TX--Accused Notre Dame predator priest still on the job; SNAP responds
For immediate release: Friday, May 29
Catholic officials are putting innocent children at risk by keeping an accused predator priest on the job even though he was sued for child sex abuse more last week ago.
We demand that staff at Notre Dame, the Ft. Wayne diocese and the San Antonio diocese suspend him immediately. They are acting recklessly and callously and are breaking the US bishops’ child sex abuse policy.
Since 2002, the US Catholic church hierarchy has formally and repeatedly pledged it would suspend credibly accused child molesting clerics. Yet a high-profile priest and professor, Fr. Virgilio Elizondo, was accused last week in a civil lawsuit of sexually assaulting a child in Texas in the 1980s.
Fort Wayne-South Bend Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades, San Antonio Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller and Notre Dame president Fr. John Jenkins are needlessly taking risks with the safety of boys and girls. They should
-- immediately suspend Fr. Elizondo from any and all positions,
-- send him to a remote, secure, independently-run treatment center, and
-- use their vast resources to aggressively seek out others who may have seen, suspected or suffered crimes by this cleric or cover ups by his church or university supervisors.
Some at the university say Fr. Elizondo spends little time on campus. That doesn’t matter. It takes only seconds for a child molester to shove his tongue in a boy’s mouth or his hands down a girl’s pants.
Anyone with information or suspicions about clergy sex crimes or cover ups should call secular authorities, not church officials.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has 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)
SNAP will be Representing Clergy Abuse Survivors in Rome!
We are taking the fight to Rome and are standing up for all survivors on a world stage! From February 19-25, Board President Tim Lennon, Seattle Leader Mary Dispenza, Los Angeles Leader Esther Hatfield Miller and Austin Leader Carol Midboe will be traveling to Rome for Pope Francis' Papal Abuse Summit.
If you are a member of the media and looking to get in touch with these survivors while in Rome, click here for our media advisory and contact information. If you are interested in connecting with a survivor in the US from your area of coverage, please contact one of the SNAP leaders in the US listed below:
- East Coast/DC: Becky Ianni (SNAPvirginia@cox.net, 703-801-6044)
- Midwest/Chicago: Zach Hiner (email@example.com, 517-974-9009)
- Midwest/St. Louis: David Clohessy (firstname.lastname@example.org, 314314-566-9790)
- West Coast / San Francisco: Melanie Sakoda (email@example.com, 925-708-6175)
If you are looking to help spread the word about the importance of this summit and for survivors to be heard, add your voice to the conversation on social media using the hashtag #PBC2019. Be sure to follow SNAP on twitter and Facebook and share our posts, add your comments, and let the world know that we are watching!Learn More