Admitted Abusive Priest with ties to Chicago arrested in East Timor
For immediate Release: April 29, 2019
A priest from a Chicago-based Catholic group has been arrested for molesting little girls in East Timor, one of the poorest countries on earth. We hope Catholic officials in Chicago will mount an aggressive outreach drive so that he might also be charged here.
For decades, Fr. Richard Daschbach has run an orphanage called Topu Honis Shelter Home in East Timor. Last year he allegedly admitted that hesexually abused little girls at the orphanage. As of two months ago he was reportedly refusing to leave the facility and was still saying mass, despite being defrocked. Given the access that Fr. Daschbach has had to children in this vulnerable area, we fear it is very likely that he abused dozens of little girls before finally being arrested.
Fr. Daschbach was ordained at St. Mary’s Mission Seminary in Chicago and was a member of the Chicago-based Society of the Divine Word (SVD). We call on Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich and leaders from the SVD to use every tool at their disposal to encourage officials here to investigate if any crimes were committed in the U.S. by the former priest, with the goal of having him face prosecution in this country as well.
By laicizing Fr. Daschbach but ignoring the fact that he had returned to ministry around young children, Church officials at the Vatican washed their hands of him. But leaders in the Chicago Archdiocese and SVD can show they care and want to prevent abuse by pulling out the stops. They should be appealing to governments in both countries to do everything they can to make sure that Fr. Daschbach is kept away from children for the rest of his life.
Finally, we hope that anyone who saw, suspected or suffered Fr. Daschbach’s crimes will contact law enforcement immediately. No one should be complacent and assume he will be successfully prosecuted in East Timor. The U.S. has a much more well-established and well-funded justice system. Children will be safest if this former priest faces charges in more than one country.
CONTACT: Zach Hiner, Executive Director (517-974-9009, firstname.lastname@example.org)
(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)