New revelations out of Oklahoma about Tucson’s Catholic bishop are extremely disturbing

New revelations out of Oklahoma about Tucson’s Catholic bishop are extremely disturbing

Survivors fear that he may have employed the same tactics on abuse claims here

Victims’ group urges Church and lay investigations to uncover the truth

SNAP says that if anything has been hidden in this diocese it should now be exposed

WHAT

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

-- disclose information from a just-released Church report that reveals alarming actions by Tucson’s bishop, and

--urge Catholic officials and law enforcement to probe the way Tucson’s bishop has handled child sex abuse cases here, as well as in his other assignments

WHEN

Monday, October 28th at 1 p.m.

WHERE

On the sidewalk outside St. Augustine Cathedral, 192 S. Stone Avenue, Tucson 

WHO

Two to three members of a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, including a Tucson man who is the president of the group’s board of directors and who was sexually abused as a child by a priest in Iowa.

WHY

A new investigation into child sex crimes and cover ups in the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City has exposed shocking revelations about the role of Tucson’s Bishop Edward Weisenburger in handling allegations in that diocese. Those tactics were revealed by a law firm picked by and paid for by the Church. The attorneys scoured archdiocesan records for months and made three alarming discoveries about Tucson's bishop.

  1. Bishop Edward Weisenburger, who worked as the Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City from 1996-2012, assisted in evaluations of many allegations into the sexual abuse of children by clergy. Yet when he left in 2012 to become the bishop of Salina, Kansas, he had his emails deleted. Some of those records likely had information related to abuse accusations, and their destruction limited the ability of the investigating attorneys to evaluate abuse claims.
  2. Tucson’s bishop and his then superior in the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City also paid an attorney so a priest could file a defamation lawsuit against a man who had accused him of sexual abuse. This was despite the fact that the cleric had admitted his actions to them. SNAP believes such a lawsuit would have had a chilling effect on other victims at the time, discouraging them from coming forward.
  3. To make matters even worse, Bishop Weisenburger and his superior did not tell all that they knew about this clergyman to an archdiocesan review board. The priest, Fr. James J. Mickus,was returned to ministry and allowed access to children for another fifteen years.He is now on the Archdiocese of Oklahoma’s list of clerics with “substantiated allegations” of abuse.

SNAP believes that it is reasonable to assume that Bishop Weisenburger may have employed the same deplorable tactics in Kansas and Arizona. The group wants “prompt but thorough investigations” by Church officials and law enforcement into how the bishop has dealt with reports of child sexual abuse in the Diocese of Tucson and in his other assignments.

For months the victims’ group has been urging the Arizona Attorney General to open a new statewide investigation into child sex abuse and cover ups by the Catholic Church. As part of this investigation they have urged the AG to set up a hotline to collect information from survivors, witnesses and whistle-blowers.

SNAP also wants to remind all victims of child sexual abuse in the state, both Catholic and non-Catholic, that the Arizona governor signed into law legislation affecting each and every one of them in May. HB 2466 extends permanently the statute of limitation and allows victims of child sexual assault until they are 30 years old to sue their abusers in civil court. However, in addition, the bill allows all victims of CSA, regardless of age, to come forward until Dec. 31, 2020.

 

Contact:  Tim Lennon, President, tlennon@SNAPnetwork.org, Zach Hiner, Executive Director, 517-974-9009,

(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)


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