The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Statement
For immediate release: Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Statement by Barbara Garcia Boehland of SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests 210-621-2177; Cell: 210-725-8329
With Gomez, the Pope is promoting a bishop with a troubling record of recent secrecy and risk regarding child safety. If the Pope is trying to convince us he’s “tough” on abuse, he’s shooting himself in the foot by elevating Gomez.
Just last year, Gomez kept silent about two clerics whose religious supervisors deemed ‘credibly accused’ of sexually abusing teenagers. One of those clerics now apparently works in Rome.
One is Brother Richard Suttle of the Claretian Missionaries, who Gomez is letting live and study in San Antonio. “He sexually abused a teen in the early 1980s in Arizona, according to a public notice from the Phoenix diocese,” wrote the Express-News last year.
The other, Father Charles H. Miller of the Society of Mary “worked at St. Mary's University for more than two decades and was let go in 2007 after his religious order found a claim that he sexually abused a teen in 1980 to be credible. Last year (2008) he was moved to Rome,” the Express News wrote in 2009. Evidently Miller still works for the Marianists there.
In both cases, Gomez let religious orders quietly transfer credibly accused clerics into the San Antonio diocese in recent years. Neither Gomez nor the religious orders apparently warned parishioners or the public.
Then there’s Fr. Larry Hernandez. His religious order suspended his faculties in early 2008 because of credible abuse allegations. Gomez kept it quiet until March 2009.
Furthermore, Gomez hails from the Denver archdiocese which has and continues to distinguish itself by its particularly harsh legal maneuvers against clergy sex abuse victims.
We're very saddened and disappointed by this choice.
Statement by David Clohessy of SNAP (314 566 9790, SNAPnetwork.org)
There are plenty of US bishops who have acted recklessly and secretively in one or two cases during 2009. Unfortunately, the Pope is promoting one who has acted recklessly and secretively in three such cases during the last year.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 22 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), Joelle Casteix (949-322-7434), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747), Peter Isely (414-429-7259), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell)
Victims Advocacy Group Presses Archbishop for Action
A victims advocacy group is asking for an apology from San Antonio Archbishop Jose Gomez for what it described as his inaction and silence in dealing with two Catholic clergymen whose religious orders recently found claims of them each having sexually abused a teenager to be credible.
Barbara Garcia-Boehland, local director of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, hand delivered a letter addressed to Gomez at the archdiocesan headquarters Wednesday afternoon. A department director for the archdiocese told her Gomez was not in the office but assured her the letter would be delivered.
Garcia-Boehland said she left phone messages and has written letters for the past couple of weeks to Gomez about her concerns but has received no response. The letter she sent Wednesday raised the same concerns that Gomez and other Catholic officials were not doing enough to hold two clergy accountable for their abuse.
“We want to know who's going to take responsibility for these known pedophiles,” Garcia-Boehland said.
Brother Richard Suttle of the Claretian Missionaries of the U.S. Western Province lives and studies in San Antonio. He sexually abused a teen in the early 1980s in Arizona, according to a public notice from the Phoenix diocese.
Also, Father Charles H. Miller of the Society of Mary worked at St. Mary's University for more than two decades and was let go in 2007 after his religious order found a claim that he sexually abused a teen in 1980 to be credible. Last year he was moved to Rome.
Both religious orders barred the men from public ministry and placed them on a restrictive plan that monitors their whereabouts.
Calls to the archdiocese spokesman, Pat Rodgers, were not returned but he has said the religious orders have taken appropriate measures and stressed the two men do not work for the archdiocese.
Garcia-Boehland believes Gomez should move to revoke their ministry credentials. And since Suttle lives in San Antonio, she is asking Gomez to oust him.
She also questioned why Gomez didn't initiate steps to make these matters public once he knew they were credible. Instead, she said her victims advocacy group had to generate publicity with two press conferences about these men in the past couple of weeks.
“That burden shouldn't fall to us,” her letter says. “...When Claretians secretly move an accused predator into San Antonio and when Marianists secretly move an accused predator out of San Antonio, your silence endangers your parishioners and others.”
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests