Statement by Janet Klinger of SNAP New York
As victims, we are tired of being turned away by Bishop John Barres. As parishioners, you deserve the same answers we seek. Only then can we protect children.
Long Island Catholics, we are asking you to follow your conscience. Give your church donation to your favorite charity instead of to the Church. Bishop Barres will hear our voices louder. You have heard us and we thank you and ask you to only do what you are able to do. We are with each and every parish, fighting for each and every child.
We’re calling on Long Island Catholics to donate generously, but donate elsewhere until Bishop Barres reveals who and where his child molesting clerics are.
Every day that an abuser’s name is hidden, kids are at risk of horrific harm. Bishop Barres must post accused clerics’ names immediately. That’s the only responsible, caring choice to make.
He’ll claim the process takes time. That’s baloney. A full 17 years ago, bishops in Maryland and Arizona posted proven, admitted and credibly accused clerics’ names. There is no excuse for inaction.
At the very least, Bishop Barres should tell us the names of those accused who are alive and may pose threats to children right now.
Rockville Centre is the biggest diocese in the nation that refuses to post such names.
Let us be clear: We don’t want people to sit on their wallets. In fact, we urge Catholics to be more generous than ever. But they should give to organizations that help kids and fight abuse, not those that hurt kids and hide abuse. It’s unconscionable for followers to financially reward officials who act irresponsibly.
Also until Bishop Barres releases accused clerics’ names, we encourage Long Island citizens and Catholics to look at three sources of information about abuse and cover up in the diocese.
The first is BishopAccountability.org
The second is a 2003 Suffolk County grand jury report.
The third is a report on the crisis in Rockville Centre put out last year by attorneys representing victims.
Parents, police, prosecutors, parishioners and the public should educate themselves on who committed and who’s concealing clergy child sex crimes on Long Island.
Also today, we’re drawing attention to six more publicly accused abusive clerics who have been in the Rockville Centre diocese but have attracted little or no attention here. Four of them are Jesuits were in Manhasset and who were ‘outed’ as abusers a few weeks ago by their direct supervisors.
They’re not on BishopAccountability.org, not in the grand jury report and not in the attorneys’ report. They are:
--Fr. Joseph Towle, who was at Inisfada from 1968-1971.
--Fr. Edward D. Horgan, who was at Inisfada from 1983-1994.
--Fr. Joseph Fitzpatrick, who was at St. Mary’s parish from 1971-1983.
--Fr. John Garvey, who was at Inisfada from 1978-1987.
The other two ‘under the radar’ Rockville Centre publicly accused priests are:
--Fr. Ernest E. Robinson, who was ordained in 1979 and worked in Greenlawn, New Hyde Park, Oyster Bay, Hicksville, Huntington, and Uniondale. In 2007, he was convicted of indecent assault and battery on a child in Massachusetts. Now he’s listed on the Connecticut Sex Offender Registry.
--Fr. Augustine J. Seidenburg, who was ordained in 1948 and worked at the US Naval Hospital on Long Island, according to the Newark archdiocese, which put him on its ‘credibly accused clergy’ list.
As best SNAP can tell, neither Fr. Robinson nor Fr. Seidenburg is in the 2003 grand jury report, on the attorneys’ report put out last year on abuse in Rockville Centre. Fr. Seidenburg is also not on BishopAccountability.org.
Back in February, we drew attention to two publicly accused priests who molested elsewhere, spent time on Long Island but have attracted little or no attention in New York. One is Fr. Freddy Washington, who was arrested in 2017 for the alleged sexual abuse of two boys (around 11 years old).
The other is Fr. Christopher Pliauplis,who in 2006 was accused of inappropriately touching a 17-year-old boy, put on leave, ‘cleared’ by church officials, returned to active duty, but again put on leave in 2012 where he’s been ever since.
That same month, we also called on “anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered crimes or cover ups” by recently-accused Bishop John McGann.
And earlier this week, a veteran clergy sex abuse attorney disclosed the names of two other accused Long Island predator priests-Father Edward J. Byrne and Father Harold H. Paul.
All eleven of these men should be included when Bishop Barres does produce a list of accused clerics.
Finally, some Catholics may fear that re-directing their donations may hurt their local churches. We know parishioners love their parishes. But they also love their kids, and other peoples’ kids. And given how recalcitrant the bishop is being, and given the diocese’s long-standing and troubling track record on kids’ safety, we know of no other effective way to prod the bishop to do what’s right.
Contact: Janet Klinger, SNAP New York (firstname.lastname@example.org)
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)