Court ruling forces the Diocese of Albany to release treatment records
(For Immediate Release April 25, 2022)
To us, the only way for the Catholic church to start designing a safer institution for children is when full transparency is willfully offered. With the facts about the abuse crisis, its abusers, and its enablers, the future can be better than the past.
For example, in the late 90s, the Los Angeles District Attorney investigated convicted priest Michael Baker and requested his personnel files from the Los Angeles Archdiocese, which fought to keep them from the proceedings. The Archdiocese was eventually required to turn over all the files on Baker. These files included information that led to a second victim which may have never been known unless authorities pressed further. All totaled, Baker has had 23 allegations against him. We can’t help but think how many lives this disclosure of information has impacted.
It is sad to advocates that it takes a secular court to time and again force Albany, and all bishops, into being transparent. Even with this court order, society cannot trust that catholic leaders will do the right thing and tell the truth. Whatever is provided should be audited and if it is discovered that files were withheld, those responsible should go to jail.
We are grateful to the many secular authorities - the governors of New York, the Attorney General, district attorneys, and other law enforcement, who through their secular powers are stepping in to protect children and force a cultural restructuring of the Albany diocese's instinct to hide information and protect predators.
What we hope is that the current round of leaders in the Albany diocese now start practicing what they preach, and those future leaders of the diocese actually believe that transparency is the only way to protect children and offer a wholesome church experience.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for more than 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)