KY--Victims want archbishop to do “outreach”
Victims want archbishop to do “outreach”
Just-convicted priest still faces sentencing
SNAP: “Judge should know of all who’ve been hurt”
Group also wants info on imprisoned abusive seminarian
Would-be cleric studied at an undisclosed Catholic college
Group appeals for ‘help & honesty’ from all four KY prelates
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will prod Louisville’s top Catholic official to
-- try to find others who were hurt by a just-convicted priest, and
-- tell local church staff and members to NOT push for a light sentence for the offender.
They also want
--church officials to disclose where an abusive, convicted offender seminarian went to college in KY, &
--school officials to mail notices to alumni about the offender.
And the victims will also urge Kentucky’s top church officials to
--post names of predator priests on diocesan websites (like the Seattle archdiocese did earlier this year and 29 other dioceses have don), and
--“aggressively reach out” to “anyone who may have “seen, suspected or suffered crimes by clerics or cover ups by his colleagues” to call law enforcement immediately.
Thursday, Dec. 8, 2016 at 1:00 p.m.
Outside the Louisville archdiocesan headquarters (“chancery office”), 212 East College Street (corner of S. Brook St.) in Louisville KY
Three-four members of a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org)
1) In February, Fr. Joseph Hemmerle will be sentence for sexually assaulting a child. (He was convicted last week.) SNAP says it’s crucial that he be jailed “for as long as possible” and that the judge bases his sentencing decision on “as much information as possible from as many victims, witnesses and whistleblowers as possible.” So the group wants Louisville Archbishop Joseph Kurtz to use parish bulletins, church websites, pulpit announcements and personal visits to “seek out those with knowledge or suspicions about Fr. Hemmerle’s crimes and beg them to call law enforcement” in the weeks ahead.
2) In January, Ohio seminarian Joel A. Wright was arrested for trying to buy and abuse infants. He also spent time at a Kentucky college, according to at least one news outlet. http://www.wtrf.com/story/31103032/ohio-seminary-student-suspended
SNAP wants Kentucky’s bishops to disclose which college he went to and seek out anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered any crimes by him on campus. Officials at that campus should write to ex-students and staff informing them of Wright’s crimes and his presence at their school.
In April, Wright admitted guilt and in July he was sentenced to 16 years in federal prison.
But often, SNAP says, younger predator priests get out early – sometimes thanks to lobbying from church officials and members – and sometimes re-offend. The group wants Kurtz and Kentucky’s other three Catholic bishops to promise they won’t try to get Wright freed early.
At least 40 dioceses and religious orders rejected Wright’s applications. Still, he was accepted at Pontifical College Josephenum in Columbus, with the sponsorship of Steubenville Ohio Bishop Jeffrey Montforton. (In Steubenville, police say Wright posted a Craigslist ad offering to pay parents $150 to babysit their children.) Just yesterday, the Vatican issued new guidelines warning bishops to not accept seminary candidates who have been rejected by other seminarires.
“It’s incredibly easy for Catholic officials to help law enforcement keep Wright locked up and perhaps find and help some child he assaulted,” said Judy Jones of SNAP. “They just need to disclose where Wright went to school in Kentucky and then aggressively reach out to anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered his crimes, begging them to call law enforcement.”
There are at least four Catholic colleges in Kentucky: Bellarmine and Spalding (Louisville), Thomas More (Crestview Hills), Brescia (Owensboro) and St. Catharine (in a town by the same name).
“Since colleges attract students and staff from all over, wherever Wright was in Kentucky, folks should be told about his presence there too,” said David Clohessy of SNAP.
Kentucky’s Catholic bishops include Kurtz and three others: Bishop William Francis Medley of Owensboro, Bishop John Stowe of Lexington and Bishop Roger Joseph Foys of Covington.
3) Finally, about 30 US bishops have put on their diocesan websites the names of proven, admitted and credibly accused child molesting clerics. For “the safety of kids and the healing of victims,” SNAP has long pushed Kurtz to do this. But he refuses.
Cal Pfeiffer, 502-396-7178, [email protected], David Clohessy 314 566 9790, [email protected]