Diocese of Kalamazoo provides list of those “disqualified from working with kids,” survivors’ group wants more information posted

For immediate release: April 19, 2024

The Catholic Diocese of Kalamazoo recently released a list of names of those “disqualified from working with kids.” While information like this is always welcome, SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, hopes that additional information will be added to the list soon.

It is always helpful for survivors when these lists are posted, especially for those who may be suffering alone and in silence. Seeing that they are not the only one helps victims heal, and could also encourage others who were abused – whether by the same person or in the same place – to come forward.

So, we are grateful that Bishop Edward Lohse finally published a list. However, traditionally the lists of Catholic dioceses have provided information about clergy, and sometimes other individuals, who have been “credibly accused” of the crimes of child sexual abuse and/or child pornography. The other categories for removal Bishop Lohse identified: continued violations of a child-protection policy after warnings, failing as a mandated reporter to report allegations of abuse of children, failing to act to prevent abuse that they knew to be happening, and physical abuse of children, are likely laudable additions that will help protect boys and girls from suffering childhood trauma.

Yet, we cannot help by worry that is all too easy for the parishioners and the public to assume that the clergy, or even the non-clergy on the list, did not commit life-changing and heinous crimes. Thus, we believe that it is extremely important for Bishop Lohse to identify which people fall into which of categories.

We know from information published on Bishop-Accountability.org, the watchdog group tracking the sexual abuse of children in the American Catholic Church, that four of the names on the list have public accusations of crimes: Fr. Richard A. Fritz, Fr. Brian L. Stanley, Fr. Jacob Vellian, and Fr. Leroy E. White . We hope that the Bishop will identify which of the other names on the list fall into this category as soon as possible.

We also hope that the Bishop will provide additional information about each name on the list: photos, assignment histories, number of victims or incidents, age and sex of victims, and where the abuse/incident took place. This information will be extremely helpful to survivors as they begin or move forward on their healing journey.

There is no need for victims of child sexual abuse in the Diocese of Kalamazoo or elsewhere to suffer alone and in silence, and our final hope is that the Bishop’s list will inspire other survivors to speak out and begin healing. Victims should know that there are people who will believe them and support them, including groups like ours.

CONTACT: Nadja Tirrell, SNAP Leader Michigan ([email protected], 517-285-0631) Nancy Crabbs, SNAP Leader Michigan ([email protected], 616-514-7973, Melanie Sakoda, SNAP Survivor Support Director ([email protected], 925-708-6175),  Shaun Dougherty, SNAP Interim Executive Director ([email protected], 814- 341-8386)

(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for more than 35 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)

SNAP Network is a GuideStar Gold Participant