Report from Fiji Shows Catholic Officials Used Island as Dumping Ground for Abusive Priests, SNAP Calls for Independent Commission
A new report has come out about the scope of Catholic clergy abuse in Fiji. We call for an independent, secular investigation by government officials in order to get to the bottom of this scandal and to ensure that children will be spared from the scourge of sexual abuse in the future.
We are saddened but not surprised to read that the Catholic Church would shift abusive priests from nearby nations in the Pacific to Fiji. This is a common tactic employed worldwide where perpetrators would be shifted to heavily Catholic and far away locales, hoping that local devotion to the Church and a lower media profile would help keep abuse scandals hidden. All this tactic did was to cause pain to more children and families.
SNAP has documented many instances of priests from US-based religious orders ending up in nations like Guam, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, and other island nations after being accused of abuse. The Church has consistently unloaded dangerous clerics into impoverished communities where it holds extra power due to its wealth and relative stability. The only way for this practice to end is for secular law enforcement to get involved, fully investigate the situation, and punish those who enabled this scandal to continue.
We believe the government in Fiji should launch an independent commission into abuse, similar to the Royal Commission in Australia that will get to the bottom of Catholic officials using the island as a “geographic solution” for criminal clerics. Such a report would be instrumental in not only getting a handle on the current situation, but would also prevent future cases of abuse from happening by exposing and eliminating the methods by which Fiji was used as a dumping ground.
We hope that this news will also stoke righteous anger in the local population of Fiji and lead to reforms that ensure future children be protected and spared the scourge of clergy sexual abuse.