The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Release
Child sex abuse victims want bishop to do “outreach”
Serial child molesting cleric abused while at local church
Six men resolved civil lawsuit last fall in Dallas against predator priest
Despite multi-million dollar settlement, he’s never been “outed” in Oklahoma
SNAP says local Catholic officials should “aggressively seek out & help” other victims
Group begs those who “saw, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes” to “come forward”
They will also prod Oklahoma’s archbishop to
Overall, Behnke worked in the Oklahoma City archdiocese for at least eight years, according to the Official Catholic Directory. From 1954-1955 and again from 1969-1974, Behnke lived and worked at Little Flower. He also staffed the mission of Our Lady of Guadalupe, 2123 SW 11th Street (Packingtown), Oklahoma City. In addition, for two years (1966-1968), he worked at Holy Rosary parish in Hartshorne, now part of the diocese of Tulsa.
As best SNAP can tell, Behnke’s crimes and his presence in Oklahoma have never been publicly disclosed by Oklahoma City Archbishop Eusebius Beltran or local news media.
SNAP will challenge Beltran to publicly apologize for and explain his silence, and to seek out others hurt by Behnke who may still be “suffering in shame, silence and self blame.” Specifically, SNAP wants Beltran to use church websites, parish bulletins, local pulpits, and his archdiocesan newspaper and website to publicize Behnke’s crimes.
All six boys known publicly to have been abused by Behnke were about 11-12 years old when the abuse began. Most were students at St. Mary of Carmel School in Dallas. The crimes happened in the rectory and during trips.
Four years before being sent to Dallas, Behnke spent five years working at Little Flower in Oklahoma City. While at Little Flower is also allegedly abused at least one child although it’s not clear where the victims lived.
He also worked for three years at Dallas’ Catholic Cathedral and was then sent to work in San Antonio.
Behnke belongs to an Oklahoma City-based religious order called the Discalced Carmelite Friars (405-235-2037), which was one of the two defendants in the cases. (The other was the Dallas Catholic diocese.) Behnke also allegedly molested at least one child in San Antonio Texas in the 1950s. Behnke died in 2008 at age 86.
The victims are represented by Dallas attorney Lori Watson and Linda Turley (214-691-4025, firstname.lastname@example.org).
Six weeks ago, Pope Benedict promised that the Catholic hierarchy would “do everything possible” to prevent future abuse. In light of that pledge, SNAP is urging Beltran to follow the lead of 24 US bishops and disclose the names of all proven, admitted and credibly accused child molesting clerics and church workers who have lived or worked in his archdiocese. In recent months, bishops in two Massachusetts dioceses (Boston and Springfield) have said they will release such lists. http://www.cbs3springfield.com/news/local/96332319.html and http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2009/03/13/cardinal_sean_omalley_cites_progress_made_against_clergy_abuse/
SNAP wants the list to include ALL credibly accused clerics - living and dead, diocesan and religious order, those ordained here and those ordained elsewhere, and those in all religious positions (deacons, brothers, nuns, bishops, seminarians and lay workers). The group wants the names permanently posted on the archdiocesan website and included periodically in each of the hundreds of weekly parish bulletins given out at mass. The information should include the cleric’s seminary background, assignment history, and current status, and be regularly updated to include newly accused individuals.
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
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests