The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Statement
For immediate release: Sunday, December 6, 2009
Statement on Msgr. Alan Placa Decision
Statement by David Clohessy, National Director of SNAP 314 566 9790
(Late yesterday, Long Island Catholic officials disclosed that a small Vatican panel has declared that Msgr. Alan Placa of the Rockville Centre Diocese is NOT guilty)
While not surprising, it's still heart-breaking to see that a victim deemed credible by virtually everyone else - prosecutors, grand jurors, journalists, survivors, relatives and lay Catholics - is deemed not credible by a couple of Vatican bureaucrats thousands of miles away. Does anyone really believe that Catholic officials really spent the last 7.5 years thoroughly looking for others who saw, suspected and suffered Placa's child sex crimes or objectively weighing the evidence against him?
We predict that Placa will be the American version of Fr. Marcial Maciel - a charismatic, powerful accused cleric initially protected but ultimately ousted by high ranking church officials, but only after years and years of needless suffering and courageous persistence by his deeply wounded victims.
This callous and reckless Vatican move is another reminder that it's crucial to keep reforming secular criminal and civil justice laws to enable those molested as kids to expose predators, protect kids, and achieve justice through open and objective processes.
Despite this news from Rome, we remains hopeful that more of Placa's victims will come forward, get help, call police, and start recovering.
To anyone who wonders where the truth lies in this situation, we beg you to read the Suffolk County grand jury report available at BishopAccountability.org and to remember that it was written by independent grand jurors working with independent professional prosecutors who heard all of the evidence and interviewed dozens of individuals over months and months.
Finally, we offer our deepest condolences to Richard Tollner and others who, in the face of a stunningly callous Catholic hierarchy, continue to bravely work for a safer society for children.
(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 21 years and have more than 9,000 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)
Contact; David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, 314-645-5915 home), Peter Isely (414-429-7259) Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688)
Statement Regarding Rev. Msgr. Alan J. Placa Decision Friday, 04 December 2009 16:46
The Most Reverend William Murphy, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rockville Centre has been informed by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome that it has completed its final review of the status of Rev. Msgr. Alan J. Placa, a Roman Catholic priest of the Diocese of Rockville Centre. The Congregation has found him to be not guilty of the allegation of sexual abuse of a minor which was made against him in June of 2002.
When the allegation was made, the Diocese immediately placed Msgr. Placa on administrative leave of absence. Over the course of seven and a half years, this case has been subjected to extraordinary scrutiny including all of the elements required by the Essential Norms established by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Dallas in 2002.
This decision confirms the same decision which was determined in first instance by the Tribunal of the Diocese of Albany. The Holy See’s definitive decision completes the canonical process for Msgr. Placa. This action by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith renders the decision final and definitive. As a result of this decision, Msgr. Placa is no longer on administrative leave and is now permitted to exercise priestly ministry freely in the Roman Catholic Church. In accordance with the provisions of the Catholic Church’s Code of Canon Law, we have been instructed by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to restore Msgr. Placa to ministry and to do what we can to restore his good name.
“I thank the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith as well as the Tribunal of the Diocese of Albany for their work. We will abide by its decision to return Msgr. Placa to ministry,” said Bishop Murphy. “We hope that everyone in the diocese will recognize that Msgr. Placa is a priest in good standing. It is my hope and prayer that this decision will bring closure and healing. We also ask people of good will to join us in praying for those who were, in fact, victims of sexual abuse. Their suffering must never be forgotten.”
Bishop Murphy and Msgr. Placa have agreed that Msgr. Placa will not be given a diocesan assignment. Msgr. Placa will reside at St. Aloysius parish, Great Neck. Msgr. Placa’s status is that of a retired priest in good standing.
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests