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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Release
For immediate release: Monday, Feb. 22, 2010
Clergy sex abuse victims push Catholic bishop
They urge church officials to seek info on accused priest
Alleged predator faces charges overseas for molesting a boy
But prelates in Indiana and Michigan should seek out others, SNAP says
Self help group believes more likely “saw, suspected or suffered” cleric’s crimes
A support group for clergy sex abuse victims is urging Catholic bishops in two states to help law enforcement with a criminal child sex abuse case against an Irish priest who lives in Indiana but worked until recently in Michigan.
Last week at sidewalk news conferences in South Bend and Ft. Wayne, members of a self help group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org) hand delivered letters to Indiana Catholic officials about Fr. Francis Markey. Markey will likely soon be extradited to his homeland where he faces charges of raping a boy twice. Last week, U.S. Magistrate Judge Christopher Nuechterlein denied Markey’s request to remain in the US.
News accounts indicate that until a few weeks ago, Markey had been working as a drug and addiction counselor in Niles, Michigan, with clients including young people.
SNAP’s letters urged the Ft. Wayne-South Bend bishop to
Today, SNAP is sending a similar letter to Kalamazoo Bishop Paul J. Bradley, whose diocese includes Niles. (A copy of SNAP’s letter to Bradley, sent this morning by fax and e mail, is below.)
Specifically, the group wants Bishop Bradley and new Indiana Bishop Kevin Rhoades and his staff to use their diocesan websites, diocesan newspapers and dozens of parish bulletins and parish websites to alert parishioners to the allegations against Markey. SNAP also wants the bishops to personally visit parishes near where Markey lived and worked, (even temporarily substituting for a vacationing priest by saying Sunday masses) and prodding victims and witnesses to speak up.
All too often, the group says, Catholic hierarchy does “the bare minimum,” and responds only to subpoenas, rather than taking the initiative to help law enforcement find victims, witnesses and information that can help build strong criminal cases against predator priests.
According to an Irish newspaper, “Markey, 82, was arrested by US marshals last November at his Indiana home in connection with the alleged rape of a 15-year-old boy in 1968. Markey and his attorneys have been fighting the extradition bid since. (He’s) accused of raping a 15-year-old boy twice, including the day of the then-teenager's father's funeral.”
Markey’s lawyers include Mahmoud Bassiouni and Robert Truitt. Assistant US attorney Kenneth Hays has been prosecuting the case.
The Most Reverend Paul J. Bradley
February 22, 2010
Dear Bishop Bradley:
As you already know, Fr. Francis Markey faces criminal charges in Ireland of twice raping a boy. We believe you have a moral and civic duty to act quickly to help protect the vulnerable and heal the wounded in child sex cases, especially ones like this, where a conviction is possible and a potentially dangerous man might be kept away from children.
It doesn’t matter how or why Markey got here or worked in Michigan. It doesn’t matter who ordained him, has paid him or is paying him. What matters is that you use your considerable power and resources to have law enforcement quickly get to the bottom of these allegations, instead of acting like so many of your colleagues act: passively sitting back, making excuses, and doing little to help heal the wounded or protect the vulnerable.
We hear he’s not on your payroll and hasn’t had a parish assignment in your diocese. And we know it’s tempting to split hairs, deny responsibility, and do nothing. But we hope you will fight that temptation. We hope you realize that if an accused predator is guilty, and if kids are to be protected, every adult (not just his current employer or direct supervisor) must do whatever he/she can to get victims, witnesses and whistleblowers to call law enforcement about known or suspected pedophiles.
Church history, doctrine, structure and practice hold you responsible for the safety and welfare of Catholics in your diocese. So we believe you have an obligation to alert others - both parishioners and the public - about these criminal charges, and aggressively prod people to call the police if they have seen, suspected or suffered any crimes by him.
We also believe you should disclose any allegations that you may have against this priest, and send any records on him you may have, rather than waiting for a subpoena. You aren’t a trained police officer or prosecutor, so you can’t really know what information might be helpful. So we urge you to provide as much paperwork as possible on Markey to criminal authorities. Again, our goal is to help get a quick and fair resolution to this case.
We also urge you to personally visit places he worked (even temporarily substituting for a vacationing priest by saying Sunday masses), prodding victims and witnesses to come forward, get help, call police, protect others and start healing.
Please aggressively reach out to anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered crimes by Markey. Please use your diocesan website, diocesan newspaper, employees, parish websites and parish bulletins to urge other victims and witnesses to contact law enforcement immediately with any information about this priest.
We hope you will act decisively and quickly to heal those who are in pain and to safeguard those at risk.
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests