TX - Groups blast Brownsville bishop over child sex crimes
- Groups blast Brownsville bishop over child sex crimes
- They want him to post the names of all predator priests
- At least 30 US Catholic prelates have taken “this simple safety step”
- SNAP: “At least 5 local clergy are proven, admitted or credibly accused abusers”
- Self help organization wants “outreach & warnings” about a Nigerian pedophile
Holding signs and childhood photos, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will urge Brownsville’s bishop to
-- post the names of all current and former predator priests on his website,
-- warn church members and officials – here and in Nigeria – about a child molesting cleric who has fled the area, and
--personally visit each parish there the predator worked, begging anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered his crimes to come forward, get help, and call police.
Wednesday, October 3 at 10:00 a.m.
Outside the Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan, 400 N. Virgin de San Juan Blvd (corner of Oblate St.) in San Juan, TX (956) 787-0033
2-3 members of a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, including a Chicago woman who is SNAP’s president and founder and 1-2 members of a church reform group called Call to Action (CTA)
These two groups are calling on local Catholic officials to do more to “protect the vulnerable, heal the wounded and expose the cover ups” in the Brownsville diocese.
Specifically, they want Brownsville Bishop Daniel Flores to post on his website the names, photos and whereabouts of priests who are proven, admitted or credibly accused child molesters. Roughly 30 US bishops have done this. http://www.bishop-accountability.org/AtAGlance/lists.htm
They also want Flores to warn church members and officials, here and in Nigeria – through church websites, bulletins, mailings and pulpit announcements – about Fr. Basil Onyia. According to a Chicago Tribune investigative report on fugitive predator priests (published a few months ago), Fr. Onyia “remains at large” after “having fled to his native Nigeria” where he “worked in parishes” despite being sought by Texas law enforcement for his alleged abuse of a mentally challenged Brownsville area girl.
Fr. Onyia told The Dallas Morning News he is innocent of all charges and that former Brownsville Bishop Pena “advised him to flee.” http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P1-103239104.html
The two groups fear Fr. Onyia may be hurting more children now. They also feel it’s irresponsible for Catholic officials to do little or nothing to protect children when a pedophile priest moves elsewhere.
In 2004, the diocese reported that seven of its priests have been accused of abuse, but Catholic officials have made very little information about these alleged predators public. A Boston-based website called BishopAccountability.org lists five of the accused by name. SNAP suspects there are more child molesting clerics who have worked or lived in the area whose identities are still being hidden by church officials.
The two groups argue that posting the names of credibly accused clergy is one of the simplest ways to keep kids safe.
“It is a minimal step that takes very few resources, but is very useful in informing the public about where these predators may be, and can help parents keep kids away from them,” said Blaine.
In 2002, Tucson and Baltimore became the first US dioceses to disclose predators’ names. A good current example is the Philadelphia archdiocese: http://archphila.org/protection/Updates/update_main.htm. Here is a list of all the dioceses that have disclosed names: http://www.bishop-accountability.org/AtAGlance/lists.htm
“It’s highly likely that Fr. Onyia is abusing kids in Nigeria,” said Blaine. “It’s also likely that no US bishop warned Nigerian church members or officials about this predator. We want Bishop Flores to immediately use every resource he has to publicize this information about Fr. Onyia and do what he can to keep kids safe, both here and overseas.”
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.