The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Statement
For immediate release: Monday, December 6, 2010
Victims to DC Archbishop “House predator priests in ‘secure treatment center’”
He should also warn families about twice-convicted predator just found in Maine
Statement by David Clohessy, executive director 314 566 9790 [email protected]
(NOTE: Yesterday’s Washington Post has a story about the whereabouts & status of DC area predator priests)
Given the disclosures in Yesterday’s Washington Post, and the public safety risk caused by child molesting clerics living alone among unsuspecting neighbors and getting little or no supervision from Catholic officials, we call on Archbishop Donald Wuerl to take these four steps:
1) Priests have pledged to obey their bishops. In return, bishops provide priests – even most predator priests – with salaries, health insurance and a host of other benefits. Bishops can and should order pedophile priests to live in supervised settings, like professionally-run treatment facilities for sex offenders. But virtually no bishop does this, preferring to instead take the cheap and easy way out, despite the obvious public safety risk involved. We urge Wuerl to house and supervise all proven, admitted and credibly accused child molesting clerics who answer to him and/or are on the archdiocesan payroll.
2) Wuerl should do what 24 of his colleagues across the US have done: post on church websites the names of all proven, admitted and credibly accused child molesting clerics. Parents, parishioners and the public can’t protect their kids from predators unless we know who those predators are. This is the bare minimum moral obligation of every Catholic prelate.
3) Kids are safest when child predators are imprisoned. So bishops can and should also do much more to urge victims and witnesses and whistleblowers to call police and prosecutors. Instead, they do the absolute bare minimum, and merely suspend child molesting clerics from active ministry. That’s a dereliction of duty. Wuerl should personally go to each parish where pedophile priests have worked and emphatically beg anyone with information about the crimes to contact law enforcement. Those kinds of clear, direct pleas can make a difference. But we rarely see bishops taking this simple step to protecting the vulnerable.
4) Today, Wuerl should send notices to every parish in the archdiocese urging anyone with information about Fr. Walter Dayton Salisbury to call police. On Friday, a newspaper disclosed that this twice-convicted predator, who worked and abused in DC, now lives in publicly-funded housing in Maine and served on a governmental panel. We worry about kids who are near him now and we want the public to know of his crimes so parents are warned. Wuerl should personally visit every parish in DC where Salisbury worked, and beg those who saw, suspected or suffered his crimes to call police so that he might be prosecuted again , kids might be safer, and others he wounded might be consoled.
Catholic officials can and should do more to supervise the pedophile priests they recruit, educate, ordain, hire, and often protect and quietly transfer. When clergy sex crimes and cover ups are uncovered, it’s immoral for bishops to suddenly ‘cut and run,’ and pretend to be powerless.
Bishops are powerful monarchs. They have massive resources. They have church newspapers and radio stations and websites. They have hundreds of employees and dozens of parish bulletins and websites. If they choose to act responsibly, bishops can help ensure that more predator priests are charged, convicted and jailed. But it takes courage and compassion to do this. And sadly, courage and compassion are sorely lacking in many bishops.
(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]), 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]) Becky Ianni 703-801-6044, [email protected], Dave Lorenz 301-906-9161, [email protected]
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests