Diocese of London, ON Admits that Abusers Remain Hidden in their Files
The Diocese of London today acknowledged that the list put together by survivors from SNAP Ontario was not only correct, but that there were actually more names still hidden. We call on Catholic officials to release those names and work histories to the public in order to protect children and support survivors.
The fact is, researching abusers is difficult for survivors, but very easy for Church leaders: they could simply open up their personnel files and secret archives and come clean about the information they hold. Doing that would inform law enforcement and families, who in turn could better protect children. To us, it is a simple choice between secrecy and safety.
Bishop Ronald Fabbro is choosing secrecy, and worse yet, using survivors as his shield in doing so. The argument that survivors will be “revictimized” if their abuser’s name becomes public is an excuse that has been employed by other dioceses previously. But in our experience, most – if not all -- survivors would prefer that children are protected and that the public is informed.
We believe there are hundreds, and perhaps thousands, of abusive clerics with ties to Canada. More importantly, we believe the best way to get to the full scope of the problem is for the Canadian government to undertake a national investigation akin to the Royal Commission in Australia. That group unearthed nearly 2,000 abusers in a country of only 5.5 million Catholics. In Canada, there are more than 12.5 million Catholics, as well as many native missions which have historically been epicenters of abuse. For these two reasons, we suspect there are likely many more perpetrators still hidden in Canadian files.
A recent investigation by the Associated Press uncovered that 40% of those acknowledged as abusers by the Catholic Church in the U.S.A. are alive, and many are not monitored. If this is also true in Canada, then all its citizens should advocate for Church leaders to release lists and for their government to launch an investigation. Until that happens, children in Canada will remain at risk.
(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)