SNAP to Archbishop: “Help police, protect kids, do outreach”
Church officials have allegedly reformed, right? Then explain this: For decades, when a priest from diocese “A” was accused or suspended or arrested or charged or convicted in diocese “B”, rarely (if ever) did Bishop “A” disclose the news to his flock.
So police in diocese “A” had to build their case alone, with little or no help (and usually opposition) from church authorities. And no one in diocese “B” was warned about the cleric. Their kids suffered in shame, silence and self-blame, instead of being asked “Did that priest hurt you?” and getting help promptly.
That pattern continues to be played out today. In Colorado, on Sunday, Fr. Robert Manning was suspended. He’s the target of a child sex abuse investigation.
Manning is a St. Louis priest. He was ordained here. He worked in at least three parishes here. Yet Archbishop Carlson, as best we can tell, has been silent about
Two other local clerics have recently been accused of sexual misdeeds. One is a priest, Fr. William Vatterott. The other is a seminarian, Nickolas Pinkston.
We can already hear Carlson’s PR team splitting hairs and making excuses for the archbishop’s inaction and secrecy. “Pinkston isn’t our guy – he belongs to the Kansas City diocese,” they’ll say. “Vatterott wasn’t charged with child sex abuse,” they’ll say.
Both are technically true. But both claims miss the point. Both men spent considerable time around St. Louis Catholic families and children. Both were at three parishes. Both worked under Archbishop Carlson.
Vatterott has been a priest for almost a decade, working most recently at St. Cecilia’s parish. He’s accused of engaging in "inappropriate electronic exchanges" with two teenagers and of being involved with underage drinking and other inappropriate behavior.
Pinkston, who taught children’s confirmation classes, was arrested for attempting to receive child porn through the mail in 2010.
Again, what’s Carlson’s response? Is he informing the public and the parishioners about these men? Is he helping law enforcement resolve these cases?
Nope. He’s just saying and doing as little as possible and keeping his flock in the dark. Where are these men? What’s their clerical status? Remember Carlson’s pledges to be “open” in child sex cases? Where’s the openness here?
Carlson’s got tons of resources. He could make a huge difference by aggressively begging and prodding victims, witnesses and whistleblowers to step up and call law enforcement.
But what’s he doing instead? As little as possible.
And Catholic officials have allegedly “reformed” and handle child sex abuse cases different now? Give me a break.
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
The Attorneys General of forty states have inquired about the grand jury process in Pennsylvania. Let's get statewide investigations going in fifty states.
Note to Letter Writers
Use your own words and style of writing. Cut and paste from the templates as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you were abused in or state now living in.