SNAP Writes to Maryland Franciscans, Urges the Order to Provide an Update on an Accused Priest and to Release a List of Abusers
For Immediate Release: February 24, 2022
Today, SNAP sent a letter to the Very Reverend Fr. James McCurry, OFM Conv., Minister Provincial of the Our Lady of the Angels Province of the Franciscans. In that letter, SNAP made two very specific requests of the Provincial:
- To provide a report on the probe into Father Justin Ross, OFM Conv., who was removed from ministry in December of 2020 pending an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct involving a young adult. Since he was removed from ministry, the order has provided no public updates and have failed to alert parishioners and the public of the outcome of the investigation into Fr. Ross. We firmly believe that the Province owes their flock more information about the accusations and the current whereabouts of Fr Ross; and
- To release a list of those members of the Province who have sexually abused children and adults. Only one Franciscan province has provided such information. The importance of being completely transparent cannot be overstated. When abuse survivors learn that they are not alone, this is usually the first step on the road to healing for those victims suffering in silence.
The text of the letter is posted below.
Dear Father McCurry:
We represent SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. It has come to our attention that Father Justin Ross, OFM Conv. was removed from ministry in December of 2020 pending an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct involving a young adult. However, after more than a year, we have been unable to ascertain the outcome of that probe, including more information about the accusations and the current whereabouts of Father Ross. We are hoping that you can supply us with this missing information.
SNAP knows from its work with adult survivors that they – like children -- suffer greatly from the betrayal of a trusted clergyman. After all, in the Catholic tradition, all parishioners address the priest as “Father,” and he is in a position of authority over their spiritual lives. Moreover, in December Pope Francis changed Catholic Church law to explicitly criminalize the sexual abuse of adults by clergy.
We also note that your province does not appear to be among those dioceses and religious orders that have released a list of abusers. We urge you to remedy that situation immediately and to make sure that it includes not just those who hurt children, but also those who have preyed on adults.
The importance of being completely transparent cannot be overstated. Survivors learn that they are not alone. This may well be the first step on the road to healing for those victims suffering alone and in silence.
Again, we are hoping that you will be open about the allegations and the outcome of the investigation into Fr. Ross, including his current location. We also hope that you will provide a list of abusers.
We look forward to your response.
CONTACT: David Lorenz, SNAP Maryland Leader ([email protected], 301-906-9161), Michael McDonnell, SNAP Communications Manager ([email protected], 267) 261-0578 ), Melanie Sakoda, SNAP Survivor Support Coordinator ([email protected], 925-708-6175), Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director ([email protected], 517-974-9009)
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for more than 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)