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SNAP
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- 2003



 


The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Statements



Some Bishops Split Hairs
To Protect & Keep Abusers in Active Ministry


Fact Sheet
July 29, 2003

CASE 1 - Just two weeks ago in Sacramento, a Catholic priest now assigned to Sacramento's St. Francis of Assisi parish was removed from the ministry in Oregon last year after he admitted to sexual misconduct with minors. From the Sacramento Bee (7/11/03): "The Rev. Gus Krumm was relocated here six weeks ago by his Franciscan order, which never informed the Sacramento Diocese of his past problems. Krumm lives in the St. Francis friary, next to the parish elementary school in midtown. The excuse: 'We didn't think we had to tell them,' said Brother John Kiesler, spokesman for the Province of St. Barbara, the Franciscan regional headquarters."
Sacramento Bee News Story

CASE 2 - Just yesterday, our Los Angeles SNAP chapter asked Orange County Bishop Tod Brown to remove Father Cesar Salazar from St. Joseph Church, a parish with 2,000 families in Santa Ana. From the LA Times: "Nearly two years after police recommended a Santa Ana priest be charged with possession of child pornography, the cleric remains in ministry at a parish that has an elementary school on its grounds." The excuse: The diocesan director of clergy personnel said in an e-mail that zero tolerance refers only to those who have "engaged in" molestation. In other words, child porn doesn't count.
LA Times News Story

CASE 3 - Last week, the same diocese fired a music teacher, after a newspaper disclosed that he had been criminally convicted of child sexual abuse. From the LA Times: ". . a choir director convicted of lewd conduct with a minor 18 years ago was allowed to work at three parishes after church officials discovered the conviction this year.No excuse was given for why the teacher's background was not examined earlier or why it took weeks to remove him. When he was fired (in response to a reporter's questioning) Auxiliary Bishop Jaime Soto said "I didn't see any other outcome possible. . . because it was becoming a public matter and we need to keep our credibility."
LA Times News Story

CASE 4 - Just ten days ago, Monsignor Drake Shafer was serving in active ministry. In fact, he was vicar general of the Davenport diocese, despite a civil lawsuit alleging that he molested a teenager. Only after the lawsuit was disclosed in the local newspaper did something happen. Was he removed? No, he voluntarily took "a leave of absence."
But he served nearly a month after having been sued. The excuse, quoting from the Des Moines Register (7/19/03): "Because the case was filed before the Davenport Diocese adopted new policies for reporting and pursuing cases of sexual abuse of a minor, the diocese did not acknowledge the lawsuit or otherwise make the infomation public."
Des Moines Register News Story

NOTE - - - all four of these cases, each on the public record, are from this month alone.

CASE 5 - In New Jersey, Father Thomas Rainforth of the Diocese of Paterson, NJ admitted touching a child's penis, but remains in ministry at St. Philip the Apostle, Clifton, NJ where he is both Associate Pastor and serves as the Boy Scout Chaplain. The Daily Record (11-28-02) stated: "Church officials would not comment on the review board's proceedings or the witness' testimony, but maintained that the alleged abuse did not meet the church's standard of sex abuse." (dailyrecord.com) The excuse: The Diocesan Review Board deemed the victim's account as credible but determined that the definition of sexual abuse under the charter could not be applied since the priest was drunk when he had genital contact with the minor and it could not be established necessarily that he was seeking sexual gratification.

CASE 6 - In Chicago, earlier this year, a Delaware priest worked part time for the archdiocese and lived in Cardinal George's mansion one week each month. In fact, the Cardinal "invited" that priest to work here. But that priest, Kenneth C. Martin, pleaded guilty in Dec. 2001 to sexually abusing a student in Maryland. The Sun Times (3/1/03): "A Maryland prosecutor wants to know why Cardinal Francis George didn't ask for details after being told a Delaware priest he had hired as a consultant for the Chicago Roman Catholic Archdiocese--and invited to stay in his Gold Coast home--had been accused of sexually abusing a teenager."

The Sun Times (2/28/03): "The Rev. Kenneth J. Martin, 57, a priest from the Wilmington (Del.) Diocese who in 2001 was charged criminally with sexually abusing a high school boy in Maryland in the 1970s, has stayed at the cardinal's mansion on North State Parkway about one week a month since last May." The initial excuse: "Well, he was not a priest at the time he molested the youngster, so the Charter doesn't apply." The second excuse: "Well, I didn't really ask questions about his background."

We're seeing a lot of similar situations, situations in which it is clear that old patterns of denial and stonewalling die hard. And these cases involve accused or admitted abusers still in ministry. That doesn't begin to scratch the surface on the other promises bishops made - promises to be open, transparent, and compassionate, for example.

 

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Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
www.snapnetwork.org
 


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