SNAP's Letter to Cardinal O'Malley regarding Capuchin Abuse
Dear Cardinal O’Malley:
Recently, D.C. Councilman David Grosso publicly acknowledged he was abused by a Capuchin friar, Fr. Scott Asalone. The cleric was first identified as an abuser in 1993. However, for reasons unclear, Fr. Asalone was not removed by the Capuchin Friars until 2007, and he was not publicly acknowledged as a perpetrator until he was included on the Diocese of Arlington’s list of accused priests released last year.
As a Cardinal and the man tapped by Pope Francis to manage the sex abuse crisis in the United States, you are one of the most powerful clerics in the world. It is even conceivable that you could be the next Pope. We urge you to use this power to foist transparency on your Capuchin order brethren so that children can be protected from dangerous men like Fr. Asalone.
The Capuchin Order has eight provinces in Canada and the United States. Yet only two – the Province of St. Joseph and the Province of St. Conrad – have published lists of accused friars. For the sake of transparency and safety, we believe every religious order province, like every diocese, should release a public list immediately.
So far, approximately 80% of US dioceses have provided lists of abusers. Those names provide immeasurable public benefit and safety. The Capuchin order should also fall into line and name their North American accused perpetrators. Your elevated position in the universal Catholic Church, and in your own order, makes it your obligation to see that that list is provided quickly.
We all know from the bankruptcy in Guam that the Province of St. Mary is implicated in almost 40 of the more than 200 lawsuits filed on that island. Some of those abusers have migrated to the United States, including the former Archbishop of Agana, Anthony Apuron, who himself is accused of abusing multiple children. Archbishop Apuron remains a powerful cleric and in our opinion is no less dangerous than laicized Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, and wherever the Archbishop lives or works, he should be identified, monitored and prevented from being near children.
Our ask to you is simple:
First, please direct every North American Capuchin province to publish a list of accused clerics.
Second, work with Pope Francis to laicize Archbishop Anthony Apuron.
Finally, in connection with the publication of the names of all North American Capuchins who have abused, include complete work histories and photographs of each accused friar. That information is critical for public safety and to the healing of survivors.
Given your influence, power, and professed desire to help eradicate sexual abuse within the Catholic church, we believe these are simply asks. We hope you will act on them soon.
Oakland Leader, SNAP
Executive Director, SNAP