Vatican--Victims urge other Wesolowski victims to “come forward”
For immediate release: Friday, Aug. 28
Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 503 0003, bdorris@SNAPnetwork.org)
Kids are safer now that Wesolowski has passed. But sadly, now no one will ever know how many Catholic officials concealed his crimes for how many months or years.
Had Vatican officials turned over Wesolowski to secular authorities, as they should have, he might have already been tried, convicted and imprisoned. And more truth about wrongdoers in his case might have surfaced.
Two weeks ago, the BBC reported that Wesolowski was walking freely in Rome:
Last year a church official disclosed that he saw Wesolowski walking freely in Rome:
This is incredibly irresponsible and dangerous. During his time in Rome, we hope Wesolowski did not hurt more children.
We hope Wesolowski’s passing brings some measure of comfort to his victims. We urge every single person who saw, suspected or suffered Wesolowkski’s crimes to contact secular authorities. Though he obviously won’t be prosecuted, it’s possible that some clerics who ignored or concealed his crimes might be brought to justice.
We also hope that Vatican officials stop their centuries-old practice of handling clergy sex crimes and cover ups. Child molesting clerics should be dealt with by the independent, unbiased professionals in secular law enforcement, not by biased, secretive church colleagues.
Finally, it’s worth noting that Catholic News Service reports that:
In its official statement about his death, the Vatican referred to him as "His Excellency Monsignor Josef Wesolowski," even though he was dismissed from the clerical state in June 2014 after an investigation by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
His appeal of the dismissal was denied, Father Benedettini said, "but was not officially communicated so as not to aggravate the situation" while he was awaiting the separate criminal trial. He was still listed as an archbishop in the 2015 edition of the "Annuario Pontificio," the Vatican yearbook.
(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.