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)
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.