NJ- Catholic officials let predator secretly be near kids but no one’s punished

For immediate release: Monday, July 22, 2013

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

A Newark archdiocesan priest secretly let a suspended predator priest live in a parish across the street from an elementary school. He did so with the approval of his church supervisors.

Yet no one is being punished. The priest is just being moved to a new parish. The supervisors aren’t even being identified. And the predator remains on the payroll.

Without consulting with or telling St. Joseph’s parishioners, Fr. Thomas Iwanowski let Fr. Chabak live in the rectory for five months. Fr. Chabak is a credibly accused child molester. He’s suspended from ministry.

So Newark Catholic officials again quietly put kids in danger.

That’s incredibly reckless and callous.

As he’s done time and time before, Newark’s Archbishop John Myers did nothing until this inexcusable move became public. And when it did, Myers did next to nothing.

He’s moving Iwanowski to a new parish.

No wrongdoer is facing real consequences. And we don’t even know who some of the wrongdoers are. Did Myers himself personally tell Iwanowski it was OK to let a suspended pedophile priest live in a parish? Or was it another archdiocesan supervisor?

It’s completely bogus for Myers to claim, though one of his public relations professionals, that Catholic officials were acting “compassionately.” The church is an enormous global institution. Myers could have found hundreds of housing options for a child molesting cleric besides putting him in a parish. What's more, like other pedophile priests who can’t yet be criminally charged, Chabak belongs in a remote, secure, independently-run treatment center far away from children. But Myers refuses to do this, too.

And Chabak belongs on a thorough, public list of all proven, admitted and credibly accused predator priests in the Newark Archdiocese. But Myers refuses to do this, too.

How easy it would be for Myers to announce today “I’m demoting and disciplining a pastor who put kids in harm’s way and those in my inner circle who approved this recklessness.” But tragically, that won’t happen. And as a result, more recklessness will happen.

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Showing 2 comments

  • Timothy Egan
    commented 2013-07-22 13:30:16 -0500
    This reminds me of a documentary in the early 90s that was supposed to air on PBS, but was suppressed at the last minute without explanation. The name of the documentary, which is available on youtube, is called “Conspiracy of Silence”. While not directly associated to priestly clergy, it involves childhood victims of sexual and physical abuse at the hands of the powerful. No doubt there is a concerted effort to hurt children, and until we lose the fear of being labeled a “conspiracy theorist”, we will not be effective in pinpointing the heart of the problem.
  • @ tweeted this page. 2013-07-22 09:36:29 -0500

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