OH - Victims seek action about 2 priests
And they lay out hopes for incoming bishop
Group wants signs down that honor “wrongdoers”
Holding signs and childhood photos, clergy sex abuse victims will push Toledo Catholic officials – and their yet-to-be-named next bishop– to take specific steps about priests who commit or conceal child sex crimes.
They will give the current church officials a screwdriver and urge them to take down signs on a street and a building that honor
--a priest who was credibly accused of molesting a child, and
--another priest who blocked an investigation into the murder of a nun.
And they will prod the church hierarchy to update and expand its public list of credibly accused child molesting clerics.
They will also give current Toledo Catholic officials a list of three steps to take immediately:
--personally visit each parish where predator priests worked, begging victims to call law enforcement,
--create a “whistleblower fund” to reward church employees who report suspected abuse to police, and
--demote at least one diocesan staffer who has been implicated in the abuse and cover up scandal.
Tuesday, Dec. 17 at 10:30 a.m.
Outside the Toledo Catholic headquarters, 1933 Spielbusch (near Cherry St) in Toledo
Two-four members and supporters of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, (SNAPNetwork.org) the nation's largest support network for men and women abused in religious and institutional settings
Bishop Leonard Blair has left to head the Hartford archdiocese, after a decade of controversy as head of the Toledo diocese.
SNAP wants the diocese’s temporary leaders to disclose more about child molesting clerics and take steps to reduce the “climate of fear and hopelessness in the church” that they say makes it harder for victims to report sex crimes.
SNAP is upset that a church building is still named after Msgr. Michael Doyle even though at least one child sex abuse lawsuit against him settled against him in 2004.
SNAP is also upset that a street is still named after Msgr. Jerome Schmidt, who prosecutors say, interfered with the police questioning of Fr. Gerald Robinson, who was convicted of murdering a nun.
SNAP wants Toledo church officials to remove the signs immediately. “The least they can do is to stop rubbing salt into the already-deep and still-fresh wounds of suffering survivors and betrayed Catholics,” said SNAP Toledo spokesperson, Claudia Vercellotti.
And the group wants church officials to update and broaden a list of predator priests on the diocesan webpage to include their photos and current whereabouts. (The St. Paul/Minneapolis archdiocese did this several days ago. The Philadelphia archdiocese does too.) The Toledo list apparently hasn’t been updated in more than a year.
Between 2009 and 2012, diocesan officials admit that child sex abuse allegations were leveled against five more Toledo area clerics. There are now 46 such accused clerics in Toledo, but the diocese has named only 21 of them: John Gallen, Chet Warren, Bernard Kokocinski, Lawrence Scharf, Robert J. Fisher, Steven G. Rogers, Joseph Schmelzer, John C. Shiffler, Robert Thomas, Lawrence F. Varney, Robert J. Yeager, C. Neil Lucas, Thomas Beauregard, Dennis Gray, Herbert Richey, John Hemstreet, Michael McLaughlin, Leo Welch, John McCullen, Glen Shrimplin and J. Michael Tynan. (All were or are priests except the latter two who are deacons.) For more about them: http://bishop-accountability.org/member/psearch.jsp
Finally, SNAP is urging current diocesan leaders to take the three steps outlined above.
“Several church employees have ignored or hidden clergy sex crimes,” said Barbara Blaine, SNAP President. “We care less about which one is demoted. But at least one must be, or else the decades-old and still-strong pattern of covering up heinous crimes will continue. The interim administrator must – by his actions – show that he wants truth to be revealed and kids to be protected.”
“While both Msgrs died several years ago, many victims still suffer in silence and shame today,” Blaine said.
Church law and practice forbids temporary diocesan leaders from making substantial changes until a new bishop is appointed. These steps, SNAP contends, are not substantial, and can therefore be made even though the diocese does not have a new bishop yet.
Barbara Blaine 312 399 4747, [email protected], Claudia Vercellotti 419 345 9291, [email protected], David Clohessy 314 566 9790, [email protected]