While we’re glad Yakima Catholic officials admit that Fr. Hilario Ramirez is a credibly accused child molester, we’re sad that they’ve delayed this disclosure for months and are apparently refusing to give many details.
The statement implies that Fr. Ramirez was in Yakima because of one family’s invitation. It also suggests that he didn’t work in any Yakima Catholic churches. We suspect that’s not the full story.
It only takes seconds for a child predator to shove his hands down a boy's pants or his tongue down a girl's throat. So it's possible that he only molested four kids and did so within a few days. It’s possible he didn’t spend weeks working at Yakima churches.
But we suspect that he was, in fact, in Washington for weeks or months, sent there by his Texas bishop with the knowledge and approval of the Yakima bishop. And we suspect he worked in one or more parishes.
Yakima Catholic officials could make these facts known. But instead, they are choosing to be vague.
Regardless, we do hope that every Yakima area Catholic will ask friends and family about Fr. Ramirez If they discover another one of his victims, we urge that individual to step forward, get help, expose wrongdoing, and start healing.
The Yakima diocese statement urges victims to contact church officials. We respectfully disagree. We urge anyone who may have knowledge or suspicions about Fr. R to call secular authorities, not church authorities.
(Church officials say they’ve heard that Fr. Ramirez is deceased. That may or may not be true. Even if it is true, it’s possible that other current or former church employees or volunteers might be criminally prosecuted for ignoring or concealing Fr. Ramirez’s crimes. That’s why we encourage anyone with knowledge or suspicions to come forward today.)
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