OH- Diocese of Toledo gets a new Bishop, SNAP responds
For immediate release: Tuesday, August 26, 2014
Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314-566-9790 cell, firstname.lastname@example.org)
As Toledo, OH welcomes their new bishop, we hope that Bishop Daniel E. Thomas will be a better advocate for clergy sex abuse victims than his predecessor was.
In 2010, Toledo Catholic officials kept quiet about and waited six months to investigate alleged sexual misdeeds by Kevin Yeckley, a Catholic school counselor. He admitted “periodically” hugging a girl, working “alone for several consecutive Saturdays” with her and telling her “he was . . .having uncomfortable feelings for her.”
Toledo Catholic officials admit that in around March 2009, a victim told a teacher about Yeckley’s alleged misdeeds, but they only started to investigate in October, some six or seven months later. Delays like this endanger kids and enable predators to intimidate victims, threaten whistle blowers, discredit witnesses, destroy evidence, fabricate alibis and keep hurting children.
Dennis Gary is another example of the Diocese of Toledo irresponsibly handling child sex abuse. Gary was sued in 2002 and 2003 for sexually abusing boys. The diocese had been warned about Gray in the 1980s, but they allowed him to leave the priesthood without taking action against him or warning his future employers. Gray was later found working as a teacher and SNAP believes in 2012 he was trying to join a church in Perrsyburg.
Blair’s irresponsible handling of these cases show Catholic officials putting their reputations and careers above the well-being of children.
The current diocese administrator has also rubbed more salt into the already deep wounds of victims by allowing a convicted murder and accused child molester to be buried with full priestly honors.
Catholic officials’ inaction and indifference in these matters has hurt victims, prevents others from coming forward, and may have allowed dangerous predators to abuse more kids.
We hope that Bishop Thomas will reverse the hurtful trend of his predecessors and instead tackle sex crimes against children head on, and do everything in his power to keep his congregation informed. One action he can take to immediately make kids in Ohio safer would be to post a full list of all credibly accused child molesting clerics on his diocesan website. Here is the list of other bishops who have posted lists on their websites.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 25 years and have 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)