WA--Victims blast Spokane priest "innocence" claim
For immediate release Friday April 17, 2015
Today, in Spokane the acting head of the diocese, the Rev. Michael Savelesky, announced that he was restoring a suspended and accused, several times, predator priest back to ministry. While several charges against Rev. Joseph Weitensteiner, the former director of Morning Star Boys Ranch, were taken to trial others were investigate outside of the courts in secret by an individual, hand-picked by the bishop. No details were given about the unusual and untested process (Did the panel interview the accuser? How many other people did the panel talk with?) SNAP wants diocesan officials to be more forthcoming about the procedure he used in this case and others.
SNAP believes the diocese should work much harder to urge anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered misdeeds by Weitensteiner to come forward.
We commend these brave victims for having found the courage to come forward. It is never easy to report abuse especially when the predator is a trusted member of the clergy. These boys were already extremely vulnerable when they when they were sent to Morning Star Ranch, a perfect situation for predators.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We were founded in 1988 and have 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.
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.