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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Letters

Letter to LA Cardinal Mahony


Oct. 24, 2006

Dear Cardinal Mahony:

Enclosed is a statement from Luis Godinez. He urges you to:

-- do more to warn Mexican families about abusive California priests now living or working there,

-- devote a full page in your archdiocesan newspaper to listing credibly accused abusive priests who've fled the US, and urging your flock to forward the names to friends, family, and fellow Catholics overseas,

-- personally go to Mexico City and make a strong public appeal for Catholics to be on the look out for these predators, to come forward to if they've been hurt by these men, and call police if they see these men.

We wholeheartedly support each of these suggestions.

But we'd like to offer another one too: fire Tod Tamberg.

Last week, Tamberg wrote (on a blog)

"In September 1981, on the same day he received the report (of sexual abuse by Fr. Munoz), then-Bishop Mahony terminated the priest's faculties - his permission to work in the diocese - and his assignment."

Tamberg deliberately didn't tell the truth. The truth is that you helped a criminal evade the law.

We know this is the truth because of a letter you signed and sent to a Mexican bishop. It was dated //81. It reads:
". . .there are a lot of parents (in Stockton) who are ready to inform the priest about (Munoz') actions."

We also know this is the truth because of a letter you signed and sent to Munoz himself. It was dated 9/18/81. It reads:
"if you want to visit here, I will have to inform the police. . . ."

Second, last week, Tamberg wrote (in an e mail to a reporter) "Mahony wrote to (Fr. Munoz) advising him not to return to Stockton. . ."

Here again, Tamberg deliberately didn't tell the truth. He tries to suggest, in essence, that you were protecting Stockton kids. But you were protecting a Stockton predator, and endangering Mexican kids.

The bottom line, in both of these communications, is clear: You deliberately warned a criminal that he might face arrest and prosecution here in the US. You told him to stay away to avoid police. Because of your actions, Munoz may have gone on to molest more kids in Mexico. Yet Tamberg misrepresents your actions, and is dishonest about your intentions. He has the audacity to try to 'spin' obstruction of justice as decisive action.

Finally, also last week, Tamberg (on a blog) attacks filmaker Amy Berg, saying that her "rants" are "incoherent" and "melodramatic," and "paranoid." Here's an exerpt and the link:

"Our old friend Amy Berg is back with a brand-new conspiracy and it's a REALLY, REALLY BIG CONSPIRACY! This time it's not just the Catholic Church that's out to get her."

We've told you about Ms. Berg before, in reference to her ah...reporting techniques and in reference to her cozy relationship with CNN, which she stretched to the limits in the making of her documentary "Deliver Us From Evil." Now she's back with a long rant, blogged on HuffingtonPost and elsewhere, in which she details the conspiracy that's out to get her.
(Maybe she watched The Da Vinci Code one too many times?)"

(Does this sound like Christian compassion to you, Cardinal? Or over-the-top mean-spirited sarcasm that is inappropriate for a church spokesman?)

These may seem like minor 'mistruths' to you, Cardinal. But they are symptoms of a broader pattern. Tamberg does this often, and it's getting worse, not better. These examples are not from the 1980s, the 1990s, or even last year. They are from last week.

You keep claiming, Cardinal, that you've learned from the mistakes of the past, that you want to move forward, that things are different now. But one of your top aides, your PR spokesman, continues to shade the truth. Yet he's never disciplined or removed. Your tolerance of such shadiness proves your pledges of reform are hollow.

When deceit is tolerated, deceit is repeated. You should insist on honesty from your spokesman. You should discipline or fire Tamberg. You should act on Luis Godinez' suggestions. You should use your public relations department to find and help the wounded, not attack the messenger, sling mud, and obscure the truth.

Mary Grant
Western Regionnal Director, SNAP
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
626 419 2930

David Clohessy
National Director, SNAP
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
7234 Arsenal Street
St. Louis MO 63143
314 566 9790 cell, 314 645 5915

Barbara Blaine
President, SNAP
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
PO Box 6416
Chicago IL 60680
312 399 4747

Barbara Dorris
Outreach Coordinator, SNAP
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
6245 Westminster
St. Louis MO 63130
314 862 7688

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests