The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Release
Victims push Catholic officials for action
Alleged church probe into predator enters 8th month
But there’s no evidence that anything’s happening, says SNAP
Self help group knows of no one who’s been contacted about priest
Cleric impregnated vulnerable young woman & ignored their child
Suspended last fall, he is also accused of molesting an Illinois teenager
SNAP to St. Louis Franciscans: “Citizens, Catholics & victims deserve answers”
Victims also want new Springfield bishop to disclose the names of child-molesting clerics
They will also prod a new Illinois bishop to post all the names of central Illinois child molesting clerics on his diocesan website.
Since October, all of the relevant church officials have been silent about Willenborg’s whereabouts, status, and their supposed investigation. These include the Franciscans and bishops in Wisconsin and Illinois. SNAP says it doesn’t know of a single person who’s been contacted by church officials about Willenborg, and hasn’t seen a single sign of any public outreach, such as news releases, ads, letters to current or former church members or employees. And SNAP believes no such probe needs to take eight months to finish.
Such silence and inaction violates the US church abuse policy, which calls for sensitivity toward victims and openness in clergy sex cases, SNAP says.
At the time of his ouster, Willenborg was working at Our Lady of the Lake church in Ashland, Wisconsin (in the Superior Diocese). The move was prompted, in part, by a long, page one New York Times story which disclosed that Willenborg seduced a young devout Illinois Catholic woman, impregnated her twice, urged her to have an abortion once, then for more than two decades essentially ignored the boy he fathered. In the same article, another woman said that Willenborg had sexually abused her when she was in high school in Quincy. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/16/us/16priest.html
This is Bishop Thomas Paprocki’s first full week in his new job as head of the Springfield IL Diocese. SNAP is asking him to take two immediate steps to protect the vulnerable and heal the wounded. The group wants him to do what 24 other bishops have done, and post on his website, for the sake of public safety, the names, whereabouts and priestly status of child molesting clerics who are or have been in central Illinois. Second, SNAP wants him to work hard to find and help anyone who may have been hurt by a priest who is accused of sexually violating an Illinois girl.
According to a Boston-based independent research group called BishopAccountabilty.org, there are eight publicly accused Springfield diocesan child molesting clerics. SNAP notes that the actual number of Springfield-area pedophile priests is likely much higher because BishopAccountability.org lists only those clerics against whom allegations have been lodged in the public domain – in civil lawsuits, criminal prosecution or news accounts.
In 2002, Baltimore became the first US diocese to disclose names. A good current example is the Philadelphia archdiocese: http://archphila.org/protection/Updates/update_main.htm. Here is a list of all the dioceses that have disclosed names: http://www.bishop-accountability.org/AtAGlance/lists.htm
(SNAP is holding a similar news conference today in Quincy IL about Willenborg and is sending letters to Paprocki and Superior Bishop Peter Christensen about him.)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests