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)
SNAP will be Representing Clergy Abuse Survivors in Rome!
We are taking the fight to Rome and are standing up for all survivors on a world stage! From February 19-25, Board President Tim Lennon, Seattle Leader Mary Dispenza, Los Angeles Leader Esther Hatfield Miller and Austin Leader Carol Midboe will be traveling to Rome for Pope Francis' Papal Abuse Summit.
If you are a member of the media and looking to get in touch with these survivors while in Rome, click here for our media advisory and contact information. If you are interested in connecting with a survivor in the US from your area of coverage, please contact one of the SNAP leaders in the US listed below:
- East Coast/DC: Becky Ianni (SNAPvirginia@cox.net, 703-801-6044)
- Midwest/Chicago: Zach Hiner (firstname.lastname@example.org, 517-974-9009)
- Midwest/St. Louis: David Clohessy (email@example.com, 314314-566-9790)
- West Coast / San Francisco: Melanie Sakoda (firstname.lastname@example.org, 925-708-6175)
If you are looking to help spread the word about the importance of this summit and for survivors to be heard, add your voice to the conversation on social media using the hashtag #PBC2019. Be sure to follow SNAP on twitter and Facebook and share our posts, add your comments, and let the world know that we are watching!Learn More