ND--Victims blast bishops for “dangerous secrecy” re predators
For immediate release: Monday, Jan. 25, 2016
Catholic bishops in Bismarck and Fargo are refusing to disclose names of predator priests. Shame on them. Their self-serving secrecy leaves kids in harm’s way and parents, police, prosecutors, parishioners and the public in the dark.
Last week, the Seattle Catholic archdiocese released a list of 77 child molesting clerics who worked there.http://www.oregonlive.com/pacific-northwest-news/index.ssf/2016/01/list_of_77_child-sex_abusers_r.html.
Last year, six Minnesota-based church institutions did likewise.
Yesterday, the Yakima daily newspaper reported that church officials there may do the same thing in March.
Over the past dozen years or so, more than 30 US bishops have released such lists. http://www.bishop-accountability.org/AtAGlance/lists.htm
For the safety of kids, North Dakota bishops should do the same. It’s the quickest, easiest way to warn parents, police, prosecutors, parishioners and the public about predator priests. It’s the very least bishops should do, since they recruited, educated, ordained, hired, trained, transferred and shielded these predators for years, often helping them evade prosecution by keeping their crimes secret until the statute of limitations expired.
Only 13 North Dakota predators have been exposed, compared with 32 in South Dakota, 50 in Montana and 186 in Minnesota (according to the independent website BishopAccountability.org). It’s sad that families just across the border from North Dakota are arguably safer from predator priests than families that are in North Dakota.
So we hope Fargo Bishop John Folda and Bismarck Bishop David Kagan will find the courage to do what they know is right: protecting the vulnerable, healing the wounded and exposing the truth by posting predators’ names on parish and diocesan websites.
Finally, no matter what church officials do or don’t do, we hope every single person who saw, suspected or suffered crimes by or cover ups by Catholic officials will find the strength to speak up, expose wrongdoers and protect kids. And we urge them to call secular authorities like police, prosecutors or independent sources of help like therapists and support groups, not church officials. And we call on legislators to repeal predator-friendly statutes of limitations, so victims of childhood violence can use the open, time-tested US justice system to expose predators and safeguard youngsters, again, no matter what church officials do or don’t do.
(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)
Lists of accused ND priests still under wraps
By Archie Ingersoll - 1/24 - The Forum
FARGO – Over the years, nearly 30 Roman Catholic dioceses around the country have publicly disclosed a list naming priests accused of sexually abusing children.
Sometimes these lists held no surprises – the priests named were already known as alleged predators. But often these lists revealed new names, shedding light on dark corners of the church.
Airing these names is a step Catholic officials usually take only when faced with a court order or some other external pressure. But regardless of the motivation, victim advocates say . . .