Defrocked Serial Abuser Finally Found Guilty After Evading Justice, SNAP Applauds Survivors and Prosecutors
For immediate release: December 21, 2021
A self-admitted pedophile and ex-priest from a Chicago-based Catholic group has finally been found guilty of some of the myriad crimes he committed against children. We are thrilled that this highly dangerous man will finally be taken off the streets and applaud the brave young women and their attorneys who helped ensure justice would be done in this case.
Richard Daschbach, a former priest from the Chicago-based Society of the Divine Word (SVD), was defrocked by Catholic officials years ago. But by washing their hands of Daschbach, Church leaders essentially set him free to abuse children without any supervision. Even though he was not technically a priest, Daschbach still presented himself as such and enjoyed a celebrity status on the island of East Timor where he has lived for decades, running an orphanage called Topu Honis Shelter Home.
It was at this orphanage that Daschbach found many of his victims, including the nine young girls who were included in this most recent case of the more than a dozen who spoke out. Hundreds of children lived at Topu Honis over the years, and we have no doubt that many of them were also harmed. We hope that this sentence will help them confront their own abuse and move forward in their healing journey. We also hope that the attempt by Daschbach’s attorney to overturn this conviction will fail utterly.
While Daschbach heads to prison in East Timor, we believe more action must be taken. First, we are not surprised that Daschbach has been indicted in the United States, nor are we surprised he is accused of wire fraud involving the money he used to support his personal perverse playground. Now that Daschbach has been convicted in East Timor, we believe he should be immediately extradited to his home country to face trial on these outstanding charges. We firmly believe that everyone who helped enable this dangerous serial predator should be held accountable for abetting the rape and harm of many children, and so we hope that another trial in the United States will begin soon.
Second, we call on the Society of the Divine Word to deliver transparency regarding accused abusers from their order. We have no idea how many other men from SVD may have engaged in criminal behavior and we believe the religious order owes the entire world transparency. We call on the Society of the Divine Word to publish a list of their abusers and be honest about what they knew about Daschbach and others who may have hurt children.
Finally, we call on Cardinal Blase Cupich to use his authority and order the SVD to publish a list or be expelled from the Archdiocese of Chicago.
(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)