Defrocked Serial Abuser Still Enjoys “Celebrity Status” in the Country Where He Abused Children
A self-admitted pedophile and ex-priest from a Chicago-based Catholic group has made the news again in East Timor as he evades criminal justice in the United States. We fear for the vulnerable children that this serial abuser may still have access to and call on those that hired, trained, and ordained him to use every resource at their disposal to bring this disgraced cleric home to face justice.
For decades, Richard Daschbach ran an orphanage called Topu Honis, a shelter for homeless children, disabled adults, and women fleeing domestic violence in East Timor. In 2019, he was arrested for abusing young girls at this facility, a year after he admitted to sexually abusing the children under his care. Daschbach has since been defrocked by the Vatican, but despite these arrests and his own admissions, he apparently continues to enjoy “celebrity status” in East Timor, one of the poorest and most Catholic countries in the world.
Prior to his exodus from the US, 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 believe that both of these institutions have far more resources at their disposal than their counterparts in East Timor. They should be using those resources to bring the abuser they hired, trained, and ordained home so that he can no longer use his status to abuse children.
When the Church defrocked Daschbach, they essentially washed their hands of him. But regardless of the decision by the Vatican, what matters is that Daschbach is still treated as a priest by the people with whom he lives. If Catholic officials truly want to punish Daschbach for his crimes, they should ensure he is uprooted from his position of power and returned to the US where he will not be able to abuse children with impunity. Cardinal Blase Cupich and his brothers at the Society of the Divine Word should be doing everything they can to bring this serial abuser home.
CONTACT: Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director (517-974-9009, [email protected])
(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)