MO--Victims want Springfield bishop to do outreach in murder case
For immediate release: Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016
An ex-priest just arrested for murder reportedly admitted his crimes to at least one colleague in Ava. We call on Springfield Catholic officials to aggressively reach out to anyone in southwest Missouri who may have seen, suspected or suffered crimes by this former cleric.
More than 50 years after the rape and murder of young Irene Garza in Texas, John Feit has been charged with the crime. After her death, Catholic officials did what they’ve done for decades with known and suspected criminal clerics: they quickly and quietly sent Feit away, to a monastery in Ava.
While there, Feit reportedly admitted the murder to a monk named Dale Tacheny who now lives in Oklahoma City.
If the alleged murderer confided in one person at Ava, he may have confided in others. No matter how slim this chance may seem, if justice is to be served and the innocent are to be protected, it’s crucial that church officials take action.
Or another person in Ava may have seen or suspected or overheard some conversation or noticed some evidence that might make a difference.
It will be tough to resolve a case so old. But Catholic staff owe it to themselves and their flocks – and to Irene Garza’s still-grieving family – to help police and prosecutors learn the full truth of this horror.
Specifically, we urge every Springfield area Catholic employee – from custodian to chancellor – to spread the word, beat the bushes, and seek out anyone with information or suspicions about Feit’s crimes, using church bulletins, pulpit announcements, church websites and word-of-mouth.
Specifically, we urge the “College of Consultors” to act. They govern the Springfield diocese temporarily since there’s currently no bishop. These priests are Msgr. Thomas Reidy, chancellor, Fr. David Dohogne, Fr. J. Friedel, Fr. Hank Grodecki, CM, Fr. David Hulshof, Fr. Tom Kiefer, and Fr. Allan Saunders.
If the alleged murdered confided in one person at Ava, he may have confided in others. No matter how slim this chance may seem, if justice is to be served and the innocent are to be protected, it’s crucial that church officials take action.
Or another person in Ava may have seen or suspected or overheard some conversation or noticed some evidence
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.
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.