The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Statement
For immediate release: Tuesday, April 20, 2010
SNAP blast Chicago church official headed to Springfield IL
Statement by Peter Isely, SNAP Midwest Director (414 429 7259)
It's terribly disappointing that the Pope promoted Paprocki of Chicago to head his own diocese in Springfield IL. Quite simply, Paprocki is an extremist.
In 2007, Paprocki, said "none other than the devil" was behind the unending (clergy sex abuse) litigation.
Just three years ago, Paprocki became the only bishop in America seeking to revive an ancient and now-rare legal doctrine that would protect church officials who willfully or negligently put kids in harm's way.
Paprocki’s approach, sadly, would remove one of the very few incentives church officials have to better protect kids.
Paprocki comes out of an archdiocese with a very troubling track record on clergy sex crimes and cover ups. And he's done nothing to ameliorate, criticize or distance himself from the reckless, callous and deceitful actions of the Chicago archdiocesan hierarchy.
In 2003, when the Chicago Sun Times disclosed the priest’s presence in Chicago, church officials initially claimed they didn't know about Fr. Kenneth Martin's past. Later, the archdiocesan spokesman split hairs, claiming the church's sex abuse guidelines deal with only priests, and since Martin abused when he was a seminarian, the guidelines didn't apply.
Archdiocesan officials’ secretive and reckless move happened in 2003, AFTER the US bishops supposedly committed to being “open and transparent” about clergy sex cases.
Sadly, however, the Martin case is just one of a long line of irresponsible, deceptive and insensitive steps taken by the archdiocese.
The Martin case is part of a much larger, on-going, and disturbing pattern in the Chicago archdiocese.
-- In March 2004, twice-suspended abusive priest Fr. John Calicott was caught working, living and teaching sex education to kids at his old parish, with the full knowledge of the pastor. The archdiocese slapped Calicott on the hand, but refused to discipline or censure the pastor, Fr. George Miller, who knowingly put children in harm's way and violated the US bishops' national abuse policy.
-- In February 2005, Fr. Michael T. Yakaitis worked at the University of Chicago's Catholic Center, despite admitting sexual misconduct with a teenager years ago. A victim reported Yakaitis' exploitation and manipulation to at least seven church officials. But the archdiocese let the abuser stay in ministry until this was publicly exposed.
-- In October 2005, archdiocesan officials refused to discipline or warn others about Father Elijah Martin who seduced a young woman, fathered her child, ignored her, and refused to pay child support. Martin’s direct superiors also refused to give the mom any information about the priest’s whereabouts. The archdiocese washed its hands of this controversy, despite repeated requests by our group to show compassion.
-- In the fall of 2005, Fr. Daniel McCormack was arrested for child molestation. Weeks later, he was promoted to head a deanery, or region, of the archdiocese.
-- In January 2006, McCormack was arrested again. He assaulted one 11 year old boy "on an almost daily basis" from Sept. 2005 until Jan. 2006. He was kept in ministry for years despite several reports of child sexual abuse, including repeated written and verbal ones from a Catholic nun more than seven years ago to archdiocesan staff.
-- We repeatedly urged Chicago Catholic officials to “aggressively and immediately” reach out to parishes where McCormack worked, and prodded George to personally start visiting those churches, emphatically reminding Catholics that they have a moral and civic duty to disclose anything they know about these allegations to law enforcement. He ignored us.
-- For months awaiting trial, the archdiocese let McCormack live with relatives, refusing to order him to stay in a treatment center for pedophiles.
-- We were highly critical of that move, calling it ‘reckless;’ and ‘irresponsible.’ We repeatedly urged the archdiocese to reconsider. They ignored us.
-- Church records and Cardinal George’s sworn deposition show that an accused serial predator priest, Fr. Joseph R. Bennett, was suspended from his suburban parish in 2006 only after at least a dozen of his victims had reported him to church authorities.
-- Those same documents show that George overruled the recommendations of his own hand-picked abuse panel and had him alleged and secretly (but ineffectively) ‘monitored’ by a fellow priest (Fr. Leonard Dubi) who is a close friend of Bennett’s. The two of them own property together in Indiana. They then took a trip to Mexico together.
-- The archdiocesan abuse panel specifically, in two memos, urged church officials to NOT assign Dubi to this role. Their recommendation was ignored.
-- The same deposition and documents also reveal that top archdiocesan staffers spent considerable time and effort secretly trying to win the early release of a convicted serial child predator, Fr. Norbert Maday, who is in a Wisconsin prison.
-- We suspect and fear there are or have been other jailed sex offender clerics who have gotten or are getting the ‘behind the scenes’ help from archdiocesan officials. We have asked the archdiocese to stop it immediately, and to disclose if it has taken similar reckless action with other pedophiles. We have been ignored.
--We then publicly called on Cardinal George to promise he’d never again try to get a convicted pedophile priest out of jail early. He has not responded.
-- We fear other accused child-molesting clergy are in still Chicago parishes right now, unbeknownst to parishioners, allegedly being ‘monitored’ by peers. We’ve asked the archdiocese to disclose who and where they are and/or abide by the church’s national abuse policy and publicly suspend them. We have been ignored.
--In the same documents, Fr. Edward Grace, the archdiocese’s Vicar for Priests, urged an accused predator priest (Bennett) to essentially lie about birthmarks on his genitals to ‘beat’ multiple child sex abuse allegations before a lay church panel. No significant action has been taken against Grace by any archdiocesan official.
Paprocki may try to distance himself at this late stage from some of these moves. He may claim each decision was the sole responsibility of Cardinal George. But that’s just irresponsible hair-splitting. He could have and should have tried to prevent some of these decisions and/or criticized them, but chose to stay silent.
(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 globe. 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)
Contacts: David Clohessy (314 566 9790 cell, 314 645 5915 home), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747), Mark Serrano (703-727-4940), Peter Isely (414-429-7259), Barbara Dorris (314 503 0003)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests