SNAP responds: Wheeling-Charleston diocese release accused names of clerics
The Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston has announced that they will release the names of "credibly" accused priests in their diocese. While SNAP is grateful that yet another diocese will be releasing the names of those they have found to be "credibly accused," we believe that this should have been done years ago. We also hope that the list will include those who have had allegations of abusing vulnerable adults, such as former head of the Diocese, Bishop Michael J. Bransfield.
Hopefully the West Virginia attorney general will be investigating the Wheeling-Charleston Diocese. He should subpoena all the "secret archives" of these entities and also set up a hot line for victims to call, just as was done in Pennsylvania. As we have seen in places like Buffalo, church officials cannot be trusted to release all the records they have. Outside law enforcement needs to get involved.
The list should be kept permanently on the Diocesan website and run at least quarterly in every parish bulletin. It should include every single proven, admitted and "credibly accused" church employee: bishops, priests, seminarians, brothers, nuns, and lay people, no matter who supervised or ordained them or where the abuse took place.
Parents, parishioners, police prosecutors and the public should ask two questions about every name. When did the Diocese first learn she/he was accused, and why the secrecy of decades, years, months or weeks before this crucial information was released?
CONTACT: Judy Jones, SNAP Midwest Regional Leader, (636-433-2511, email@example.com, Zach Hiner, Executive Director (firstname.lastname@example.org, 517-974-9009)
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. 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.