Victims' group finds the Diocese of Sioux Falls list of abusers short

Victims' group finds the Diocese of Sioux Falls list of abusers short

They want to see an additional 25 names added

Native Americans survivors will also speak out about abuse in Catholic-run boarding schools

The group will also urge the state to reform the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse

SNAP says that victims in SD need a "Window to Justice"

WHAT

At a sidewalk news conference child sex abuse survivors will urge the Diocese of Sioux Falls to add 25 additional names to its list of clergy with "substantiated allegations" of abuse. The group will also call attention to the sexual abuse of Native Americans in Catholic boarding schools, as well as the need for statute of limitations reform in South Dakota.

WHEN

Friday, May 24th, 11 am

WHERE

Chancery Office, Catholic Diocese of Sioux Falls, 523 N. Duluth Avenue, Sioux Falls

WHO

2-3 child sex abuse survivors and their supporters, including an Arizona man who is the President of the Board of Directors of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, and one or more Native Americans who were victimized in Catholic boarding schools.

WHY

1. According to CHILDUSA.org, only 1/3 of victims of child sexual abuse (CSA) disclose in childhood, and 1/3 never disclose. The average age for a victim of CSA to come forward is 52. Most survivors are silenced by feelings of shame, as well as the fear that they will be disbelieved if they do speak up. Many do not even realize until years later that what happened to them was a crime.

Since 2002, when the Boston Globe SPOTLIGHT team revealed the recycling of known abusers and the cover up of child sex crimes by the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, at least 38 states have amended their civil statutes of limitations. SOL reform was signed into law in New York in February, and in New Jersey just this month. 

SNAP believes that South Dakota representatives should join their fellow legislators across the country and help to restore justice to those who have been silent for far too long. Along with giving victims more time to come forward in the future, SD should also open a "Window to Justice" for those survivors who were out of time before they were able to disclose their abuse. When these laws are changed, "hidden predators" will be revealed, children and communities will be safer, and institutions that have recycled known abusers will be held accountable. 

2. In March the Diocese of Sioux Falls released the names of 11 Diocesan priests with "substantiated" allegationsof abuse. However, the survivors' group wants the Diocese to include not only Diocesan priests, but also the names of religious order and extern priests, as well as all deacons, nuns, brothers, and lay employees and volunteers who have been accused of abusing children, or vulnerable adults. SNAP feels that anything less is an attempt to minimize the full extent of the problem within the Diocese. 

BishopAccoutability.org, a nonprofit that has been tracking the Catholic sex abuse scandal since 2002, includes the names of 22 others who worked in the Diocese of Sioux Falls who have been publicly accused of abuse. They are: Fr. Balden, Sister Boganina, Br. Henry Busman, Br. Francis P. Chapman, Fr. Gregory Cholewa, Fr. J. Vincent Fitzgerald, Br. Paul A. V. Frey, Sister Gabrini, Fr. Edward Hess, Sister John, Sister Katherine, Seminarian Theodore Kowalski, Fr. Robert "Bob" Krantz, Sister Lagenda, Br. Leroy, Fr. Thomas Lind, Sister Lucy Marie, Fr. William Pitcavage, Fr. John Pohlen, Fr. Francis Suttmiller, Sister Theresa, and Br. Tim. 

In addition, SNAP has identified four others who have been publicly accused of abuse elsewhere, but who worked in the Diocese of Sioux Falls. 

--Br. Andre Bennett attended St. John’s Abbey in St. Cloud, Minnesota, became a Benedictine monk and began using the religious name of Andre. In 1955, Brother Bennett attended Sacred Heart School of Nursing in Yankton, SD and later studied at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Omaha, NE. He is on a list of monks "likely to have offended against minors" released by St. John’s Abbey in 2013. He has been accused of sexually abusing at least six students a tthe Abbey. Br. Bennett died in 2007. He has also gone by the names of Andreas Bennett, Joannes Bennett and JohnBennett.

--Fr. Robert Reitmeier was a priest of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate (“Oblates”) and worked at parishes and assignments in Minnesota, Illinois, Missouri, Massachusetts and South DakotaHe is included on the Oblates' and the Diocese of Duluth's lists of clergy members who have been "credibly accused" of child sexual abuse. From 1975-79, he was the Director of  the Tekakwitha Children’s Home in Sisseton. In 2007, Fr. Reitmeier was dismissed from Oblates.

--Fr. Angelo Zankl, who was born as Gerard Zankl in Almena, Wisconsin. He entered a Minnesota monastery and was given the name Angelo. Fr. Zankl studied in New Hampshire, Indiana, and Pennsylvania and worked in various parishes throughout Minnesota. He is included on the list of clergy members who have been "credibly accused" of child sexual abuse in the Diocese of Duluth.

From 1930-1932, he was an associate pastor in Mandan, ND and from 1945–1946, he was a hospital chaplain in Sioux Falls.

3. Finally, SNAP wants to call attention to the Native American children who were abused on the reservations in Catholic-run boarding schools. Efforts for these victims to achieve justice have been blocked, but will be possible with SOL reform in SD.

Contact

Tim Lennon, SNAP President (tlennon@SNAPnetwork.org, 415 312 5820), Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director ( zhiner@SNAPnetwork.org(517) 974-9009)

(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)


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