- Victims to Dolan: “Stop attacking victims”
- Cardinal lashes out at teenager on his blog
- And he calls prominent self help group “liars”
- Offensive comments have “chilling effect,” SNAP says
- Organization wants an apology & removal from website
- Group also wants Dolan to denounce “hardball legal tactics”
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will urge New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan to
-- apologize for and remove two of his “offensive and intimidating” recent blog posts in which he “attacks” victims (including a New York teenager who was reportedly molested six months ago),
-- denounce and help stop other recent legal attacks on victims’ privacy by Missouri Catholic officials, and
-- publicly urge anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered crimes by a recently arrested Bronx priest to contact police and prosecutors immediately
Monday, March 26 at 2:00 p.m.
Outside the NY Catholic Archdiocese headquarters, 1011 First Ave. (between 55th & 56th St.) in Manhattan, NY
Three child sex abuse victims who belong to a support group called the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), including a Missouri man who is the organization’s long time executive director
In two recent blog postings (one weeks ago, another in August), SNAP says that NY Cardinal Timothy Dolan has “callously attacked” clergy sex abuse victims, including a New York teenager.
In one, he essentially impugns the credibility of a 16 year old girl who reported last August being molested three times over three days by her pastor/employer. Dolan basically questioned why she returned to work twice after the initial offense. http://blog.archny.org/?p=1556
In another, Dolan quotes a controversial Catholic figure as calling SNAP “liars” and “a phony victims group” whose charges that Dolan covered up alleged child sex crimes are “obscene” and “libelous.” http://blog.archny.org/?p=2384
Both postings, SNAP maintains, further hurt and intimidate victims into staying silent, thus enabling more predators to go undetected and endangering more kids. Both contradict Dolan’s “carefully-crafted but disingenuous image as a prelate who is better than most other bishops regarding child safety,” the group says. SNAP wants Dolan to publicly apologize and take down the posts.
And they want Dolan to use his blog to aggressively seek out others who may have seen the arrested Bronx priest’s crimes and beg them to contact law enforcement.
SNAP is also upset about what victims and their advocates are calling an unprecedented assault by Catholic officials to “intimidate child sex abuse victims, witnesses, whistleblowers and those who help them” by seeking subpoenas and massive amounts of private communications between victims and a support group.
The unusual legal maneuvers were recently detailed in a page one New York Times story. The Times quoted the head of the NY-based Catholic League as suggesting that several bishops have decided to “come together collectively” to “better toughen up” and go after victims.
In St. Louis, archdiocesan lawyers are demanding that SNAP turn over perhaps hundreds of pages of the group’s confidential records, including emails to and from a now 19 year old who was repeatedly raped nine years ago by a priest. And in Kansas City, church lawyers and demanding private communications going back 23 years, even from now-deceased individuals who never set foot in KC and who had no knowledge of or role in clergy sex cases there.
The demands, SNAP says, are “invasive, chilling, and designed to discourage victims, witnesses, whistleblowers, police, prosecutors and journalists” from contacting the group for help. They are also costing SNAP tens of thousands of dollars and “causing severe financial hardship” to the group. So SNAP wants Dolan (as head of the US Conference of Bishops) to publicly denounce the bishops who are using this “mean-spirited” legal tactic, and try to stop them from doing it.
The 16-year-old NY girl reported being molested three times over three days at Our Blessed Lady Catholic Church in the Bronx where she worked by Fr. James (aka Jaime) Duenas. The cleric reportedly told prosecutors that she “was wearing short skirts” and “enjoyed” what he called “massages.” Police arrested him but SNAP is not clear on the status of the case. The group wants Dolan to seek out others with knowledge or suspicions of Duenas’ crimes and urge them to get help, call police, and help prosecutors convict him so he’ll be away from kids.
A photo of Duenas, who was ordained in Colombia in 1950, is available at http://bishop-accountability.org/member/psearch.jsp