SNAP statement on Rev. George Klein
We have recently learned that Fr. George W. Klein of St. Philip the Apostle parish has been accused of sexually abusing a girl when he was a principal at the St. Benedict High School. It’s been two months since the victim first reported her abuse by Klein to Catholic officials. It’s been two weeks since she met face-to-face and divulged more about her abuse by Klein to Catholic officials.
Still, Klein is in his parish and still, virtually no one knows about this. What are the two most often-repeated promises bishops have made hundreds and hundreds of times over the past decade?
Bishops promise to “promptly suspend priests the minute an accusation seems credible.”
And bishops promise to “be open and transparent in clergy sex cases.”
In this case, Cardinal George and his top staff are breaking both promises, just like they did with Fr. Daniel McCormack.
And as a result, they’re recklessly, callously and needlessly endangering kids, just like they did a few short years ago with Fr. Daniel McCormack.
We are releasing today a private email to Klein’s victim from Leah McCluskey, who heads the archdiocesan Office for Child Abuse Investigations and Review. In it, McCluskey says that Klein now has “restrictions placed upon him,” and is not to “be alone with anyone under the age of 18 unless a responsible adult is present,” and “may not engage in any teaching or instructive functions with any minors.”
Is this what bishops have promised? No. Is this what Cardinal George did with Fr. McCormack? Yes.
Frankly, this isn’t rocket science. The right path is crystal clear:
• Honor bishops’ promises.
• Suspend Klein.
• Tell parishioners. • Tell the public.
• Beg victims and witnesses to come forward.
• Give his personnel file to law enforcement.
• In the unlikely case the allegation proves “unsubstantiated,” say so.
• And restore Klein to his post.
For the safety of still-vulnerable kids, that’s the responsible course to take. Why does this matter?
Because it just takes just seconds for an adult to shove his hands in a girl’s pants or his tongue in a boy’s mouth.
Because child sexual abuse has life-long, devastating effects.
Because child sexual abuse is rarely a one-time occurence.
Because Klein’s around kids right now.
Because his parish is near a school that serves some of the most vulnerable kids – those with learning and developmental disabilities.
And because, again, church officials are doing with Klein exactly what they did with McCormack
• keeping a credible child sex abuse allegation against him secret,
• leaving him in his parish,
• allegedly putting meaningless ‘restrictions’ on him,
• telling no one (or just a few people) about the allegations, and
• delaying weeks/months before taking the smartest, safest, easiest safety step: suspending Klein
Second, we’re also here because of an agreement announced this week in which church officials are keeping records about predator priests secret unless forced to disclose them when facing civil child sex abuse and cover up lawsuits. Earlier this week, the archdiocese announced that several victims, represented by St. Paul MN attorney Jeff Anderson, had settled their child sex abuse and cover up lawsuits. As part of that agreement, church officials promised to release documents about only those predator priests who are sued by Anderson.
That’s a belated, begrudging and minimal step. The archdiocese should make public records about all child molesting clerics, regardless of whether they’ve been sued.Who benefits when information about child molesting clerics and corrupt church supervisors is kept secret? Child molesting clerics and corrupt church supervisors. No one else benefits.
When will top Catholic staff here stop the slow, irresponsible drip of gradual, forced disclosures about clergy sex crimes? When will they come clean – voluntarily and fully – so that kids will be safer, victims can better heal, and the public and parishioners learn the truth about this horrific crisis?
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 23 years and have more than 10,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, [email protected]), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747, [email protected]), Peter Isely (414-429-7259, [email protected]), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell, [email protected])