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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Release
Victims Vigil Tonight Outside US Bishop's Meeting; Oppose 2 Candidates
Sex abuse victims vigil outside bishops meeting
They oppose two prelates running to head the organization
Abuse group urges that they be defeated in election on Tuesday
SNAP: “Both have recently protected credibly accused clerics”
-NY archbishop “quietly & deceptively” let serial pedophile resign
-AZ bishop concealed serious accusations against another predator
“Electing either would send hurt both victims & Catholics,” group says
They will also blast the bishops for refusing to
SNAP is opposing both of their candidacies
In August, SNAP says, Dolan “quietly, recklessly and deceptively” let a prominent priest resign from his Harlem parish without mentioning that at least nine men have accused the priest of molesting them as boys. Two years ago, Dolan’s predecessor found the allegations credible and suspended the cleric.
But two letters given to the parishioners – one by Dolan and one by the priest – leave the impression that the priest stepped aside for health reasons.
SNAP says Kicanas knew about serious accusations of child sexual abuse and misconduct by a Chicago priest but “did little or nothing to report these allegations to police, warn parents about him, or protect children from him.” At the time, Kicanas headed the seminary where McCormack attended and could have blocked or delayed the priest’s ordination but did not. That cleric was convicted in 2007of molesting kids and is now behind bars.
The New York case involves Msgr. Wallace A. Harris, who helped arrange the New York visit of Pope Benedict XVI in 2008. The Chicago case involves Fr. Daniel McCormack, who has now been accused by more than 20 boys. Harris remains a priest but McCormack has been defrocked.
“Kicanas’ irresponsible actions directly led to children being sexually assaulted by Fr. McCormack. It’s wrong for bishops to promote him,” said Barbara Dorris, SNAP’s outreach director. “And it’s wrong for bishops to promote Dolan, whose irresponsible actions are putting children in harm’s way right now, by deceiving the public about Msgr. Harris.”
If either man wins, SNAP contends, it will further “discourage and silence victims, witnesses and whistleblowers who seek to safeguard kids and expose predators.”
“Catholic officials should put the safety of children and young people first, and stop rewarding and promoting bishops who hide, minimize an enable child sex crimes,” said Barbara Blaine, SNAP’s president and founder. “
“Rewarding wrong-doing encourages more wrong-doing,” said David Clohessy, SNAP’s director “Honoring and elevating prelates that have so recently protected predators and endangered kids will likely prompt other church staff to act irresponsibly in the future.”
The expected winner is Kicanas, who is the bishops’ conference vice president. Several other bishops, however, are also running. SNAP is endorsing none of them, but believes a victory by Kicanas or Dolan would be most hurtful.
Three years ago, Chicago’s Cardinal Francis George, also severely implicated in the McCormack controversy, was elected to head the bishop’s conference. He’ll step down on Tuesday.
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests