SNAP to Cupich: “Come meet with us”
SNAP to Cupich: “Come meet with us”
Group wants “town hall” event about cleric
He’s on the job despite two child sex accusations
And police have a pending investigation into him
Group will hand fliers to mass-goers inviting them too
As Chicago’s new archbishop says mass at a local parish, concerned Catholics and clergy sex abuse victims will hand fliers to church-goers urging them – and the archbishop - to attend a “town hall meeting” about a twice-accused predator priest who is still on the job despite a pending criminal investigation into the allegations. They will also prod the archbishop to
--temporarily suspend the accused child molesting cleric,
--go next weekend to a parish where the accused priest works now, and
--discipline all archdiocesan staff who have let the priest stay in the parish.
Sunday, Dec. 7, 11:00 a.m.
Outside St. Clement’s Catholic Church (642 W Deming Pl, Chicago, IL 60614).
Four to five members of a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.
Victims of sex abuse by priests and concerned Catholics will pass out fliers to church-goers where new Chicago Archbishop Blase Cupich is saying mass. They want Cupich to:
1) Suspend Fr. Michael W. O’Connell from his post at St. Alphonsus parish (at 1429 W. Wellington Ave., just 1.5 miles away from St. Clement)
2) Attend a “town hall meeting” later this week SNAP is holding about the situation.
3) Personally visit St. Alphonsus and beg anyone who may have information or suspicions about crimes or misdeeds by Fr. O’Connell to call police.
Fr. O’Connell is the subject of a pending criminal child sex abuse investigation and is accused by two men of molesting them, in separate incidents, as boys.
Fr. O’Connell was temporarily suspended in December 2013 after the archdiocese received an allegation of sexual misconduct involving a boy at Our Lady of the Woods in Orland Park years earlier. In April of this year, Cardinal Francis George reinstated Fr. O’Connell even though the Cook County Sheriff’s Department never closed the criminal case.
Weeks later, new allegations surfaced involving alleged abuse of a different boy in the 1990s and police continue to investigate. Today, however, archdiocesan officials are keeping Fr. O’Connell on the job. Catholic officials claim O’Connell is to avoid the parish school and will not be alone with a child, a contention that SNAP calls “ludicrous and dangerous.”
The “town hall meeting” will be held Thursday, Dec. 11 at 6:30 p.m. at the Lincoln Belmont Public Library (659 West Melrose Street, Chicago, IL 60657; (312) 744-0166).
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We were founded in 1988 and have more than 20,000 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)
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.
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.