What’s up with New Jersey Catholic officials?
I’m not talking about the outrageous Fr. Michael Fugee case in Newark. I’m talking about these recent cases, all of which have surfaced in less than one month:
-- Fr. Matthew Riedlinger, who was exposed Sunday as having sent 1,200 inappropriate sexual text messages to what he thought was a teenaged boy and had sexually harassed at least five teenagers and young men, some of whom were seminarians. (For months, Trenton Bishop David O'Connell has kept this hidden.)
-- Fr. Kevin Keelan, who said in a church bulletin that "blabbing" was a sin and that they were not entitled to more information about Fr. Riedlinger.
-- Fr. Vincent Inghilterra, against whom at least one child sex abuse case has settled. (For at least three months, Trenton Bishop O'Connell has kept silent about these accusations).
-- Fr. Victor Phelan, whose status as a credibly accused child molesting cleric was hidden for months. (Newark’s Archbishop Myers has said nothing about them, even though a settlement was paid to at least one victim.)
-- Fr. John P. Nickas of the Newark Archdiocese, against a child sex abuse settlement was disclosed in September.
--Fr. Richard Mieliwocki, who was defrocked by the Vatican because of child sex crimes, but Newark Archbishop Myers only posted a tiny notice in his archdiocesan paper and refused to express remorse for his victims or beg others who he hurt to come forward and get help.
--Fr. Horacio Daniel Medina, whose defrocking was handled in the very same irresponsible way.
--Fr. Joseph Shannon of Camden, a credibly accused serial predator, who passed away and (as best we can tell) Bishop Dennis Sullivan told no one and expressed no remorse for his victims nor asked any of them to step forward and get help.
(And in late August, three more credibly accused child molesting clerics were “outed” in New Jersey: Fr. Joseph B. DiPeri, Fr. Eusebio Pantoja and Fr. Rubin Abaya. They worked in at least seven towns - Perth Amboy, Rumson, Jersey City, Newark, Garfield, Summit and Englewood (all in three dioceses – Newark, Metuchen and Trenton.)
It’s important to note that most of this surfaced in spite of, not because of, New Jersey Catholic officials. It was made public because of brave victims (like Timothy Schmalz), caring attorneys (like Mitchell Garabedian), persistent journalists (like Mark Mueller of the Star Ledger), and others.
Again, I can’t help but wonder what’s up with New Jersey’s Catholic bishops? Have they forgotten that the official US church abuse policy allegedly mandates “openness and transparency” in clergy sex abuse cases?
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