NY--Victims blast L.I. bishop over abuse remarks
For immediate release: Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015
Earlier this year, Pope Francis said "Everything possible must be done to rid the church of the scourge of the sexual abuse of minors and to open pathways of reconciliation and healing for those who were abused."
Today, Rockville Centre Bishop William Murphy basically said “I disagree.”
Through one of his public relations staff, Murphy claims that he has “no responsibility” for a predator priest who worked in his diocese.
The accused priest, Fr. Augusto Cortez, is believed to have fled the US and returned to Central America.
The courts will decide if Murphy has a legal responsibility for Fr. Cortez’ crimes. But common sense and decency tell us that Murphy has a moral responsibility to help law enforcement catch and convict Fr. Cortez. But instead of lending a hand, Murphy is making up excuses.
He’s hair-splitting and ducking and dodging behind the claim that Fr. Cortez belongs to a religious order and isn’t on the diocesan payroll. But it’s a Catholic bishop’s duty to protect and help his flock from any child molesting cleric, no matter who signs the predator’s paycheck. Again, listen to Pope Francis: “Earlier this year, Pope Francis said "Everything possible must be done to rid the church of the scourge of the sexual abuse of minors and to open pathways of reconciliation and healing for those who were abused.”
Instead of using his PR staff to brag about weak, meaningless church abuse policies, Murphy should be using them to aggressively seek out victims, witnesses and whistleblowers who might be able to help police and prosecutors pursue this predator priest. Today, Murphy is showing the same reckless, callous and deceitful behavior that characterized his track record in Boston of ignoring, minimizing, denying and enabling child sex crimes and cover ups.
We call on Murphy to personally visit the parishes where Fr. Cortez worked, begging victims, witnesses and whistleblowers to come forward. Murphy should also use parish bulletins, church websites and pulpit announcements across the entire diocese to seek out others who may have been assaulted and are still suffering. And he should permanently post on his diocesan website the names, photos and whereabouts of every child molesting Rockville Centre cleric, whether alive or dead, diocesan or religious order, or admitted, proven or credibly accused. (About 30 US bishops have done this. It’s the bare minimum a bishop should do to protect the vulnerable and heal the wounded.)
We hope that every single person who saw, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes or cover ups in Rockville Centre will summon the strength to speak up. Kids are safer only when victims, witnesses and whistleblowers are courageous enough to act. Silence is tempting but it only helps wrongdoers.
It’s important that people with suspicions or knowledge of these crimes and cover ups call the independent professionals in law enforcement, not the biased amateurs in church positions.
(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)
Diocese: 'No responsibility' for priest accused of sexually abusing LI girl
Updated November 19, 2015 2:38 PM - By BART JONES [email protected]
The Diocese of Rockville Centre on Thursday said it was not responsible for a priest accused of sexually abusing a girl in Hampton Bays, and its child protection measures are "admirable models" for all those entrusted with youths' care.
The family of the girl, now 8, on Monday sued the diocese along with the priest's order, the Vincentians, alleging that both failed to protect the girl from the Rev. Augusto Cortez.
The whereabouts of the priest, 52, are . . .