MN--“Minnesota bishop uses ‘unique’ dodge”
For immediate release: Wednesday, Oct. 14
Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those abused by Priests (314 566 9790, [email protected])
In what may be a first-ever claim, St. Cloud’s bishop says he didn’t assign an accused predator priest to the parish where he has been working.
Until yesterday, Fr. Antonio Marfori worked at St. Andrew Parish in Elk River. But when an abuse and cover up lawsuit was filed, Bishop Donald Kettler said “This was not an assignment from the bishop but an agreement between Father Marfori and the parish. . .”
Huh? Every Catholic knows that ONLY bishops assign priests to parishes.
In our collective 26 years of experience watching and helping in clergy sex abuse and cover up cases, we’ve seen bishops and the public relations staff offer many creative and disingenuous ways to duck and dodge their responsibility. But we’ve never heard this one before.
Ask yourself: Have you ever heard of a parish and a bishop discussing, much less reaching, an agreement to have a priest work at a particular church?
Kettler and his PR man Joe Towalski should be ashamed of themselves for making such a self-serving and blatantly deceitful claim.
The accused predator’s reply to the new suit is about as convincing at Kettler’s dodge. According to Minnesota Public Radio:
During the interview with MPR News on Tuesday, when asked again if the allegations were false, Marfori said, "Well, that's what I will say for the meantime because I don't even remember those kids, one of the kids, because it's only one, it's not two."
He then said the lawsuit provided the wrong age of the alleged victim. "If I remember, that guy was probably a junior or senior, so he's not 15 years old."
Finally, it’s been more than 30 years after the pedophile priest scandal first attracted national headlines in the US. Yet despite repeated pledges to be “open and transparent” about pedophile priest cases, Kettler and Towalski can’t even bring themselves to use accurate or appropriate language. They put this headline on their carefully-crafted news release about the accusations against Fr. Marfori:
“STATEMENT REGARDING RECENT COMPLAINT”
We in SNAP urge every single victim of every single Minnesota predator priest to protect kids by exposing wrongdoers through civil and criminal action.
We urge every single witness or whistleblower to call police, prosecutors and other independent sources.
We urge every current or former church employee or member to share any information, rumor or suspicions they may have about potentially predatory priests to law enforcement.
And we urge Kettler to heed the recent words of Pope Francis, who promised that “abuse cannot be kept secret any longer,” “all responsible will be held accountable," and that church officials will provide "careful oversight to ensure that youth are protected.”
For the safety of the vulnerable and the healing of the wounded, he should permanently post, on parish websites (not just his diocesan website), the names, photos and work histories of every proven, admitted and credibly accused child molesting cleric who has lived or worked in his diocese.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has 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]), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747, [email protected]), Frank Meuers of Plymouth MN (952-334-5180, [email protected]), Verne Wagner of Duluth (218-340-1277, [email protected])