Given the pending prosecution of convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, officials at the prestigious Manhattan school where he has been accused of inappropriate behavior should immediately start reaching out to find former students and staff that may have seen, suspected or suffered crimes by him. This is the best way that the school can help law enforcement keep Epstein away from other children and can potentially help alumni and drop-outs who might have been hurt and may still be suffering today in silence, shame and self-blame.
The below is a letter sent to Bishop James V. Johnston of the Diocese of Kansas City - St. Joseph from local leaders of the Kansas City chapter of SNAP.
The abuse of children is not a political topic. People from every party or political leaning can agree that children should be safe, protected, and allowed to live their lives free of abuse and the negative, lifelong effects that can come with it. This is an American value, not a Democratic or Republican one.
--About 130 of the 170 bishops in the US have posted names of credibly accused predator priests on their websites. This is not hard, expensive or controversial. Bishops started doing this in 2002. It’s the quickest and easiest way a bishop can protect kids. There’s no reason to keep hiding the identities and whereabouts of potentially dangerous individuals. Barres refuses to take this simple step toward prevention, healing and transparency.
Before SB 360 was withdrawn from consideration today, Catholic Church officials spoke out against it in no uncertain terms. Bishops in San Jose, Sacramento, Stockton, and Los Angeles all urged parishioners to oppose the measure. Oakland Bishop Michael Barber may have gone the furthest when he said that he would use his power as Bishop to order the priests employed by him to disobey that civil law. Even the Vatican weighed in, saying that "no human power" can compel priests to violate seal of confession.
The Diocese of Yakima has just released a list identifying priests and deacons with “substantiated allegations” of sexual abuse of a minor during their ministries. While this is a good first step from church officials in Yakima, more needs to be done.
Alexander Acosta’s Attempts to Explain Away his Role in the Epstein Case Should Not Preclude his Resignation
US Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta spoke publicly today in an attempt to explain away his role in the unconscionable “sweetheart” deal given to serial abuser Jeffrey Epstein in 2008. His speech was largely full of blame-shifting and demurring about his role. Ultimately, what matters now is not what Secretary Acosta says publicly but what actions he takes to ensure that Epstein will never again be able to harm another child.
Catholic Church in California Lobbies Against Legislation Aimed at Protecting Children and Preventing Abuse
A bill that was aimed at reforming mandated reporting laws to ensure that all crimes committed against children are reported to the authorities immediately was withdrawn from consideration following extensive lobbying by the Catholic Conference of California. We are disappointed that, once again, church officials have mobilized to defeat legislation that could help prevent more cases of abuse in the future.
A North Dakota priest was just named publicly as an alleged abuser. He was ordained in a religious order based out of Corpus Christi, TX and apparently sent back there after the abuse was reported to church officials in Fargo. Despite this, he has not been named on any list of accused priests nor was the local community alerted to his presence. We are calling on church officials in Texas to explain why.
Almost a year ago, a New Jersey priest accused of sexual abuse voluntarily stepped down from ministry, but so far Newark church officials have neither resolved the case or updated parishioners and the public. It is time for Archbishop John Tobin to provide answers.