SNAP to victims: Don’t cooperate with Legion "investigation"

Yesterday, the embattled head of the controversial Legion of Christ announced a "review" of all clergy sex abuse cases involving Legion clerics. We urge those who saw, suspected or suffered such crimes and cover ups to NOT cooperate with that effort.

Instead, we beg anyone with information or suspicions about child molesting Legion clerics - current or former - to seek out independent sources of support (therapists or self help groups) and report to independent sources of investigation (police or prosecutors).

As recently as this week, Fr. Alvaro Corcuera, the head of the Legion, acted deceitfully & recklessly in cases involving Legion priests and sex abuse. Corcuera was exposed yesterday as having known since 2005 (but kept silent about) the sexual impropriety of Fr. Thomas D. Williams – a charismatic Legion priest who admitted secretly fathering a child years ago. Yet in the seven years that he has had knowledge of sex crimes by priests, Corcuera did virtually nothing until a media exposé forced his hand.

During the time that he was aware of William’s impropriety, Corcuera:

--Let Fr. Williams to continue to act as an expert on teach morality to seminarians, and allowed him to preach ethics on television news programs and in his books

--Secretly put alleged “restrictions” on Fr. Williams but refused to enforce them

--Kept letting Fr. Williams do speaking engagements and act in a public relations capacity.

Perhaps worst of all is that, by his own admission, Fr. Corcuera took Fr. Williams at face value in 2005 when Williams denied fathering a child. A man who has a proven history of believing the accused is not fit to be involved in any investigation, much less lead one.

It’s important to remember that if not for one brave whistleblower, all of this scandal would still be hidden. We do not want to have victims finally break their silence in the hopes of seeing justice and doing their part to protect kids, only to have their report shoved under the rug. Instead, we urge any victim or whistleblower to immediately go to the police to make reports, or go to a therapist in search of healing.

Church investigations almost always give church officials a chance to publicly proclaim that they’re being proactive about the clergy sex abuse crisis when they are not. Government and police investigations, on the other hand, result in arrests, justice, and better protection for kids. It is the latter that victims, witnesses, and whistleblowers should be striving towards.

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