WA- Yakima Catholic bishop "splits hairs"
For immediate release: Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, SNAPclohessy@aol.com)
Yakima's Catholic bishop is desperately trying to evade responsibility for a child molesting cleric by stressing that the cleric's crimes happened during guitar lessons that weren't "church-sanctioned." That is disgusting hair-splitting. Deacon Aaron Ramirez would likely never have been trusted by this boy or his parents had Yakima's bishop not irresponsibly held Ramirez out to be a holy, celibate man when he clearly wasn't.
For decades, Catholic officials have said almost anything to avoid any accountability for their reckless, callous and deceptive wrongdoing in clergy sex abuse and cover up cases.
(In one notorious case, then-Archbishop William Levada of San Francisco argued in court filings that one of his priests shouldn't have to pay support for the child he fathered because the woman should have used birth control, which of course the Catholic hierarchy insists is immoral.)
Catholic bishops have shown a remarkable ability to sound pastoral in public, but fight viciously in court. We hope Yakima jurors won't reward more of this legalistic, self-serving hair-splitting.
(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 15,000 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.