MI- Allegations against priest deemed credible, SNAP responds

For immediate release: Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, [email protected]om)

Child sexual abuse allegations against a Michigan priest have been deemed credible by church officials. We are glad they have come to this conclusion and hope they do more than just the bare minimum to ensure the safety of children.

We are also grateful to the brave victims who came forward and reported their abuse. Their actions will help protect other children.

Father James Menapace was reported to have sexually abused boys in the late 1990s in the Diocese of Marquette.

Often times church officials do the bare minimum after allegations are found credible. But church officials train, ordain, hire, and transfer priests; they have an obligation to prevent them from hurting more children even after they are suspended.

Bishop John F. Doerfler should immediately move Fr. Menapace to a remote and secure treatment facility so that he cannot harm any more children. He should tell parishioners, police, prosecutors and the public where Fr. Menapace is now. He should disclose when the abuse report was made. (We fear it's taken weeks or months for Doerfler to act.) And he should disclose whether other accusations against Fr. Menapace have been made in the past. 

(We again call on Doerfler – as we did months ago – to warn parents, parishioners and the public about a former Marquette priest, Fr. Benedict Van der Putten, who was defrocked due to credible child sex abuse allegations and who now lives in Hawaii, and to post on the Marquette diocesan website the names, photos and whereabouts of every proven, admitted and credibly accused Catholic child molesting cleric who has ever worked or lived in the diocese. Roughly 30 US bishops have done this. It’s the quickest way to protect kids. We also urge Doerfler to uses his bully pulpit and diocesan resources to aggressively seek out individuals who were hurt by the nine credibly accused predator priests in the diocese.)

We hope anyone who is suffering in silence and self blame will find the courage to speak up, help protect children, and start healing.

(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 25 years and have more than 20,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org) 

Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, [email protected]), Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003 cell, [email protected])

Showing 4 comments

  • Bill Reidy
    commented 2014-09-24 06:22:20 -0500
    When the Chicago archdiocese read my attorney’s letter of my abuse and the description of the priest’s office/room, they also deemed my allegations credible. The priest who abused me was defrocked in 2004, but someone forgot to tell someone not to honor him for 70 years for being a priest
  • Jim and Anne Clark
    commented 2014-09-23 22:08:52 -0500
    Bishop Doerfler make public the files of Menapace. Allegations deemed credible mean that action to protect children must be taken now.
  • Bill Reidy
    commented 2014-09-23 17:04:20 -0500
    What happened to the 1 strike and your out? Are the cardinals or archbishops following what baseball teams are doing with 3 strikes and you’re out
  • @ tweeted this page. 2014-09-23 13:04:45 -0500

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