Pastor of Holy Cross Parish and School in Garrett Park, Maryland Removed Due To Allegations Of Sexual Abuse

(For Immediate Release October 4, 2022)

 

According to a release by church officials, a Catholic priest from the Archdiocese of Washington has been placed on leave following an accusation of sexual abuse of minors that is reported to have occurred in another diocese decades ago.  

As listed on the parish website, Cardinal Wuerl named Father Robert P. Buchmeier to work at Holy Cross Parish and School, Garrett Park, Maryland in 2015. Buchmeier also worked at St. John the Evangelist Parish, Clinton; St. Bernardine of Siena Parish, Suitland; Christ the King Parish, Silver Spring; St. Mary Parish, Bryantown; and St. John the Evangelist Parish, Clinton. Other work assignments include St. Nicholas Parish, Laurel, from 1998 to 2005; St. Columba Parish, Oxon Hill, from 2005 to 2011; and Sacred Heart Parish in La Plata from 2011. Buchmeier was ordained in 1991 after studying at John XXIII seminary for delayed vocations in Weston, Massachusetts.

Sadly, we are shocked at how quickly church officials point out that the allegation is from decades ago as if they are already dismissing the complaint. The average age for a survivor to come forward is 52. As time marches on, we will likely see more victims of clergy, religious and institutional abuse from the 1990s and 2000s, as they are finally ready to speak out. The standard narrative for diocesan statements often includes that the -clergy abuse crisis- is a thing of the past. We know that it is very much a thing of the present and the future, those victims who have yet to disclose their abuse, also hold the name of their abuser.

We now urge those with rank in Arlington, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. dioceses and employers of Buchmeier, since his vocation was delayed, to employ every resource at their disposal to notify the community, parents, and parishioners about the claims, as well as to encourage potential victims or witnesses to come forward and make a report to police and call the Alexandria Police Department's Criminal Investigations Division at 703-746-4444. We know that informed communities are safer communities, and we hope church officials take these steps immediately. 

Contact: David Lorenz, Maryland SNAP Leader ([email protected], 301-906-9161) Becky Ianni, Virginia State Leader SNAP (703-801-6044, [email protected]) Mike McDonnell, SNAP Communications Manager ([email protected], 267-261-0578) Shaun Dougherty, SNAP Board President ([email protected], 814-341-8386)  Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director ([email protected], 517-974-9009)

(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for more than 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)

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