The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Statement
For immediate release: Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Statement by David Lorenz, SNAP director of Maryland
My name is David Lorenz and I am the SNAP director for the state of Maryland. I am a survivor of clerical sexual abuse.
However sporadically and imperfectly, at least some abusive priests have been defrocked or prosecuted, are being "monitored” or live in church run housing centers for pedophiles. Not enough, but at least some. To the best of our knowledge, little or none of this is happening with abusive bishops in the US. We are here today because we have just recently discovered the whereabouts of an abusive cleric – Bishop Thomas L. Dupre who was the bishop of Springfield Massachusetts from 1995 to 2004.
Bishop Dupre has been indicted by a grand Jury on 2 counts of child sexual abuse. The day before the indictment was handed down, February 11, 2004, Bishop Dupre was granted instant early retirement by the Vatican for ‘health reasons’. He escaped prosecution because the statute-of-limitations had lapsed. He left the diocese and supposedly has been a resident of Saint Luke’s institute in Silver Spring, MD.
The Springfield diocese never disclosed his whereabouts. They removed his name from any official location. It’s as if he never existed. Yet the diocese continues to financially support Dupre.
Bishop Dupre was served with a lawsuit in September, 2009 while he was at St. Luke’s. On or around November of 2009, Dupre moved quietly to the Cardinal O’Boyle Residence behind us. He was just served with a new suit last week at this address. We are concerned that he may flee again. We are also concerned that he may have access to children and vulnerable adults in the area and at the hospital.
The Catholic Church continues to fight SOL reforms in DC, Maryland, Massachusetts and nationwide. We are now urging the Church hierarchy to stop blocking reforms that will better protect children and join with us to enact meaningful legislation.
Bishop Dupre, as well as 20 other predatory bishops, was never sanctioned by the Vatican. He maintains all the privileges of his position as a retired bishop. He has been allowed to roam freely without any monitoring. Given his history we are concerned.
We are demanding that the Vatican intervene and immediately return him to a secure facility where he can be monitored. Additionally we are demanding the Vatican to impose sanctions on this child molesting prelate. The Vatican has never sanctioned a prelate for child abuse. The case of Bishop Dupre is so egregious, to continue to ignore applying justice is not in keeping with the spirit of the words the pope has been speaking as of late. The Pope recently stated, “the sin is inside the church,” and that “Forgiveness is not a substitute for justice.” We are seeking the Vatican to administer justice to this prelate. Similarly, we are urging the Vatican to make sure every proven, admitted and credibly accused child molesting bishop is housed in a secure, remote, independent, professionally-run center so that he can get help and so that kids can be safer.
This diocese of Washington DC continually promotes the training and fingerprinting program that they have to help identify predators. What good is that program if the Bishop knowingly hides predator clerics in his diocese and allows them access to the public without warning anyone of their whereabouts? What good is this if it does not apply to priests and bishops? I call on Bishop Wuerl to publicly identify all known predator clerics living within the boundaries of the Archdiocese. Just recently bishop Wuerl stated publicly that he stands in solidarity with sexual abuse survivors, his actions indicate that he is rather indifferent at risking the creation of new abuse victims.
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests