One Year After List of Abusive Priests Released, Public Still Kept in Dark

One Year After List of Abusive Priests Released, Public Still Kept in Dark

“Church officials promised to be transparent, not silent on cases of abuse” Survivors Say

They Ask for Updates on Two Prominent Cases of Priest Abuse

SNAP: “Protect children, not abusers”

WHAT: 

On the one-year anniversary of the release of a list of credibly accused priests in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, clergy sexual abuse survivors and advocates will:

  • Call attention to still-missing names of abusive priests from the archdiocese’s list,
  • Demand answers as to the current status and location of two abusive priests, Fr. Jesus Suarez and Fr. John Keller,
  • Urge parishioners and the public to join them as they ask church officials for updates and transparency

WHERE:

Outside the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, 1111 St. Joseph Pkwy, Houston Texas 77002

WHEN:

Friday, January 31 at 2:00 PM

WHY: 

One year after the release of a list of priests that have been “credibly accused” of sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, clergy sexual abuse survivors and their supporters will rally in Houston to call for updates to the list and demand new commitments to transparency from church officials in Houston.

“There are many problems with these lists and the transparency is truly lacking,” said Eduardo Lopez de Casas, Leader of SNAP Houston. “We still are left with more questions than answers here in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston.”

Specifically, SNAP is calling for church officials to update parishioners and the public regarding the status and whereabouts of priests involved in two high-profile cases; Fr. Jesus Suarez and Fr. John Keller.

Fr. John Keller is a priest that the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston knew had been accused of abuse since at least 2003 but was only made to step down from ministry in January 2019 on the day of the list’s release. Fr. Keller was allowed to continue as a pastor for decades despite the US Catholic bishops adopting a “zero-tolerance policy” in 2002. In 2019 he was granted retirement by the archdiocese, but the outcome of the investigation into him remains unknown.

Fr. Jesus Suarez was removed from ministry in April of 2019 after two people came forward to accuse him of sexual abuse when he worked in Colombia before coming to the United States. Yet like with Fr. Keller, since his removal there has been no public update on his whereabouts or status and SNAP is concerned for the safety of children who he may be working or living near.

The Associated Press and USA Today both published reports that showed the danger posed by unmonitored priests who have been “removed from ministry.” Without church officials actively monitoring these men, many go on to get jobs around children or abuse again. SNAP wants to ensure that no other children are abused by priests like Fr. Suarez, Fr. Keller, or others that church officials have received allegations about but not yet made public.

“In the year since the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston released their list, we have seen almost nothing in terms of public updates or communication from church officials,” said Lopez de Casas. “Church officials have the information that is needed to keep communities and children safe. They should be keeping the public informed about these men, not holding onto their secrets.”

SNAP will be demonstrating in front of the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart to call for greater transparency and accountability within the church on Friday, January 31.

CONTACT: Eduardo Lopez de Casas, SNAP Houston (eduarturo_c@yahoo.com, 832-641-6319), Zach Hiner, Executive Director (zhiner@snapnetwork.org, 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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  • Richard Kensinger, MSW
    commented 2020-02-02 14:05:18 -0600
    I live in the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese PA and I have divorced the Church. 32 of the 36 accused are clergy. Very recently spoke to a long-term accountant there who is now retired.
    He worked under two bishops. He is very aware of the decades long abuse of children including the protracted cover-up. He indicated that is was the most stressful job he ever had.
    He did not report this criminality for fear of exposure and retaliation. This reinforces the observations that many are complicit in this criminality via acts of omission/enabling.
    Interesting that he exactly knows the reason behind my divorce. He voluntarily offered this information. He knows I am a clinical psychologist; and many confide in me.
    Rich

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