Survivors astounded and ask some burning questions: Bishop Burns admits that he only disclosed the sexual molestation of 3 victims by Rev. Edmundo Paredes because of the PA Grand Jury report last week.
For immediate release, August 21, 2018
Bishop Edward Burns, leader of the Catholic Diocese of Dallas, publicly admitted that he only disclosed the credible allegations that Rev. Edmundo Paredes sexually molested 3 victims, because of the PA Grand Jury report that came out last week.
Survivors ask the burning question, “If the PA Grand Jury report never happened, would we know about Paredes’ alleged sex crimes or would this important information still be hidden in the secret files within the diocese? No!”
According to a spokeswoman for the diocese, “To protect the victims’ identities, church officials did not specify the exact period of time when Paredes allegedly molested them.” SNAP acknowledges that the diocese did not specify the exact period of time when Paredes allegedly molested the teens, but that doesn’t explain why the diocese did not disclose that the abuse happened at all, that is, until it was “inspired” by the PA Grand Jury report presumably. Does the diocese not think that there could be additional victims of Paredes? Does the diocese have reason to believe that Paredes only abused certain teens at one point in time and then stopped, never to molest again? Does the good bishop and the diocese of Dallas need basic training and understanding of pederasts and pedophiles?
Furthermore, Burns said church officials immediately contacted Dallas police in February 2018, who began an investigation into the alleged crimes. However, it was reported that the diocese removed Rev. Paredes from St. Cecilia and suspended him from ministry for stealing money from the church. Did the diocese report this crime to the Dallas Police Department in May or June 2017 or was this crime covered up by the bishop to protect the church, the diocese or his brother priest? The diocese even allowed St. Cecilia to hold a celebratory Mass for Paredes on June 1, 2017, calling it a retirement celebration. Can you imagine how those 3 victims felt when their perpetrator was given such high praise? Yet, Bishop Burns’ words ring hollow when he says, “With the utmost sensitivity to victims, I have pledged to continue efforts of transparency and need to make you aware of this atrocious and sad event.” Where is the transparency in that?
So, what we know is that the Diocese of Dallas suspended Paredes and said he is no longer allowed to function as a priest. This was reported to be in June 2017, before the diocese knew anything about the molestation allegations. So, let’s be clear, the bishop suspended Paredes for stealing money, not abusing minors and sent him away with a celebration.
Paredes apparently disappeared after his suspension in June 2017, yet the diocese is only now hiring private investigators to locate him. Why weren’t they hired in February 2018 when the allegations first came to light?
SNAP is urging victims of Paredes to come forward by calling the Dallas Police Department, so they can start the healing process. Any survivor of clergy sex abuse is encouraged to come forward to begin the healing process. There are ways that they can do that and protect themselves.
Parents should also be asking their children, both young and old, 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 or saw 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)
Contact - Lisa Kendzior, (817) 773-5907, firstname.lastname@example.org, Paul Petersen, (972) 569-0995 email@example.com, Tim Lennon (415-312-5820, tlennon@SNAPnetwork.org); Melanie Jula Sakoda, (925-708-6175, firstname.lastname@example.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.