The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Sex Abuse Victims Challenge Catholic Officials
Stop The Secrecy About Clergy Sex Crimes, They Urge
Group Blasts Wyoming Diocese For Staying Silent When Proven Predator Violated Probation
Self Help Organization Also Wants Church Panel to Review Allegations Against Retired Wyoming Bishop
That news became public last week, only because the Star Tribune newspaper reported it. SNAP leaders strongly feel Wyoming church officials should have disclosed that this proven predator is around kids, even though hes not supposed to be. This is especially true, the group believes, because Murray is apparently still a priest on the diocesan payroll and because bishops have repeatedly pledged openness and transparency in child sex cases.
SNAP also believes Murray probably violated his parole conditions other times but was not detected, because it defies common sense that the first and only time a child molester breaks the rules, he happens to be caught. SNAP wants him to be harshly punished because criminals are deterred from wrongdoing only if wrongdoing has real consequences. (Murray's probation could be revoked, according to news accounts.)
The group also wants Cheyennes diocesan sex abuse panel to probe allegations that retired Bishop Joseph Hart molested boys. In November, for the first time ever, a similar panel in Iowa determined that abuse allegations against retired Sioux City Bishop Laurence Soens were credible. (He is accused of abusing at least 31 boys.) SNAP feels Wyoming Catholics deserve to have the Cheyenne panel investigation similar accusations against Hart.
In August 2008, the last of six civil lawsuits charging Hart with child sex abuse were settled. Through his lawyers, Hart has denied the allegations. Last fall, however, one of his attorneys promised that Hart's position on the claims would be presented "at the appropriate time." Hart still has not addressed them.
Hart has been represented by Lawrence Ward in Missouri and by Jack Speight in Wyoming. His victims have been represented by Rebecca Randles and Sarah Brown of Kansas City (816 931 9901) and Patrick Noaker of St. Paul MN (651 227 9990, 612 961 1307 cell).
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests