LA--Victims again call on Diocese of Lafayette to release the names of known abusers
For immediate release June 4, 2018
Statement by: Melanie Jula Sakoda, Volunteer Secretary of the Board of Directors of SNAP, the Survivors Network, 925-708-6175, [email protected]
At a press conference earlier today Bishop Douglas Deshotel of the Diocese of Lafayette was asked if he would be identifying the priests known to have abused children within his diocese in the past. In response the bishop said that “… no priest who has been credibly accused is practicing in the Diocese of Lafayette, or is practicing anywhere else."
With all due respect, whether or not a known abuser is still an active priest is hardly the only public safety concern. While these men may no longer be priests, they may still be working in fields that give them access to the vulnerable. The Church should be concerned about the safety of all children, not just Catholic youth. Knowing the names and whereabouts of these men will allow all parents to better protect their children.
Releasing the names also provides a measure of comfort to the abused. Many victims suffer alone and in silence, believing that they were the only ones, too ashamed to tell anyone. Knowing that their perpetrator victimized others as well can be an important step in the healing process.
In 2014, SNAP called on Bishop Deshotel’s predecessor to release the names of the priests the diocese knew abused minors from 1950 to 1984. Bishop Michael Jarrell refused, saying it would serve “no purpose.”
We again urge the Diocese of Lafayette to take this important step. Bishop Deshotel should do what Bishop Michael Jarrell refused to do and more. He should publish all the names in the diocesan files.
Whether or not Bishop Deshotel releases these names, we beg anyone who was abused in the Diocese of Lafayette or elsewhere to report the abuse to law enforcement to protect others, and to reach out to groups like ours for support and healing.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, is the world's oldest and largest support group for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 25,000 supporters. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)