TX--Victims oppose archbishop’s pending promotion
Victims to leaflet outside Catholic church
The pastor was accused of molesting a boy
And they oppose archbishop’s pending promotion
Soon, it’s likely he will become head of all US prelates
But group says DiNardo should “withdraw from the race & stay home”
SNAP: “For kids’ safety & victims’ healing, he should work on prevention here”
Handing out fliers to church-goers as they leave mass, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will urge Houston’s top Catholic official to
--end his campaign to become head of all US bishops next week, and
--post names, photos & records of ALL predator priests (not just the ones who are sued), and
-- do the same with religious order clerics, so that kids can be protected and victims can heal.
They will also urge
--parishioners to be careful around their pastor who was accused of molesting a boy and
--anyone who has seen, suspected or suffered crimes or cover ups by Houston clerics to “come forward, protect kids, expose secrets, deter wrongdoing and start healing” by calling independent sources of help (therapists, police prosecutors, support groups), NOT church officials.
Sunday, Nov. 6, 2016 from 8:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
On the sidewalk outside the Prince the Peace Catholic Church, 19222 Highway 249 (near Perry Road) in Houston TX
Three-four adults who belong to a self-help group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org). Some were molested as kids; others are concerned Catholics.
1)Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston is the vice-chair of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, the organization that includes all of the prelates in the nation. According to custom and practice, he is considered to be the front runner to become president when the group meets in Baltimore Nov. 14-16. Nine other bishops are also running for the post.
But given what they call DiNardo’s “awful track record regarding kids’ safety,” SNAP is urging him to “drop out of the race, stay home, and take strong, immediate and public steps to reveal the names of predator priests and their complicit colleagues, so that Houston area youngsters will be safer and Houston area ‘enablers’ will be exposed,” says Michael Norris of SNAP.
“Doing this would achieve two purposes. First, it would safeguard the vulnerable. And it would be a sign of genuine remorse and contrition that would help heal the wounded, both suffering victims and betrayed parishioners,” Norris believes.
2) In 2002, Fr. John T. Keller was accused of giving a teenage boy booze, calling the intoxicated boy into bed with him, and fondling him in the 1980s, according to the Dallas Morning News.
According to BishopAccountability.org, Fr. Keller also wrote "love letters" to the 16 year old. Fr. Keller denied abusing the boy but admitted holding him in a "manner inappropriate for a priest," according to then-Bishop Joseph Fiorenza. Members of the bishop’s hand-picked abuse panel - including Monit Cheung, a social work professor and then-chair J. Michael Solar, a lawyer - unanimously agreed that Father Keller "acted very inappropriately," the bishop wrote in his letter. (She’s at email@example.com, 713-743-8107. He’s at firstname.lastname@example.org, 713-850-1212.) M. Jean Kitchel, who taught at the University of St. Thomas, was also on that panel.
Archdiocesan officials then claimed Fr. Keller’s misconduct did not fit their definition of sexual abuse so he continues as an active priest. They didn’t even suspend him pending a church inquiry, which is required by the US bishops’ national abuse policy.
SNAP feels this is irresponsible and reckless. The group wants DiNardo to re-examine how Fr. Keller’s case was handled by the previous bishop and publicly urge others who may have information or suspicions about wrongdoing by Fr. Keller to call police.
Carol and Stephen LaBonte are the parents of Fr. Keller’s alleged victim.
According to the Official Catholic Directory, Fr. Keller was ordained in 1974 and has spent his entire career in the Galveston-Houston Archdiocese, working at St. Francis Cabrini in Houston (1975-1977), Prince of Peace in Houston TX (1978-1980), Christ the Good Shepherd in Spring (1981-1983), back at St. Francis Cabrini (1983-1991), St. Justin Martyr in Houston TX (1992-1999), and back at Prince of Peace in Houston (2000-present). Since 1988, he has been on the Diocesan Presbyteral Council and in 2012, DiNardo made him the head or “dean” of a part of the archdiocese called the San Jacinto Deanery.
3) Last month, largely from news accounts in mainstream newspapers, SNAP has discovered three predator priests who worked in Houston but remain largely or completely “under the radar” here as child molesters despite having been credibly accused of such crimes in other cities or states. (They are Fr. Daniel Ramsey Barfield, Fr. Walter Dayton Salisbury, Fr. Joseph (Ngoc Nguyen) Tu and Fr. Sofronio A. “Pon” Aranda.)
The group believes there are adults now in Houston who were hurt by these clerics here but are “suffering in silence, shame, confusion and self-blame.”
SNAP is urging those victims to “find the courage to speak up, safeguard others and start healing.”
A list of 17 other Houston predator priests – compiled through public records by an independent organization – can be found at BishopAccountability.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.
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.