The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Release
Sex abuse victims “out” another predator priest
He was first publicly exposed last week in Boston
A child sex lawsuit against the cleric has been settled
But he’s still on the job today at a San Antonio college
Group blast Catholic officials for “continued recklessness”
SNAP to Archbishop: “Insist that his supervisors suspend him”
The victims will also criticize
They will also beg
Last week at a news conference in Massachusetts, prominent plaintiff’s attorney Mitchell Garabedian (617 523 6250) revealed that Catholic officials have reached a settlement in a child sex abuse and cover up lawsuit against Fr. Donald J. Joyce and his church supervisors. In a 2006 civil lawsuit filed in Massachusetts, Joyce is accused of “repeated explicit, lewd and lascivious behavior” against an 11 year old in 1977 at Sacred Heart Parish in Lowell MA (in the Boston Archdiocese). The amount of the settlement was not disclosed.
Joyce belongs to a Catholic religious order called the Oblates of Mary Immaculate.
SNAP is upset with former San Antonio Archbishop Jose Gomez who kept silent about the accusations and lawsuit. His silence, the group believes, violates the US Conference of Catholic Bishops child sex abuse policy (adopted in 2002) that mandates “openness and transparency” in child sex cases. Gomez is now in the Los Angeles and will take full control of that archdiocese next year.
SNAP wants San Antonio Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller to insist that the Oblates suspend Joyce and aggressively seek out others who may have seen, suspected or suffered Joyce’s crimes.
Joyce was also at Oblate College in Washington DC three times (1959-60, 1983-85, 1988-89 and 1994-98) and spent time at two other DC Catholic institutions - the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate Provincial Residence (1989-1992) and the Oblate Center for Mission Studies (1989-92).
The suit named one Oblate (Fr. George Croft) and two Boston archdiocesan officials (Fr. Joseph P. Smyth and Bishop Thomas V. Daily) as defendants. The victim is Michael Hallberg of Amesbury, MA ().
SNAP is also upset because twice last week, long-secret Vatican letters surfaced telling bishops to hide information about priests’ misdeeds from criminal and civil authorities. The documents contradict long-standing Vatican claims that top church officials don’t order bishops to be secretive about child molesting clerics.
A 1997 letter tells Irish bishops that the Vatican has “serious reservations” about making it mandatory for bishops to report known and suspected child sex crimes to law enforcement. And 1984 letter tells a US bishop that "the files of a bishop concerning his priests are altogether private (and) that no priest's files will be sent to any lawyer or judge whatever.” Both are signed by high-ranking Vatican officials and were never disclosed publicly until this week. Both are posted at BishopAccountability.org (and copies will be available at today’s event).
Even now, despite Pope Benedict’s apologies and promises, “current Vatican policy, updated last year, offers merely a nonbinding advisory — not a firm mandate — that diocesan officials should report crimes to police” (according to the New York Times). SNAP wants San Antonio’s bishop to push Vatican officials to change this.
Last August, SNAP publicly disclosed that between 1949-1992, Fr. Thomas Behnke worked at seven churches in the San Antonio archdiocese and that a $4.65 million settlement was made with six of his victims. In 2009, SNAP revealed that Fr. Charles H. Miller (who had recently worked in San Antonio) was “credibly accused” of “sexual misconduct” against a local teen in 1980. Also in 2009, SNAP publicly disclosed that Br. Richard A. Suttle was living in a San Antonio parish despite having been suspended for allegedly molesting a child in the 1980s
In 2008, SNAP disclosed that three former San Antonio priests are believed to have moved to foreign countries after having been credibly accused of molesting kids here (Michael Kenney, believed to be in Ireland, Jose Luis Sandoval, believed to be in Mexico, and Alfredo Prado, believed to be in Costa Rica).
In each of these cases, it was SNAP leaders, not church officials, who alerted the public to these predators.
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests