TX - Abuse victims blast Catholic Charities
- They call for grand jury investigation
- Young immigrant child was sodomized at children’s home
- Staff misled investigators and delayed reporting the crimes
- Their goal, federal report said, was to “protect” their program
- SNAP: “Houston’s Cardinal should aggressively seek out others”
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will
--thank a federal agency for removing kids from church run homes in the wake of what victims call “an egregious abuse and cover up case,”
--blast Catholic Charities officials for “their extraordinary callousness and recklessness,”
--urge local prosecutors to launch grand jury investigations into the facilities, and
--prod Houston’s top Catholic official to “use his considerable resources” to seek out and offer help to others who may have seen, suspected or suffered child sex crimes at church institutions.
--beg victims, witnesses and whistleblowers to call police and prosecutors so wrongdoers can be imprisoned and future wrongdoing can be prevented.
TODAY, Thursday, September 29 at 2:30 p.m.
On the sidewalk outside the Houston-Galveston chancery at 1700 San Jacinto (between Jefferson and Pease) in Houston, TX
Two-four clergy sex abuse victims who belong to a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org), including a St. Louis man who is the organization’s director
Earlier this week, the Houston Chronicle disclosed that an investigation has found that Houston Catholic Charities officials “had full knowledge of the extent of the assaults (on) and anal penetration (of) a child,” delayed reporting the crime, “submitted erroneous … reports.” The investigation found that staffers gave the child victim medical care “only the after they were ordered to do so by federal officials.” and tried to pressure other employees to not to disclose details of the incident to "protect the program."
The investigation was prompted by the horrific abuse of an eight year old immigrant in July at St. Michaels Home for Children in north Houston, which is operated by Catholic Charities under the auspices of the Galveston-Houston Catholic archdiocese.
Officials with the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) say they were “deliberately misled” by Catholic Charities staff. According to the ORR, during a visit to the facility, they found “significant concerns,” including the fact staff “claimed to have reported the abuse within 24 hours, but actually waited 13 days to file a report. During this time . . . no action had been taken against his abuser.”
SNAP wants local authorities to investigate these employees and prosecute all those who were complicit in the abuse or the cover-up to the fullest extent possible.
SNAP also wants Cardinal Daniel DiNardo to use his archdiocesan website, church bulletins, and parish pulpit announcement to “aggressively seek out” other kids who may have been hurt at the centers and harshly discipline staff who refused the child care, delayed reporting the crime and deceived federal investigators.
DiNardo is on the board of Catholic Charities and is responsible for the safety of all church members and facilities in the Galveston-Houston Archdiocese.
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.