The fact that the man who was supposed to be investigating pedophilia was a pedophile himself is a sad and sordid reminder that the church hierarchy is the last place that those with knowledge of abuse should turn to for help. While the specifics of this particular case may be more egregious than most, the fact remains that all too often church officials care more about protecting the reputations of their priests and bishops than they do about protecting the safety of our children.
We are proud of this courageous young girl who today had the strength to stand up in public and warn others about the dangers posed by youth pastor Jose Velez, the man who abused her. We applaud her family for believing and supporting her, and we are grateful that they were smart and brave enough to go to police instead of church officials. It is a good thing that Velez was held criminally liable for his crimes against Diana Flores, but it is sad that the Brooklyn Pentecostal Assembly still refuses to take responsibility for his actions.
We're glad they failed, but Catholic officials at Conception have no business acting in litigation like mean-spirited corporate honchos.
You can view the Judge's order (allowing the case to move forward) regarding the John Doe v. Conception Abbey case here.
For immediate release Tuesday, October 25
We are glad any time any effort is made to unearth the truth about child sex crimes and cover ups in Catholic institutions. Still, if an investigation is to be effective and honest, it must be run by truly independent, secular authorities - not church authorities.
Every time a victim of abuse and cover-up uses the tried-and-true justice system to expose their perpetrator and seek accountability, children are protected right now. We are so proud of these two men, who fought the odds and had their day in court. They are heroes to the tens of thousands of victims around the world who will never be able to stand up and speak.
Dear Mr. White and Ms. Baker:
We’re not lawyers, police, prosecutors or judges. We haven’t seen all the evidence. And we realize it’s possible that Bishop Robert Finn might be deemed innocent of the charges he faces.
We don’t mean to overstep, overreach, insult or offend anyone. We are glad you have convened grand juries. We are grateful, Ms. Baker, that your office has filed charges against Finn. We hope, Mr. White, that your office goes even further.
Self-help group starts monthly support meetings
SNAP reaches out to those abused by clerics in Youngstown & Pittsburgh area
Confidential meetings are safe place for victims to heal, they say
Victims and family members are encouraged to attend
This is a good start. We believe others on the church payroll also concealed crimes, misled parishioners and endangered kids. They too should face consequences.
Statement by SNAP member John David Couzens
Over the years, hundreds and hundreds of adults in this region have worked for Catholic institutions – the diocese, the parishes, and the schools.
Many of them, we’re convinced, know or suspect something about the sexual misdeeds of priests, nuns, brothers, seminarians and other church employees.
And most of them, we’re convinced, are staying silent. Shame on them.
Predators succeed when adults keep quiet. And predators fail when adults speak up.