Vatican--Novel suit is filed vs. convicted predator who’s set to go back to work; Victims respond
For immediate release: Tuesday, April 19, 2016
It may be the most irresponsible Vatican move we’ve ever seen: Catholic officials in Rome have lifted the suspension of a recently convicted predator priest. We are stunned and saddened by such blatant recklessness and callousness
But we’re grateful that one of the priest’s victims is filing a new lawsuit, using a new approach, to try and protect kids from this admitted child molesting cleric.
Tomorrow, in Minnesota, an unusual lawsuit will be filed against Fr. Joseph Jeyapaul and his Catholic supervisors. Weeks ago, Fr. Jeyapaul’s bishop in India announced that the CDF had lifted Fr. Jeyapaul’s suspension and that next month, he’ll be reassigned.
This is a novel legal approach – charging Catholic officials with creating “public nuisances” by hiding and helping predator priests. In several states (especially Minnesota), it’s working. We hope more victims start to use it. Something new and more must be done to prod Catholic bishops to better safeguard the vulnerable and to stop enabling heinous child sex crimes.
Many other horrific clergy sex abuse and cover up cases involve
--local bishops, not Vatican officials, putting kids in harm’s way,
--credibly accused pedophile priests, not convicted ones, being put back on the job around kids, and
--irresponsible actions years before, not years after, repeated policies and pledges by church officials to keep child molesting kids out of ministry and away from kids.
So for these reasons, we consider the Vatican’s incredible recklessness and callousness in this case perhaps the worst we’ve ever seen.
To be clear, bishops have put other convicted child molesters back into parishes.
And to be clear, bishops still put and keep credibly accused predator priests in churches and schools. (Here are ten such cases in the US: http://www.snapnetwork.org/usa_accused_predator_priests_still_on_the_job)
But how, in 2016, under Pope Francis, who has made so many promises to do better with pedophile priests and who professes such concern for the vulnerable and suffering, does an admitted predator priest who faced two criminal charges (and was found guilty on one of them) and two civil lawsuits (both of which settled) and was a fugitive from justice and had to be extradited back to the US, get his suspension lifted just months after completing his prison sentence? It is mind-boggling.
It was Megan Peterson’s courage that brought forward a second victim of Fr. Jeyapaul. It was the second victim’s courage that prodded Fr. Jeyapaul to plead guilty. And we hope the courage of a third victim will get Fr. Jeyapaul extradited, convicted and jailed again, so that no more innocent lives are shattered.
Until he’s charged and convicted again, Fr. Jeyapaul should be put in a remote, secure, independently-run treatment center far from families who have learned to trust him.
No matter what church officials do or don’t do, we urge every single person who saw, suspected or suffered child sex crimes and cover ups in Catholic churches or institutions to protect kids by calling police, get help by calling therapists, expose wrongdoers by calling law enforcement, get justice by calling attorneys, and be comforted by calling support groups like ours. This is how kids will be safer, adults will recover, criminals will be prosecuted, cover ups will be deterred and the truth will surface.
(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)
U.S. church sex abuse survivor to sue diocese in India for reinstating perv priest
BY MICHAEL O'KEEFFE NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Monday, April 18, 2016,
The Vatican reinstated convicted pedophile and Catholic priest, Father Joseph Jeyapaul, in February 2016, less than a year after he pleaded guilty to sexual assault of a minor in Minnesota.
A former New Yorker who says she was sexually abused by a priest reinstated by the Vatican earlier this year - even though he had pleaded guilty to criminal charges - is expected to file a federal lawsuit against the cleric's diocese in India.
Minnesota attorney Jeff Anderson will file suit on behalf of Megan Peterson in federal court that claims the Diocese of Ootacamund endangered children by reinstating the Rev. Joseph Jeyapaul to ministry.
Anderson and Peterson will speak about the lawsuit at a news conference in St. Paul Tuesday, according to a press advisory released by Anderson's law firm.
Peterson, a member of the advocacy group SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests), said she could not . . .
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.