New report slams ex-Salina bishop

New report slams ex-Salina bishop
It shows he destroyed abuse records
SNAP: Revelations are ‘very alarming’

Group seeks two investigations of him
It also seeks more funding for KBI investigation
Probe was requested by KS attorney general one year ago
And SNAP ‘outs’ another local predator priest not on bishop’s list
WHAT

Holding signs and childhood photos at sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will disclose

--excerpts of a just-released church report that reveals “serious wrongdoing” by the former head of the Salina diocese, and

--the name of another credibly and publicly accused child molesting cleric who was in the Salina diocese but is NOT on the official diocesan ‘accused’ list and has attracted no local attention.

They will urge

--Catholic officials in Rome, Salina and Arizona to investigate his handling of ALL abuse cases, in each diocese where he worked, and

--local and state law enforcement to also investigate him for potentially destroying evidence and other potential crimes.

They will also urge

--the Kansas Bureau of Investigation to issue an update on its statewide probe of clergy sex crimes and cover ups,

--lawmakers to increase funding for the on-going investigation, and

--“every current and ex-church staffer and member who has seen, suspected or suffered abuse to call the KBI immediately so kids are safer, wrongdoers are exposed and cover ups are deterred.”

WHEN

Wednesday, Nov. 6 at 10:30 a.m.

WHERE

Outside St. Isadore’s Catholic Church, 711 Denison Ave. (corner of Anderson) in Manhattan KS (where an accused serial predator priest, who has been ‘outed’ by the local diocese, worked)

WHO

Two members of a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org), one from Kansas and one from Missouri (and is the organization’s former long time executive director and whose brother is a predator priest)

WHY

1) An new investigation into clergy sex crimes and cover ups has found two shocking facts about Tucson Bishop Edward Weisenburger (who ran the Salina diocese from 2004 to 2011).

--For 14 years in Oklahoma City, he was “heavily involved in many of the allegations of child sexual abuse,” but when he left, “nearly all of his emails were deleted,” and

-- he was basically second-in-charge of an archdiocese “that paid the legal fees for a priest to file a defamation lawsuit against a man who had accused him of sexual abuse — even though the priest had admitted his actions to Weisenburger.”

These facts were revealed by church picked and paid lawyers who scoured church records for months.

The report also “identified instances in which the archdiocese (where Weisenburger held high positions) either intended to destroy or failed to record evidence relating to allegations of sexual abuse of minors.”

From 1996 to 2012 he was vicar general (basically second-in-command) for the Oklahoma archdiocese. (The Oklahoma priest who sued his accuser, with Weisenburger’s help, is now on a church list of clerics with ‘substantiated allegations’ of abuse.)
https://www.snapnetwork.org/snap_responds_to_arrest_of_priest_in_kansas

2) In March, Salina Bishop Gerald Vincke posted a list of 14 ‘credibly accused’ abusive priests on his website. (US bishops began doing this 17 years ago. Most had already done so by the time the Vincke did so.)

SNAP has discovered another cleric who spent time in the diocese but is missing from that list. He is Fr. Bennett “Ben” Colucci, who is on the Denver-based Capuchin Franciscans’ ‘credibly accused’ list released earlier this year.

In 1994, Fr. Colucci lived in a Hays KS parish and lived in a Victoria KS parish at least until 2014. He reportedly abused a girl at a Denver Catholic school in the 1980s and also worked in Washington DC, Pittsburgh PA and the dioceses of Arecibo, San Juan and Ponce in Puerto Rico before retiring in 2005.

In August, SNAP pointed out that Vincke left at least three other credibly accused clerics OFF his list: Fr. Ronald Sam Gilardi (who was in Hays, Victoria and Catharine), Fr. Thaddeus Posey (who was in Kansas City, Parsons and Victoria), and Fr. Donald P. McCarthy (who was in the Salina diocese for 36 years).

SNAP wants Vincke to add these four names to his list and explain and apologize for his decision to omit them initially.

3) A year ago, KS Attorney General Derek Schmidt asked the Kansas Bureau of Investigation to investigate clergy sex crimes and cover ups across the state. In July, the KBI revealed that nearly 120 reports of clergy abuse had been filed, leading to at least 74 investigations in 33 counties.

SNAP wants the KBI to issue another progress report (like the Illinois attorney general did last December with her probe of the church) and to “more aggressively reach out” to “find every victim, witness and whistleblower.”

SNAP also wants legislators to provide more funding for the project so the investigation can be “as thorough as possible and protect as many kids as possible.” (Michigan’s governor recently asked lawmakers there for more money for a similar probe.

BACKGROUND

SNAP did a similar event on last week in Arizona, where Weisenburger is bishop now. https://bit.ly/2BR9Ihz

https://d2y1pz2y630308.cloudfront.net/22996/documents/2019/7/02.11.19-Bishop%20Weisenburger%20Statement-1.pdf

His PR head is Steff Koeneman (520-419-2272 cell, 520-838-2561).

Besides Manhattan, SNAP is holding similar events today in Topeka, Blue Rapids, Frankfort, Seneca and Valley Falls.

 The predator who worked at St. Isadore’s parish in Manhattan is Fr. Robert J. Reif. He was ordained in 1967, sent to treatment in the mid-1980s, abused several kids in the 1970s-1980s and was defrocked in 2006. He is on the ‘credibly accused’ abusive list put out by Salina church officials and also worked in Abilene, Salina, Phillipsburg, Claudel, Goodland, Park and St. Peter (all in the Salina diocese).

 Vincke was appointed in September of last year to head the diocese, which covers 31 counties: https://salinadiocese.org/

https://www.leagle.com/decision/1996774260kan5141737

http://www.bishop-accountability.org/diocesan_lists/Salina/2019_03_29_Salina_Substantiated_Allegations.pdf

CONTACT

For more info:  David Clohessy, (314-566-9790, davidgclohessy@gmail.com), Zach Hiner, Executive Director (517-974-9009, zhiner@snapnetwork.org) 

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