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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Letters

Letter to Bishops of Colorado


May 1, 2006

Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, OFM Cap & Bishops of Colorado
1535 Logan
Denver, Colorado

Dear Catholic Bishops:

You have collectively spent tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, over the past few months trying to defeat sorely-need legislative designed to prevent future abuse. This legislation would finally
-- protect kids by exposing their molesters and those who shield them,
-- prod employers to work harder to screen employees and stop future abuse, and
-- force you and your colleagues to disclose, under oath and in open court, how much you knew about yet how little you did about dangerously abusive clergy.

A sad and transparently disingenuous strategy in your expensive and deceptive efforts to beat back this reform has been to try and divert attention away from your own failings and on to the failings of others elsewhere. You have repeatedly brought up the fact that some 85 public school teachers in Colorado have been accused of child molestation, and have repeatedly pretended to care about the well-being of public school students. (Never mind the fact that none of you have ever proposed or backed any legislation in the past that would safeguard Colorado children, in either public or private schools.)

Today, we challenge you to "put up or shut up." We challenge you to take one simple step toward protecting children, instead of many expensive steps toward protecting yourselves.

We ask that you post on your diocesan web sites, in your diocesan newspapers, and in your parish bulletins, the names of proven, admitted, and credibly accused abusive Catholic Church employees and public school teachers.

If you truly care about the safety of Colorado's children, what possible reason could you have for NOT publicizing the names of those public teachers who have already been identified as molesters? And if you truly care about the safety of Colorado's children, what possible reason could you have for NOT publicizing the names of those public priests, nuns, brothers, and seminarians who've already been identified as molesters?

You can publicly profess to be concerned for all of Colorado's children. But this claim will continue to ring hollow unless and until it is evidenced by tangible action.

In the past few months, at least four Colorado Catholic clerics have been publicly accused of molesting kids: Brother William Mueller, Fr. Leonard Abercrombie, Fr. Timothy Joseph Evans, and Fr. Harold Robert White. Others who stand accused but who have received considerably less attention include Fr. Neil Hewitt and Fr. David Holley. We've asked you before to identify these and other potentially dangerous men, so that children may be protected from them. You have refused.

But we're hoping that now, given your shameless profession of "concern" for children, you'll reconsider. Otherwise, your claims will continue to seem like just so much self-serving public relations.


Barbara Blaine of Chicago,
SNAP President

Jeb Barrett of Aurora
SNAP Denver Leader

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests