In Memory of Santiago “Charlie” Feliciano, a Brave Whistleblower
A longtime friend to SNAP and a brave whistleblower who worked for the protection of children and the vulnerable has passed away. We mourn the loss of our friend and a warrior in the fight for prevention and justice. We hope that the Cleveland community will accord his passing with the honor he deserves.
Santiago “Charlie” Feliciano, Jr. was the chief legal counsel for the Diocese of Cleveland from 1985 to 2000. He left the Diocese in 2000 for private practice. According to Charlie, he was forced out by Diocesan officials. In 2002, he went public with his complaints about how Catholic officials in Cleveland cared more about their image than they did about protecting children and supporting survivors. Charlie was fired, he said, for being “too victim-centric.” We are grateful that he was.
There is no doubt that, thanks to Charlie, more information about clergy abuse and cover-ups came to light. His example as a Catholic insider who decided to use his voice to protect children and support survivors can be held up as an example of someone who did the right thing at the right time. We honor his memory and legacy and hope that people in the future will associate the name Charlie Feliciano with someone who knew how to do the unpopular, hard, and correct thing when it was needed most.
CONTACT: Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director (517-974-9009, [email protected])
(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)