VT- Professor accused of child abuse; SNAP responds
For immediate release: Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2014
A faculty member at Norwich University in Vermont is accused of molesting a boy at a New York Catholic school. We urge college officials to suspend the professor immediately.
The accused is Norman E. Rioux, a former Spanish teacher at La Salle Institute in Troy in the Albany Catholic Diocese. According to the Albany Times Union, Rioux allegedly molested Michael Cioppa and “was hired at the school despite being convicted of federal charges in U.S. District Court for a check-cashing scheme that La Salle officials now say they did not know about.”
We applaud Cioppa for reporting the abuse he suffered. We applaud the La Salle Institute for disclosing Rioux' name. But that's not enough. School officials and Albany's bishop must aggressively seek out anyone else who may have seen, suspected or suffered Rioux' crimes, so that he might be prosecuted, convicted and kept away from children. They must punish any employee who knew about or suspected Rioux' crimes and stayed silent or concealed it.
Norwich University officials should do the same.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 25 years and have more than 18,000 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.
The Attorneys General of forty states have inquired about the grand jury process in Pennsylvania. Let's get statewide investigations going in fifty states.
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.