguilar were publicly disclosed. According to the New York Times, the documents showed that then-Msgr. Thomas Curry “tipped off” the accused pedophile priest who then fled to Mexico to avoid criminal prosecution.(An LA district attorney said Curry “facilitated” Aguilar’s flight.) Aguilar went on to molest kids in Mexico later.
Curry is now one of Mahony’s auxiliary bishops. Despite public pleas to discipline Curry, or at least speak out about Curry’s irresponsible secrecy, Mahony said and did nothing.
• For years, Mahony stayed secretly let an admitted child molesting cleric live in his archdiocese (in a picturesque religious complex overlooking the ocean), despite the cleric’s being wanted on criminal charges in Canada. In 2005, when SNAP and others demanded that Mahony and his colleagues turn Franciscan friar Gerald Chumik to law enforcement, he let Chumik move from Santa Barbara Mission Church in Santa Barbara to Missouri.
For 14 years, Chumik has been a fugitive from his native Canada.
SNAP leaders believe this needlessly put children at risk and is a clear violation of the much-touted Dallas Charter which all American bishops adopted in June of 2002.
• Elected district attorneys rarely feud in public with powerful religious figures. But in October 2005, (more than three years after Mahony pledged “openness” about child sex abuse and cover ups), Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley said “Three years ago, I urged Cardinal Mahony to provide the fullest possible disclosure of evidence of sexual abuse by clergy. Despite two court rulings ordering full disclosure, Cardinal Mahony continues to claim ‘confidentiality privileges’ that no court has recognized.”
Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Houston
• In November 2007, a victim reported having been sexually abused by Fr. Stephen Horn between 1989 and 1993. DiNardo found him credible and suspended Horn. The Cardinal, however, kept the allegation and his determination secret from parishioners, police and the public for two months, despite US bishops’ repeated pledges to act quickly and openly with credibly sex abuse allegations. Finally, in mid-January, DiNardo disclosed his action. (The delay gave Horn, a credibly accused molester, ample opportunity to fabricate alibis, destroy evidence, intimidate victims, threaten witnesses, or even flee the country, as some pedophile priests have done.)
Part of DiNardo’s secrecy and delay occurred in the weeks between when the Pope announced that DiNardo would be named a Cardinal (October 2007) and when DiNardo was promoted amid much pageantry (November 24). Some Houston Catholics have speculated that DiNardo didn’t want the news of Horn’s crimes to ‘rain on (DiNardo’s) parade’
Weeks ago, SNAP wrote DiNardo, urging him to explain and apologize for his secrecy. SNAP has urged the cardinal to visit parishes where Horn worked and emphatically beg victims and witnesses to come forward, get help and call the police. He has not responded to either the letter or the request.
• When he was a bishop in Sioux City Iowa, DiNardo similarly mishandled the Fr. George McFadden case in Iowa, only disclosing the allegations against this predator priest long afterwards.)
Beginning in the 1990s (and likely longer), Sioux City church officials knew of repeated charges of child molestation against McFadden, an admitted abuser, dating back into the 1960s. (DiNardo was Sioux City bishop starting in 1997.) For at least five years (and even later), DiNardo had the chance to disclose McFadden's hurtful actions to police, prosecutors, parishioners, and the public, and to keep McFadden from other vulnerable children. He stayed silent.
According to the Des Moines Register, "The confessed child molester continued to hear confession and say Mass daily over the past decade at the Cathedral of the Epiphany, Sioux City's largest Catholic church.)
McFadden is accused of abusing more than 25 girls and boys in dozens of civil lawsuits. Despite his alleged 'treatment' and 'retirement' in the 1990s, he continued to function as priest until 2002.
Cardinal Sean O'Malley of Boston
• Last month church officials disclosed that, for the second year in a row, O’Malley is in violation of the US bishops' child sex abuse prevention policy.
Much in the policy is meaningless public relations, SNAP is convinced. But O’Malley’s breaking one of the proven, practical requirements that help prevent abuse: training kids how to avoid or stop being victimized.
Roughly one in five Boston Catholic children is not receiving this training. Every child is supposed to receive it.
Worse, O’Malley tries to dodge responsibility for this clear, egregious refusal by blaming pastors and parishioners.
But O’Malley’s had six years to persuade colleagues to weaken the national abuse policy, devise alternative programs, or get on board (and get his employees on board). He’s done none of these three steps.
Nor has he disciplined a single individual for flaunting this national requirement.
• In a 2006 case with disturbing parallels to many of the hundreds of Boston pedophile priest cases, O’Malley moved very slowly and gingerly against a prominent Catholic hospital official who faces multiple allegations of sexually harassing employees.
A high ranking human resources official at the hospital “accused O'Malley of improperly interceding in the investigation to help (the accused), giving him advance notice of the probe, providing him with an adviser, and telling of the reprimand before consulting with the board,” according to the Boston Globe.
The cardinal's actions ''have made a mockery of the investigation. It is nothing short of shameful," she wrote.
“Perhaps most troubling" was what she called the ''near absence" of concern for the women complainants that she said was shown by the church hierarchy
Cardinal Edward Egan of New York
-- Less than two months ago, the New York Post reported “The former principal of a prestigious Catholic high school who resigned amid allegations of inappropriate images on his work computer was allowed to stay on the job for nearly five months after a priest wrote the New York Archdiocese accusing him of serious misconduct.”
-- In 2003, Egan became the first US prelate to refuse to say mass for the devoutly Catholic, hand-picked, distinguished lay panel chosen by bishops to look at the church’s child sex abuse crisis. According to the New York Times, Egan also “interfered with” and prevented the US bishops’ ‘watchdog’ on clergy sex cases from speaking in his archdiocese.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the nation’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 17 years and have more than 8,000 members across the country. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests