PA -- Catholic Diocese of Erie releases names of accused priests, laypeople; victims group responds
Statement by Melanie Jula Sakoda, Volunteer Secretary of SNAP’s Board of Directors (925-708-6175, [email protected])
We are always grateful when a diocese releases the names of accused priests. We are doubly grateful in this case, since Bishop Lawrence Persico has also released the names of accused laypeople, which we believe is a first.
However, we must be blunt: Bishop Persico has been in charge of the Erie Diocese since 2012. We find it hard to believe that this is not a public relations move in response to the imminent release of the grand jury investigation into how Erie and five other Catholic dioceses handled allegations of sexual abuse. If Bishop Persico had truly cared about helping victims, he would have released the names years ago.
We will never know how many children have been put at risk because the Erie Diocese concealed the names on this list until today. We will never know how many were harmed because the Church chose to protect itself instead of innocent young lives.
Bishop Persico has promised that more names will be forthcoming. We hope he will keep his promise. We also hope that he will include a list of where each of these people worked, as survivor James Faluszczak has suggested.
In the meantime, we urge anyone who has been victimized in the Erie Diocese or elsewhere to protect children by calling police, to get help by calling therapists, and to receive comfort by calling support groups like ours.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 25,000 supporters. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
Contacts - Judy Jones ( 636-433-2511, [email protected]), Tim Lennon, (415-312-5820, [email protected]), Becky Ianni (703-801-6044, [email protected])