Statement by Kate Bochte, Volunteer Chicago SNAP Leader, 630-768-1860, [email protected]
A priest in the Archdiocese of Chicago who has been assigned to at least three local churches was recently arrested and charged with two felony counts of criminal sexual abuse involving force as well as one count of misdemeanor battery.
Prior to his arrest, Father Rigoberto Gamez was the associate vicar of Canonical Affairs as well as the liaison for Hispanic charismatic renewal for Cardinal Blase Cupich.
SNAP applauds the two women, ages 19 and 29, and the 17 year-old girl who filed criminal complaints against Father Gamez. It takes a lot of courage to come forward, especially against a man who holds a title and position which often comes attached with public trust and admiration, deserved or not. We urge members of the parish and wider community to keep an open mind and allow the justice system run its course.
Filing a formal complaint against an alleged serial perpetrator serves to protect other potential victims as well as to seek justice for past offenses. If crimes such as these are to be prevented, it is vital for victims and witnesses to expose them.
We urge anyone who experienced, witnessed, or suspected sexual assault at Our Lady of Tepeyac, St. Aloysius, Providence of God, or any other parish or place to please contact the police immediately. Criminal behavior is best investigated by the professionals in law enforcement.
Lastly, we call on Cardinal Cupich to keep his promises and offer full cooperation and zero resistance to the criminal prosecution of Father Gamez. We also urge him to visit each and every community where the priest worked and implore victims and witnesses to come forward, as well to instruct parishioners to treat the accusers with respect and compassion.
Despite representations by Church officials that clergy sex crimes are a thing of the past, cases like this remind us that the Church is not free of dangerous men, and that parishioners are most likely to be the victims of clergy crimes..
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been working for thirty years to support victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings and has more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in its network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
Contact - Kate Bochte (630-768-1860, [email protected]), Melanie Sakoda, (925-708-6175, [email protected]), Tim Lennon (415-312-5820, [email protected]),