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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Statement

For immediate release: Sunday, August 29, 2010

Victims' Response to Deacon being removed

Statement by Barbara Blaine of Chicago, president of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (312-399-4747)

Our hearts ache for anyone who saw, suspected or suffered Garcia’s crimes. We hope they will find the courage and strength to come forward, call police, get help, expose wrong doers, protect others and start healing. We especially hope they will seek out independent sources of support and healing, like therapists and self help groups like ours.

Bishops claim they’re screening candidates for ordination more carefully these days, to try and weed out sex offenders. If what Albany church officials say is true – that this cleric molested before he officially became a deacon – it’s clear that such screening, if it’s happening, is far from perfect.

Albany’s bishop is urging those with information about Angel Garcia’s crimes to call church or police officials. We disagree. Child sex abuse is a crime and should be treated as a crime. Reports should go to the impartial, trained experts in law enforcement, who have no incentive to cover up these crimes, rather than to the biased, untrained amateurs in chancery offices who have long ignored and concealed these crimes.

When church officials learn of suspected abuse, sometimes victims are intimidated, witnesses are discredited, whistleblowers are threatened, evidence is destroyed, alibis are fabricated, predators are quietly moved and cover ups are begun. It’s best to give police and prosecutors a chance to build a strong criminal case before alerting church officials who have historically protected themselves, their colleagues and their reputations over protecting kids.

(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 22 years and have more than 10,000 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), Peter Isely (414-429-7259) Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688)

http://www.timesunion.com/local/article/Diocese-announces-deacon-s-removal-636395.php

Diocese announces deacon's removal

Albany Times Union - Published: 12:03 p.m., Sunday, August 29, 2010

ALBANY -- The Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany announced Sunday that it has removed a deacon from active ministry after determining there were reasonable grounds to believe he sexually abused a minor in the early 1990s prior to his training and ordination as a deacon.

A diocese news release said that the removal of Deacon Angel Garcia was made on the recommendation of the diocese's Sexual Misconduct Review Board. Garcia has served as a deacon at the Church of the Holy Family on Central Avenue in Albany and as a chaplain at Greene Correctional Facility. Garcia is now banned from officiating at any sacraments and from wearing clerical garb in public.

The diocese statement said Garcia denies inappropriate contact with any youth.

Garcia's removal from ministry was announced at weekend masses at the Church of the Holy Family.

The statement said the diocese has a zero-tolerance policy for sexual abuse of minors by clergy and urged anyone who as a child was sexually abused by a Catholic priest or deacon to report the matter to a law enforcement agency or to the diocese. The diocese said it investigates all allegations of sexual abuse by clergy.

The Albany Diocese Sexual Misconduct Review Board, which reviewed the allegation against Garcia, is made up of six lay people and two clergy members. It investigates allegations of sexual misconduct by clergy and makes recommendations to Bishop Howard Hubbard on appropriate actions.


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