Diocese of Steubenville Should Continue Outreach About Abusive Former Teacher
A former teacher from the Diocese of Steubenville was arrested last week for sexual misconduct with a minor. We are glad that church officials took steps to warn the public about him and urge them to undertake further outreach.
We believe that Jefferson County Sheriff Fred Abdalla is right to be concerned that there might be more victims of Ronald S. Burkhead. Child predators rarely stop abusing with just one or two.
It was acknowledged by the Steubenville diocese that Burkhead worked as a teacher at St. Francis Central in Toronto, OH from 2000-01 and Holy Rosary Central in Steubenville from 2004-05 . Yes, the Diocese of Steubenville officials did the right thing in regard to Burkhead, but they need to do more.
We call on Bishop Jeffrey M. Monforton to do outreach to any possible victims at each of the schools at which Burkhead worked. Bishop Monforton should also make it a point to send a letter to the alumni from both schools urging them to contact police if they have any knowledge about abuse or may have been harmed by Burkhead themselves. It is very possible that they would be within the SOL to get him in jail and away from kids. Finally, Bishop Monforton should add Burkhead’s name, picture, and assignment history to the list of accused clerics on their diocese web site.
We are glad that church officials were proactive in this case. Now they can demonstrate their commitment to the openness they demonstrated last week by taking these steps above and encouraging other victims and witnesses to come forward, make a report to law enforcement, and start healing.
(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)