The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Statement
Friday, April 4, 2008
Sex abuse victims blast and appeal to Catholic bishops
Statement by Bob Swiderski of Minnesota, Assistant SNAP Midwest Director (612 281 8132 cell)
Iowa: We’re here for five reasons today.
First, we beg you . . if you have any information about clergy sex crimes, come forward, get help, and call the police. If you saw, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes, please speak up. When victims and witnesses come forward, sometimes kids are protected, suffering is prevented, and justice is done. But when victims and witnesses stay silent, nothing changes and kids get hurt.
Second, we especially beg anyone who knows anything about Fr. Kruzak’s crimes to call law enforcement. So far, the alleged crimes against him are old. But we suspect he may have molested more recently. And regardless, we’ve seen police and prosecutors find and use novel and aggressive ways to catch and charge sex offenders, sometimes even for crimes that are decades old. Often, when a predator flees the state, that can extend the deadline for victims to take actions.
Third, we want to urge victims and witnesses to call law enforcement authorities, not church authorities. Child sex abuse is a crime and should be treated as a crime. It should be investigated by the independent professionals in law enforcement, not biased amateurs in church offices.
Fourth, we call on the Sioux City bishop and the Military archbishop to suspend Kruzak immediately. This should have already been done. There’s no excuse for keeping a twice-accused child molester on the job. The two bishops may point fingers at each other, claiming “I can’t oust Kruzak, only he can.” We don’t care who does it. But if kids are to be safer, it must be done and done now.
Fifth, we urge the Sioux City bishop and the Military archbishop to use their considerable resources to reach out to others who may have been hurt and are still suffering in shame, silence and self-blame. Church officials should use parish bulletins, diocesan newspapers, church websites and pulpit announcements to do what Jesus would do: reach out to the wounded and lost sheep.
It’s time for these church bureaucrats to get out from behind their desks, push aside their defense lawyers and PR advisors, and act like compassionate shepherds instead of cold-hearted CEOs.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the nation’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 17 years and have more than 7,000 members across the country. 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)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests