SNAP slams new NH Catholic bishop
LibasciLibasci moves from one of the nation’s most scandal-ridden dioceses to another. For more than 30 years, he was a priest in Rockeville Centre, a diocese whose officials were called “reprehensible” by an impartial citizen after a long grand jury investigation.
That 2003 probe also found 58 credibly accused priests, and determined that church officials
--conceived and agreed to a plan using deception and intimidation to prevent victims from seeking legal solutions to their problems.
--engaged “in conduct that resulted in the prevention, hindrance and delay in the discovery of criminal conduct by priests.”
--“insisted upon confidentiality agreements” which “put children at risk”
--“Ignored credible complaints” of abuse
--“failed to act on obvious warning signs” and
--in court, “pursued aggressive legal strategies.”
New Hampshire’s new bishop will claim ignorance of these stunningly deceptive practices. But we find that simply impossible to believe. And even if that’s true, we see little evidence that he did anything in the wake of the grand jury’s report, to insist on real reform.
In other words, we fear New Hampshire Catholics, citizens and kids are in for “more of the same.”
We beg New Hampshire citizens to read the Suffolk County grand jury report (available at BishopAccountability.org - http://www.bishop-accountability.org/reports/2003_02_10_SuffolkGrandJury/) remember that their new bishop spent decades – as a priest, then a bishop – in the diocese that was accused, by an impartial panel of citizens who studied the issue, of engineering a systematic and relatively recent cover-up of accused priests.
McCormack essentially acted in the same reckless, callous and deceitful ways his former boss, Cardinal Bernard Law, acted. But he more disingenuously exploited the “I was just taking orders” and “I relied on others for those decisions” defense.
He acted recklessly, callously and deceitfully with clergy sex crimes and cover ups in both New Hampshire and Massachusetts, steadfastly refusing to tell the truth about his wrongdoing in either state.
Hoping to help prevent embarrassing trials, McCormack reached an agreement with NH authorities. But he soon started backtracking, delaying all of the planned state audits of his diocese and ultimately thwarting one of them.
With the last year, McCormack and his lawyers tried, in court, to force a child sex abuse victim to publicly disclose his name, a long-standing hardball legal tactic that flatly contradicts claims by Catholic officials that they supposedly treat victims with sensitivity.
In the days ahead, we hope McCormack will reverse himself on a key public safety measure. We hope he will list on his diocesan website the names, whereabouts and work histories of all child molesting clerics who have lived or worked (or still do).
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 23 years and have more than 10,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, SNAPclohessy@aol.com), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747, SNAPblaine@gmail.com), Peter Isely (414-429-7259, firstname.lastname@example.org), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)
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.
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.