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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Statement

For immediate release: Thursday, August 5, 2010

Springfield bishop rebuffs victims on child safety requests; SNAP responds

Statement by David Clohessy, executive director of SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314-566-9790)

We asked for Bishop Paprocki’s help in two ways. He refuses to consider either one. At one level, it’s disturbing yet predictable that he’s unwilling to do anything but the bare minimum to safeguard his flock. At another level, we suppose we should be grateful that he’s at least being slightly straightforward about his callousness and recklessness.

Paprocki is making it clear that he won’t take a quick, simple, inexpensive and proven step to protect kids, a step that 24 of his colleagues have taken (including his former boss in Chicago, Cardinal George). He’s refusing to even consider posting on his website the names and whereabouts of proven child predators. This is a very disturbing backwards move by a cleric who professes to care about children.

Paprocki’s choice can make it easier or harder for families to learn about and protect against dangerous offenders. He’s choosing to make it harder.

Paprocki points out other child sex actions in his diocese. But that’s just ducking and dodging. It’s also irrelevant. Those actions are mandated by the church’s national abuse policy. They aren’t things Paprocki is doing voluntarily.

We can’t refuse to pay income tax by noting all the other mandatory laws we obey. (“We stop at traffic signals. We pay sales tax.”) Likewise, Paprocki can’t refuse to protect kids by noting that he obeys other mandatory steps he takes like fingerprinting employees.

Paprocki is also making it clear that he’s ignoring serious child sex allegations against a proven predator, Fr. Henry Willenborg. Again, his choice is either doing nothing or doing something to help find out whether Willenborg sexually assaulted in the Springfield diocese. Paprocki chooses to do nothing.

The die is cast. Springfield Catholics now know where their new bishop stands – on the side of ignoring suspected child sex crimes and protecting suspected child predators instead of protecting kids. Springfield citizens and Catholics also now know, clearly, where to report actual or suspected child sex crimes and cover ups – to law enforcement, not their callous new bishop. And Springfield citizens and Catholics now know that if the truth about on-going cover ups by the Catholic hierarchy is to be exposed, it will only be through the courage of victims, witnesses and whistleblowers. We urge anyone with information about child molesting clerics in and around Springfield to now come forward, speak up, protect kids, expose wrongdoers and start healing. It’s obvious that waiting and hoping for Paprocki to take these steps is fruitless.

(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, Barbara Dorris (314 503 0003)


Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
www.snapnetwork.org