The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Statement
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Statement by Bill Casey on CristanchoMy name is Bill Casey. Along with my colleagues from SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests—a self-help and advocacy group for survivors) and VOTF (Voice of the Faithful—a Catholic lay reform group formed in response to the clergy sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church), I come here today to deliver a letter to the Fairfax County Commonwealth Attorney to use the powers of his office, along with the resources of the Catholic diocese of Arlington, to protect children from further abuse by predator priest Fernando Cristancho and to seek out and support any other victims of this priest.
Fr. Cristancho served as a parish priest, particularly to the Hispanic community, at Good Shepherd Catholic Church in Fairfax County between 1995-1998. He was removed from that position following evidence of sexual misconduct with a young woman (purportedly not a minor), but he gravitated to a new parish in Maryland (under the Archdiocese of Baltimore. While there he impregnated a surrogate mother through in vitro fertilization and fathered triplets. Competent authorities found evidence that he sexually abused his two sons.
Although he was later removed from this parish, he remains free and is a flight risk because he hails from Colombia in South America.
Based on his interview with a Baltimore newspaper, Fr.Cristancho wants us to believe an experienced
social worker, an unbiased judge, his children's mom and grandmother and a band of his fellow priests are all concocting or believing 'false' child sex abuse allegations against him.
He also wants us to believe that his archbishop would accept his deceptive, surreptitious fathering of three kids and still let him work in a parish, despite centuries of ironclad church demands that priests be celibate. Keep in mind that Cristancho is a smart, well-educated priest who clearly had and likely still has a lawyer.
Needless to say, all of this strains credulity and defies common sense.
But the focus now must be on church and criminal authorities, and what they can do to protect kids.
This isn't rocket science. If an employee is credibly accused of a child molestation, his employer and the criminal authorities try to quickly determine what actually happened. Often the best, quickest and easiest way to do that is to seek out other alleged victims and witnesses. And often, the best way to do that is by making a strong, clear public appeal - begging those with information, information that would either prove or disprove the the allegations - to come forward. That's what we want.
We also want church and criminal authorities to do everything possible to yank Cristancho's passport or other documents so he can't escape justice by fleeing the country. In particular, we want whichever bishop is paying him - whether Baltimore's or Arlington's - to insist that Cristancho turn over his passport to that bishop.
Remember, priests take a vow to obey their bishops. Priests have no union. They are virtually at the mercy of their bishop, and depend on him for a paycheck, health insurance, dental insurance, car allowance, housing allowance, retirement, and his approval to ever work in the church anywhere any time in the future.
Now is not the time to be complacent or slow or split bureaucratic hairs. Now is the time to protect the children and uncover the truth. That's all we're looking for.
5529 Gary Ave.
Alexandria, VA 22311
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests