Survivors Call for Transparency from Church Officials in Rockville Centre

Survivors Call for Transparency from Church Officials in Rockville Centre

“Release a list of accused priests now!” they demand

Diocese has Reached 300 Settlements, but no Names of Abusers have been Released – “Where is the transparency,” they ask

They Will Release a Letter that has been Written to Bishop Barres

And they will Call for Explanations of Barres’ Refusal to Take Action on an Abusive Priest in Pennsylvania

WHAT:

At a sidewalk press conference, clergy abuse survivors and their supporters will

  • Demand transparency from church officials in Rockville Centre,
  • Point out that 300 settlements have happened through the Independent Compensation and Reconciliation Program but no information about abusive priests have been released, and
  • Publicize a letter that has been sent to Bishop Barres who is currently under scrutiny for his failures to act on abusive priest Kevin Lonergan

WHEN:

Tuesday, March 10 at 11:00 AM

WHERE:

Outside St. Agnes Cathedral at 29 Quealy Pl, in Rockville Centre, NY

WHO:

Several survivors and advocates who belong to an organization called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, including Janet Klinger, the organization’s volunteer leader for the Nassau, Suffolk and Plainview areas who was abused in the Diocese of Rockville Centre.

WHY:

Despite repeated pledges from church officials to be open and transparent, church officials in Rockville Centre are continuing to hide important information about clergy abuse from the public. Now, SNAP survivors in advocates on Long Island are releasing a private letter that was written to Bishop John Barres and has gone unacknowledged by the bishop.

Almost every diocese in the country has taken steps to release lists of accused clergy, but not the Diocese of Rockville Centre. Even though Pope Francis recently declared that cases of clergy abuse would no longer be held to the “pontifical secret” standard, church officials in Rockville Centre continue to keep parishioners and the public in the dark. SNAP is demanding that this secrecy ends and that church officials in Rockville Centre immediately release a list of accused clergy.

In a private letter that has been ignored by Bishop Barres, SNAP leader Janet Klinger wrote that “transparency and openness is essential to our survivors' healing. Our community needs to know who these men are, where they have worked and what their status is now.” Now, since Bishop Barres has refused to respond, Klinger is making her letter public.

In addition to calling for a list of accused clerics, Klinger and other survivor advocates will point out that the Diocese of Rockville Centre has already settled at least 300 cases of clergy abuse through their IRCP program, yet no information has been made public. “This continued secrecy only ensures that children are at risk and communities are kept in the dark,” Klinger said.

Finally, Klinger and her supporters will demand answers from Bishop Barres about his inaction against Fr. Kevin Lonergan, an abusive priest who was sentenced to prison for abusing children in Pennsylvania last week. At the time of the allegations, Bishop Barres was the head of the Diocese of Allentown where Lonergan worked. Barres has repeatedly refused to explain why Lonergan was allowed to return to ministry after he was first accused for abuse and SNAP is concerned that there may be other abusive priests in Rockville Centre who have not been properly investigated and are currently putting children at risk.

“Bishop Barres needs to explain why he allowed an abuser to stay in ministry in Pennsylvania, and he should be bending over backwards to prove that this isn’t the case in Rockville Centre,” said Klinger. “Instead he is staying silent. That must change.”

CONTACT: Janet Klinger, SNAP Nassau/Suffolk/Plainview (mizzorro@gmail.com, 516-749-3798), Zach Hiner, Executive Director (517-974-9009, zhiner@snapnetwork.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)


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