The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
to Immaculate Heart Academy
November 24, 2004
Sr. Ellen Cronan, ASCJ
Dear Sister Ellen Cronan,
We at SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) recently learned that Linda Cusano, a former teacher at Immaculate Heart Academy and member of the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, has been inducted as a member of the Academy's Hall of Fame. We feel that the circumstances surrounding her removal from the classroom and eventual departure from the Order would prohibit her from being honored in any school.
We also believe that Cusano sexually abused at least one young girl.
By placing Linda Cusano in such a highly regarded position, you are sending a clear message not only to victims of sexual abuse, but also the community at large. While victims of sexual abuse continue to suffer in shame, guilt, and silence, it says that you hold this woman in a place of respect and honor. Having her listed as a member of IHA's Hall of Fame may prevent other victims of sexual abuse from coming forward and getting the help that they so rightly deserve. It also proves that you have not considered the feelings of the victim or her family.
We are asking that the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Immaculate Heart Academy take the following actions:
1. Immediately remove Linda Cusano from the Immaculate Heart Academy's Hall of Fame, including, but not limited to her name's removal from website, her name or picture being taken from any wall, plaque, etc.
2. Send a letter to the IHA community and a notice to the secular news media explaining why this action has been taken.
3. Publicly urge (through the secular news media) that anyone who suspected, witnessed or experienced sexual abuse by an employee of the order to contact civil authorities.
By taking these steps, the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus can promote a safe environment for students currently in IHA. By sending a clear message that abusive behavior will not be tolerated and abusers will not be protected or honored, it may also give victims whom are still suffering in silence the courage to come forward. Lastly, it may give some comfort to the victim and her family by just doing the right thing.
We look forward to your prompt response.
Cc: Sr. Maureen Martin
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests