SNAP reacts to publication of list of credibly accused clergy in Indiana
For immediate release, September 19, 2018
Statement by Becky Ianni, SNAP Board Treasurer, 703-801-6044, email@example.com
Yesterday the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend published the names of priests and deacons who have been "credibly accused" of the sexual abuse of minors in that diocese.
While we are thankful that Bishop Kevin Rhoades released the names of these 18 clergymen, we have to ask the question: why now? The Bishop could have released this list in 2010 when he took the helm of the Fort Wayne-South Bend Diocese, but he didn’t. Is this sudden transparency due to what was said about Bishop Rhoades in the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report?
The Bishop previously worked in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The Grand Jury Report specifically mentioned him and said that he cautioned against publicly releasing information about an accused priest, William Presley. In a letter to the Vatican, Bishop Rhoades wrote, "Were this information to become known, especially in the light of his offers of public assistance at Mass in serval (sic) parishes, great public scandal would arise within this diocese."
Whatever the reason for Bishop Rhoades' sudden embrace of transparency, victims are helped to heal and children are safer when the accused are named.
However, we also have to ask if the Bishop's list is really complete? Father Ralph Luczak, who worked in the Diocese, can be found on Bishops Accountability, the watchdog group that has been documenting the Catholic sex abuse scandal. However, Father Luczak is not on the list released yesterday by Bishop Rhoades.
SNAP believes that the only way to learn the whole truth about any diocese or archdiocese is through a secular investigation where the investigators have subpoena power and can give an unbiased report. We hope that the Attorney General in Indiana will launch just such an investigation.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, is the world's oldest and largest support group for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has a network of more than 25,000 survivors and supporters. Our website isSNAPnetwork.org )
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
The Attorneys General of forty states have inquired about the grand jury process in Pennsylvania. Let's get statewide investigations going in fifty states.
Note to Letter Writers
Use your own words and style of writing. Cut and paste from the templates as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you were abused in or state now living in.