For immediate release: Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, [email protected])
Vatican officials in Rome claim they have put an accused child molesting ex-archbishop on house arrest. We're skeptical.
Josef Wesolowski faces allegations of child sexual abuse in the Dominican Republic. We are grateful that this action has finally been taken, feel it should have happened months ago, and believe it's better if secular authorities are able to jail and prosecute Wesolowski.
Catholic officials – in Rome, Poland and the Dominican Repubic - should actively seek out others who were hurt by Wesolowski and help police and prosecutors convict Deacon Francisco Javier Occi Reyes, who procured boys for the then-archbishop, by making announcements about both clerics in parishes, urging those who saw, suspected or suffered their crimes to come forward, get help and call police.
We applaud the courage of the Dominican boys who were sexually violated by this now-defrocked archbishop who Vatican officials are still protecting from secular prosecution.
Pope Francis claims ''There are no privileges. . .for priests and bishops who have violated children.” While we are glad Wesolowski has allegedly been restricted, we are concerned it took so long for this to happen and doubt strongly that Catholic officials will enforce this move.
(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)