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SNAP
Statement



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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Statement

For immediate release: Monday, January 24, 2011

“Reckless” bishop comes to Santa Rosa, CA; SNAP responds

Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, SNAPclohessy@aol.com)

This is an awful choice, for any diocese but especially Santa Rosa, with its very troubling track record, even recently, of child sex abuse and cover up scandals.

Even now, Vasa recklessly endanger kids by his secrecy and his willingness to welcome sexually troubled clerics into his diocese.

In three cases in recent years, Vaca has acted irresponsibly and secretively
-- Vasa kept secret about the arrest, guilty plea, sentencing and deportation of a Yakima priest, Fr. Jose Joaquin Estrada Arango, who sexually assaulted an Oregon teen in 2003. Vasa also apparently did little or nothing to warn, protect or help others who may have been molested by Estrada.
-- In 1999, Deacon Aaron Ramirez fled to Mexico before an investigation could be launched about his being found in bed, naked, with a 17 year old boy he had given alcohol and who was passed out. Vasa again kept the case secret, but Portland church officials disclosed it in litigation.
-- Vasa hired controversial Catholic deacon, Joseph Levine, who was refused ordination by a New Jersey bishop and ousted by a Pennsylvania bishop. The man is the former head of a troubled group which was shut down in 2004 after charges of financial misdealing and after two of the group’s priests were sued for alleged child sexual abuse. Levine was accused by Jeffrey Bond, Ph.D., of concealing clergy sex crimes.

He was denied ordination when a bishop admitted he had received “questions about Levine's suitability for the priesthood.” He now works at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Bend, Oregon. (541-382-3631).

Finally, in 2007, Vasa was found in violation of the US bishops' five year old sex abuse policies, even though those policies are very weak and vague. He is one of a tiny handful of bishops who refuse to participate in the annual national church sex abuse program. Even worse, Vasa won't conduct abuse prevention training for children, the training mandate by the national bishops conference and that is designed to prevent future horrific child sex crimes. The bishop won't even do the bare minimum regarding child safety, preferring instead to risk the safety of the children entrusted to his care.

Vasa’s promotion is still another clear sign that the Vatican does not value the well-being of children.

(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 10,000 members. 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, SNAPclohessy@aol.com), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747, SNAPblaine@gmail.com), Peter Isely (414-429-7259, peterisely@yahoo.com), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)


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