TX--Survivors appalled: Why did Bishop Burns suppressed critical information about abuse of minors at St. Cecila parish for roughly 6 months?
Survivors appalled: Why did Bishop Burns suppressed critical information about abuse of minors at St. Cecila parish for roughly 6 months?
For immediate release, August 19, 2018
Statement by Lisa Kendzior, Volunteer Dallas/Ft. Worth Chapter Leader of SNAP, the Survivors Network (817-773-5907,firstname.lastname@example.org)
Bishop Edward Burns, leader of the Catholic Diocese of Dallas, failed to notify parishioners in a timely manner that their longtime pastor, Rev. Edmundo Paredes, was under investigation for molesting three teenage boys in the parish a decade ago. Rev. Paredes has apparently fled the country, but the bishop doesn’t know his whereabouts.
It only took from May, 2017, to June, 2017, to remove Rev. Paredes from St. Cecilia and to suspend him from ministry for stealing money from the church. Yet, it took Bishop Burns nearly 6 months to notify parishioners about the much more serious allegations of child molestation. This is very disturbing to us, and we think it should be disturbing to the community at St. Cecilia’s as well.
The diocese received notification of alleged criminal sexual abuse by Rev. Paredes in February, 2018, but only disclosed this very important fact to parishioners this morning, August 19, 2018.
Why would Bishop Burns suppress this crucial information? Was it to protect the diocese from scandal? What about concern for the safety of children and the need to comfort any survivors? Where is the transparency that the Catholic bishops promised? As survivors of clergy sexual abuse who belong to SNAP, the Survivors Network, we believe parishioners should be demanding answers from Bishop Burns.
If Bishop Burns is truly sincere about addressing the sexual abuse inflicted on young parishioners, he needs to do more. He should reach out to every parish where Rev. Paredes worked. He should also notify Catholic communities around the world, especially in the Philippines, where he suspects the priest fled.
Parents should also be gently asking their children if they were harmed by Rev. Paredes. Anyone who experienced, witnessed or suspected abuse should report immediately to the Dallas Police Department. Please. If you know something, say something.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, is the world's oldest and largest support group for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. 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.
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.