The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
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."
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.
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
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."
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."
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