The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
Letter to Bishop Dewane
Catholic Diocese of Venice
December 30, 2008
Dear Bishop Dewane
For the sake of public safety, we believe you should insist that Joseph turn over his passport to you. That would ensure that he doesnt flee the US. That would also send a strong signal to your employees and your flock that you take such allegations very seriously and are willing to help protect kids both here and overseas.
He of course is under no legal obligation to comply with such a request. But he has taken a vow of obedience to church authorities. And you have essentially vowed to put the well being of children first. So we believe it is your duty to insist he give up his passport.
We also believe it is your duty to do everything you possibly can to help find anyone with information about these allegations and urge them to contact law enforcement. You have a diocesan newspaper, website and dozens of church bulletins that could be used to reach out to anyone who was harmed by this priest. You should strongly urge anyone who has seen or suspected these crimes to contact law enforcement.
You could set an example by voluntarily turning over all information about Joseph to police and prosecutors. Clergy sex crimes should be investigated by trained and impartial law enforcement.
Bishop Dewane, you have a chance to send a very strong message to any child who is being molested or has been molested. By cooperating with police, by asking for Josephs passport, by imploring anyone with knowledge of these crimes to report to police and not church officials, by begging victims to come forward you are telling victims they have done nothing wrong. You are telling them that child sexual abuse will not be tolerated. Your silence and inaction tells victims that the church will protect predators and not the innocent and the vulnerable.
We fear that Fr. Joseph may be tempted to jump on a plane and return home, instead of facing justice here. We implore you to take steps now to make sure that doesnt happen.
National Director of SNAP SNAPclohessy@aol.com
National Outreach director
6245 Westminster Place
Saint Louis, MO 63130
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests