The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
Statement on Transfer of Nevada Priest
By St. Louis SNAP leader Barbara Dorris
August 5, 2003
On Friday, Missouri corrections officials decided to allow an admitted abusive priest, Father Mark Roberts of Henderson Nevada, to serve his probation at a treatment center in Dittmer.
This raises two key questions: Why import child molesters? Why take the risk?
There are, of course, other questions that deserve answers too:
The citizens of Missouri, especially those in the St. Louis area, deserve answers to these questions.
Here is what we believe:
First, we believe that molesters belong in jail. That's what keeps kids safe.
Second, we believe that priests who abuse should be treated the same as others who abuse.
Third, we believe that molesters need and deserve the best possible therapy, not instead of but in addition to incarceration.
Fourth, we believe that this therapy is best provided by independent mental health professionals with proven track records, not church-affiliated therapists or centers.
Fifth, we believe that dozens of abusive priests are now in and around Dittmer in several so-called treatment centers. We don't know how many abusers are in these facilities. We don't even know how many facilities there are and who owns them. Over the years, they have gone by several names: Evergreen Hills, RECON, Wounded Brothers Project, Il Retriro.
But we do know that abuse thrives in secrecy and children are safe when authorities - both church and state - are open.
We want Missouri officials to reverse their decision. If they refuse, we want them to explain their decision. And we want to know how many out-of-state child molesters Missouri officials are allowing to come here and under what conditions and at what cost.
Make no mistake about our intentions today. This is about safety, not vengeance. This is about openness, not secrecy. This is about kids, not priests.
Kids are safe when abusers are locked up. Kids are safe when their parents know where the abusers are.
For more information:
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests