MA - Springfield diocese releases accused clerics list

MA - Springfield diocese releases accused clerics list

  • But dozens of alleged abusers are missing, SNAP says
  • Group is grateful but says names are “very hard to find”
  • For "public safety," victims push for "more accessible disclosure”
  • Two alleged offender priests are publicly identified for the first time
  • SNAP “Diocese should also name abusive nuns, bishops, seminarians & lay workers”

WHAT:

Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, attorneys and clergy sex abuse victims will

  • disclose that local Catholic officials have quietly posted the names of 15 accused abusive priests on their website,
  • say that the actual number should be closer to 68, and
  • highlight two alleged child molesting clerics whose identities are being revealed for the first time, and

They will also urge
  • Springfield’s Catholic bishop to re-do the list and, to better protect kids, include more names, and
  • anyone who saw, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes to get help, call police, safeguard others and start healing.
WHEN:
Thursday, Sept. 1 at 1:00 pm.

WHERE:
Outside the Springfield Catholic diocese headquarters, 65 Elliot Street in Springfield MA

WHO:
Two-three members of an independent support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org)

WHY:
Earlier this week, with little or no public notice, the Springfield Catholic diocese posted the names of 15 accused sex offender priests in an obscure place on its website. Last summer, after repeated prodding by SNAP, Bishop Timothy McDonnell (413-452-0803) promised to release such a list.

SNAP believes the 15 names are only a small portion of the total number of proven, admitted and credibly accused abusive clergy who have lived and worked in the Springfield diocese.

In a 2006 court filing, Springfield church officials admitted that it had settled or was still responding to 108 claims of sexual abuse against “approximately 60 individuals identified as alleged abusers.”

http://www.bishop-accountability.org/ma_springfield/2006_10_03_Springfield_Diocese_v_Insurers_Paper_73.pdf

In 2008, church lawyer John Egan said, in a diocesan publication, that church officials had identified 68 credibly accused priests, 56 of them diocesan (not members of religious orders like the Jesuits or Franciscans).

And a Boston-based research group says there are at least 46 accused Springfield area Catholic clerics and has listed their names at BishopAccountability.org

SNAP believes parents, parishioners and the public need and deserve to know, for the sake of public safety, who these individuals are.

The two new names – priests who have not been publicly accused of child sex crimes before – are Fr. Charles Joseph Sgueglia and Fr. Charles Sullivan. Both had reportedly been told by church officials to live “a life of prayer & penance” because of credible child sex abuse allegations. (That is sometimes done instead of defrocking clerics.) Sgueglia is now deceased and SNAP doesn’t know Sullivan’s whereabouts.

The group also says the names of the accused aren’t easy to find. First, one goes to the diocesan website, clicks on the word “departments,” then clicks on the phrase “public affairs,” then clicks on the phrase “History & procedures for handling of Misconduct Allegations; listing of priests and deacons with credible allegations,” then scrolls down past nearly a thousand words of text, and then the list becomes visible.

SNAP leaders stress that publicizing the names is not about shaming abusive clergy, but rather to safeguard kids. "Our primary goal is to make the church and larger community a safer place for children,” said Springfield SNAP director Peter Pollard of Hatfield. “People have a right to information that will help them make educated choices about how to protect kids…about which trusted individuals might pose a risk.. A comprehensive list empowers the community. As we learned with Hurricane Irene, when a risk exists, leaders serve their community best by fully informing them of the danger. Then everyone can work together to make better decisions to avoid that risk."

CONTACT:
Bill Nash, SNAP spokesperson, 413-219-4312, etipottery@verizon.net, Peter Pollard, SNAP Springfield Director, 413-335-9969 cell, peterpoll@aol.com, David Clohessy, Executive Director 314-566-9790, SNAPclohessy@aol.com

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