The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Statement
For immediate release: Friday, October 22, 2010
SNAP blasts Ed Martin for “demagoguery” and “dodging”
Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, [email protected])
A cockroach? Ed Martin calls himself a Christian. But he calls another person a cockroach (on his campaign website). It’s a bit disquieting to see a man who was once supposedly an advisor to the Pope and who aspires to public service acting like this.
Martin’s use of insults like “shameless vermin,” “foul assault,” “sordid McCarthyism,” “appalling smear” and “fellow hacks” does nothing to clear up the basic question about Martin’s behavior: What did he know when about predator priests and what did he do to alert police or warn parents or protect kids from them?
Martin is doing to the website’s creators what hundreds of corrupt Catholic officials have done to police, prosecutors, victims, whistleblowers and journalists: attacking the messenger. Ed, please quit slinging mud and making personal attacks. You can’t un-do the past. So please just answer the questions honestly now.
Questioning Martin’s actions about Catholic priests is legitimate. Questioning Martin’s beliefs about Catholic priests is NOT legitimate. Fortunately, no one is questioning what Martin believes. Serious questions are being raised, however, and what Martin has done and is doing. Instead of pretending to be offended and posturing as someone who’s being victimized, Martin should just answer those questions.
Chief among the questions are these two: What did Martin learn when about child molesting clerics? And what has he done, while on the archbishop’s payroll and since leaving the archbishop’s payroll, with that information.
Martin’s claim that this website is somehow about his personal beliefs is silly. (He called the website a “smear” on “his faith.”) It’s clearly not. It’s about his actions.
Martin’s claim that this website is “an insult to every Catholic in the United States” is beyond silly. It’s hurtful and intimidating demagoguery.
And it’s demeaning to Catholics to suggest one can’t even talk about clergy sex crimes and cover ups without “insulting (Is questioning whether a politician is corrupt an ‘insult’ to every citizen?) And it’s precisely the attitude that has helped enable tens of thousands of devastating child sex crimes by Catholic bishops, priests, nuns, brothers and seminarians that have been, and largely remain, covered up for decades.
There are two indisputable facts here.
1) Martin, a lawyer, was obviously very close to St. Louis’ archbishop, having been brought here, hired, promoted and trusted by the archbishop and having worked, for years, in the archbishop’s inner circle as youth advisor on a panel that dealt with clergy sex crimes
2) More than 50 proven, admitted and credibly accused child molesting Catholic clerics have been publicly identified as having worked and lived in the St. Louis archdiocese. (See BishopAccountability.org and SNAPmidwest.org)
Does Martin claim that he knows nothing about any of them or that he never discussed their cases and fates and movement with one other top church official? That defies common sense. (We’re not talking about Google or General Motors here. The archdiocese has a relatively small staff. And for years, Martin was in the archdiocesan inner circle.)
In his defense, Martin claims he “had zero involvement or authority on the adjudication or disposition of those accused of crimes or wrongdoing.” That carefully-crafted response ducks the question.
The main question is what did Martin know about any of the 50+ credibly accused child molesting Catholic clerics in St. Louis and what did he do with this information?
(No one suggests Martin, or any lay person had any “involvement or authority on the adjudication or disposition of those accused of crimes or wrongdoing.” That’s the job of the archbishop, police, prosecutors and courts. But surely, in Martin’s years in the archbishop’s inner circle, a case of one predator priest - or a dozen cases of predator priests – was discussed. Remember: Martin is a lawyer, was the archbishop’s ‘youth advisor’ and was on a panel that church records show dealt with predator priests.)
Furthermore, the issue isn’t just what Martin did while on the archbishop’s payroll. It’s also what Martin has done since then. Has he shared what he knows about predators with law enforcement?
Here’s the bottom line: Every adult has a duty to protect kids and tell police what they know about suspected crimes and criminals. And here’s the crucial question: Has Martin done this? He refuses to say. And we doubt that he has. (If he knows, for example, that even one pedophile priest is now living quietly in an apartment complex among unsuspecting neighbors, he needs to call police so they might be better able to keep an eye on that priest.)
Finally, Martin has a picture of himself on his website with Rosa Parks. Parks once said “Each person must live their life as a model for others.” Martin should model decency, for his own children and for others. Calling someone a “cockroach” or “vermin” is not decent. Nor is keeping quiet about suspected child sex crimes.
Martin has a picture of himself on his website with Pope John Paul II. Over decades in the public eye, Pope John Paul never called anyone a cockroach.
There’s a broader lesson here for anyone who ignores or conceals child sex crimes. In the words of Martin Luther King: “No lie lives forever.” If you hide the truth about predators, eventually, it will surface, and your reputation and standing and moral authority will suffer. This is true whether you are a public figure or private one, whether you are a lawyer or a high school drop out. Ultimately, few respect a person who sides with powerful and guilty adults over vulnerable and innocent kids.
So if you have any information – solid or speculative, recent or old, important or seemingly insignificant – about those who harm the young, please do the right thing and speak up and call police and protect kids.
We especially call on current and former Catholic church employees and members: if you know anything about child molesting clerics, please search your conscience, find some courage, and break your silence, so other children won’t suffer the devastation that thousands of us have suffered and still suffer. Call the police now and tell them what you know.
(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 22 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])
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests