Former St. Viator Coach Arrested, SNAP Calls for Outreach
Charges are now pending against a former coach at a Chicagoland Catholic school, and we are calling on church officials from the Archdiocese of Chicago to spread this news among their parishioners and to do outreach to other potential victims, witnesses, and whistle-blowers.
Joe Majkowski was arrested on Dec. 27 regarding allegations made in May that he sexually abused a minor. The coach is also accused of sending inappropriate messages to four 15 year old students.
While we have no firsthand information about this case, studies have shown that false allegations of child sexual abuse are extremely rare. Cardinal Blase Cupich and school officials at St. Viator in Arlington Heights should now make every effort to seek other victims and widely publicize these accusations. Additionally, steps should be taken to fully vet Majkowski’s work history and ensure that parents and alumni at every school where he worked are informed of this charge.
Dozens, if not hundreds, of lay employees in the Catholic Church who have abused children are left off of diocesan lists nationwide. Church officials should be informing parishioners and the public about all abusers that they have employed, not just those who have been ordained.
In addition, despite the narrative that is often repeated by Catholic leaders, this case is yet another example that the abuse scandal is an ongoing nightmare, not one from the past.
We are glad this survivor had the courage to make a report as they will likely save many others from the scourge of abuse. It is also important to recognize that it is rare for young people to come forward at the time of the abuse. The average age for a survivor to report is 52. We hope this news will encourage any other witnesses, whistle-blowers or victims to come forward and contact the police.
(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)