The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Statement
For immediate release: Friday, August 5, 2011
Victims to NY archbishop: “Help cops, do outreach”
Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, National Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests ([email protected], 314-566-9790)
We’re very disappointed by how Archbishop Timothy Dolan is responding to the arrest of an alleged predator priest. We call on him to use his vast resources and powerful post to help police and prosecutors get the full truth about the accusations against Fr. Jaime Duenas.
In a short statement on the archdiocesan website, Dolan’s public relations staffer doesn’t ask Catholics or citizens to do a thing. It is crucial that victims, witnesses and whistleblowers be urged to call police and prosecutors. Dolan is not dumb. He knows appeals like this are often effective. But instead of begging anyone with information or suspicions to call the cops, he says nothing.
So we’ll say it here: If you have knowledge or suspicions - however old, small or seemingly insignificant - about clergy sex crimes, it's your moral and civic duty to call police. Please summon the courage to do what's right, call law enforcement and hopefully prevent more devastated lives.
Dolan’s spokesman says Dolan has suspended Duenas. Big deal. That’s the absolute bare minimum a Catholic official should do when an alleged child predator is arrested. Any other employer would do the very same thing (and likely more).
Incidentally, a news report out today quotes two women who say that they felt uncomfortable around Fr. Duenas: http://www.wpix.com/news/wpix-priest-abuse-victims-speak,0,3795670.story
Finally, we stand by our criticism of Dolan yesterday.
The first media report of Duenas’ arrest was around 7 p.m. on Wednesday. That means the priest was likely arrested at least an hour, and most likely several hours, earlier. The first indication that someone learned of the arrest from the archdiocese came at 2:21 p.m. on Thursday, when an Associated Press story said "the New York Archdiocese reports. . . "
So it evidently took 20 to 24 hours after the priest’s arrest to see any evidence that the archdiocese notified anyone.
(A Dolan public relations staffer says a statement was posted on the archdiocesan website Thursday morning. We checked three times early on Thursday and nothing was posted by the time we issued our statement. There IS a brief statement posted there now and is copied below.)
Why does this matter? Because minutes and hours and days are crucial in a criminal investigation. Every second a predator's crimes are kept secret gives him and his allies time to destroy evidence, fabricate alibis, intimidate victims, threaten witnesses and discredit whistleblowers.
Just yesterday, in North Carolina, a Catholic priest “pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice after trying to foil a police investigation by deleting pornographic images of children from the parish music minister's home computer.” http://www.citizen-times.com/article/20110805/NEWS/308050026/Former-Asheville-pastor-guilty-obstruction-child-porn-case?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|Frontpage
A California child molesting cleric successfully fled overseas during the time between his admission of guilt to his bishop and the bishop’s late call to police. (http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news2006/05_06/2006_06_22_Kovner_OfficialsFault.htm)
The minute he made bail, it’s not hard to imagine Fr. Duenas calling
So it’s important, in criminal cases especially, that Dolan and other church officials move quickly to protect kids, preserve evidence, help law enforcement and potentially thwart a criminal trying to cover his tracks. Dolan hasn't done and isn't doing this.
(Dolan clearly enjoys talking with reporters and has been praised as a good communicator. Yet he’s apparently said nothing about Fr. Duenas’ arrest. The archdiocese has issued one brief statement in the name of one of Dolan’s public relations professionals.)
(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])
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 4, 2011
STATEMENT OF JOSEPH ZWILLING ON FATHER DUENAS
The Archdiocese of New York today suspended Father Jaime Duenas following his arrest last night on charges of inappropriate touching of a teenage girl. He will leave the parish and not be permitted to function as a priest, at least until the matter is resolved.
A thorough review of his file indicates that there have been no allegations of such behavior brought against him in the past.
Father Duenas is 87 years old, and has served at the Church of the Nativity of Our Blessed Lady since 1991. He was born in Columbia, and was ordained a priest there in 1950. He has served in the Archdiocese of New York since the late 1960’s.
The Archdiocese of New York is committed to providing a safe environment for all, especially our children and young people. We will cooperate fully with the District Attorney in whatever investigation may be conducted.
For immediate release: Thursday, August 4, 2011
NYC archbishop Dolan blasted over pedophile priest
Statement by Barbara Dorris, Outreach Director 314-862-7688 [email protected]
There are two important lessons here.
First, Archbishop Dolan and his brother bishops continue breaking their decade-old pledge to be “open and transparent” about clergy sex crimes and cover ups.
Dolan could and should have disclosed Fr. Jaime Duenas’ arrest and warned parents, parishioners and the public about him. Instead, only through the news media did Duenas’ arrest become known.
Just like Dolan did with Msgr. Wallace Harris, he’s acting secretively now in a child sex case just like Catholic officials have done for centuries.
Second, there’s no magic age at which a pedophile is cured. We must stop thinking that because a man may be bald, stoop-shouldered and slow-moving, somehow he’s automatically “safe.” It’s just stupid for us to endanger kids by assuming an adult is “harmless” simply because he or she is older. Losing hair, wearing glasses, using hearing aids or walking with a cane can be signs of advancing age. They are not signs that an individual is safe around kids.
Some crimes require physical strength or speed. Not pedophilia. Child molesters use their cunning, not their brute power, to abuse kids. So as child molesters get older, they often get more dangerous, not less dangerous.
We call on Dolan to stop acting passively and secretly, and start acting compassionately and aggressively. We urge him to personally visit every parish where Duenas worked, begging anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered child sex crimes to contact police and prosecutors.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has 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 www.snapnetwork.org
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests