San Diego Priest Suspended following Credible Accusations of Abuse, SNAP calls for AG Investigation
A priest from the Diocese of San Diego has been suspended following credible accusations of abuse. According to the Times of San Diego, Fr. Justin Langille has been removed from his posts in San Carlos and Tierrasanta.
Once again, we are faced with news of a priest who was accused of abuse, protected by diocesan officials, and then removed years later once those claims were investigated. Once again, we see a case where an institution put protecting its reputation above protecting children and vulnerable adults in their community. As reported by the Diocese, Fr. Langille had been the subject of internal investigations in 1995 and 2002, but it was only when a professional, outside investigator got involved that “significant new information emerged that substantially undermined the credibility of Langille in his denials.”
Institutions cannot police themselves. As this case shows, internal investigations cannot be trusted to be carried out in a timely or thorough manner and too often are potentially abusive priests left in power while survivors are ignored. This is why independent investigations by law enforcement – backed by subpoena power and the ability to compel testimony – are so critical when getting to the truth of institutional scandals.
We call on Attorney General Xavier Beccera to follow in the footsteps of his colleagues in thirteen other states and begin a full investigation now. Regardless of the political and structural mechanisms required to begin an investigation, we believe that where there’s a will, there’s a way. We hope that AG Beccera will be creative in finding a way to launch an investigation in order to hold perpetrators and enablers accountable and to make California communities safer.
SNAP recommends that anyone who saw, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes and cover ups report to the professionals in law enforcement, not to Church-run Victim Assistance Offices.
(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)