The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Statement
For immediate release: Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Omaha Archbishop lies to his flock
Statement by SNAP leader Tim Lennon 415 312 5820
We were molested as kids by Catholic priests. We belong to a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. Our mission is to protect the vulnerable and heal the wounded.
We’re here because we’re worried about two predator priests. And we’re upset because Omaha Archbishop George Lucas recently lied to his flock. And when he was caught, Lucas made a pathetic excuse for his lie.
Weeks ago, Lucas led St. Gerald’s parishioners to believe that Fr. Perry Robinson had been put “on sabbatical,” because of Robinson's age and his health. Later, however, Lucas was forced to admit that credible child sex abuse allegations were the real cause of Robinson’s leaving.
Astonishingly, Lucas defended his deception, claiming that “the archdiocese was abiding by Church teaching that asserts every individual has a right to a good name and reputation.” What about church teaching that lying is wrong? What about church policy that kids are to be protected?
Adding insult to injury, Lucas wrote “To share the purpose of Father Robinson’s departure while the allegations had yet to be substantiated would have been a break from Church practice." In one sense, Lucas is technically right. Sadly, for decades, “church practice” in clergy sex cases has, in fact, been to lie. In 2002, that was supposedly going to change. Bishops pledged to reform. They promised to put kids’ safety first. They promised to be “open and transparent.”
How does lying to Catholic parishioners about why a priest is suspended represent any reform? It isn’t. It’s the “same old, same old.”
We are appalled by Lucas’ deceit and his self-serving excuse for his deceit. We urge Omaha Catholics to donate elsewhere until Lucas admits he was wrong to lie, apologizes and pledges to never do it again.
We beg Omaha Catholics to donate more than ever before. But give to institutions that protect kids instead of endangers kids. Give to groups that tell the truth about child sex reports, not to one that lies about child sex reports.
We are also concerned about two former Omaha area cleric. One is Fr. Perry Robinson, who also worked in Milwaukee. The other is Fr. James Fiala, who faces allegations that he molested a child in 2007-08 and tried, last year, to hire a hit man to kill one of his victims.
We beg anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered their crimes (or misdeeds by any Catholic employee) will find the strength and courage to step forward, call police, protect kids, expose wrongdoing and start healing.
And let’s hope that Catholic officials will show compassion and use their vast resources to aggressively seek out victims, witnesses and whistleblowers and urge them to call police so these predators can be jailed and so that our kids can be safer.
(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])
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests