Survivors of Catholic Church abuse urge Catholic Diocese of Rockford to add names to ‘credibly accused’ list

WIFR-TV, Ch. 23 [Rockville IL]

May 29, 2023

By Elisa Reamer


[Includes a video]

A group of survivors and supporters speak out about sexual abuse within the Catholic Church outside a local place of worship Monday.

Several church abuse victims were among those who stood in front of Cathedral of St. Peter in Rockford Monday holding a poster with names of five priests who have spent time in Rockford accused of sexual abuse. Some priests on the list are dead, others still living.

“We want the bishop to post these five names on his website along the sides of the proven, admitted, critically accused molesters that are there now,” said Missouri’s Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) volunteer director David Clohessy.

The names of the priests are Father Philip Derea, Father John Powell, Father Norman Maday, Father Charles Becker and Father Robert Erpenbeck.

SNAP leaders say those names are listed under other church’s ‘credibly accused’ lists but claim they are not listed on the Catholic Diocese of Rockford’s.

“Why wouldn’t he be on every list? Not just here but every list all the way across the country,” said SNAP of Chicago Leader Larry Antonsen.

Antonsen says he suffered through abuse by a priest when he was a sophomore in high school.

“I don’t want to see another kid live with what I have to live with,” Antonsen said.

Clohessy who suffered abuse for four years says including deceased priests is important because it can be eye opening,

“She may call her son who is in his 50s and 60s and say what’s the name of the priest who used to take you Saturdays to the movies,” Clohessy said. “Well father Mayday is a credibly accused molester, did he do anything to you.”

Kate Bochte is a supporter of victims who used to be a member of the Catholic Church.

“It’s bad enough for Catholics to find out your priests are doing this to children and also that the bishops and the people up here in the powers that be in these dioceses headquarters are letting it happen,” Bochte said.

News did attempt to reach out to the Catholic Diocese of Rockford but because of Memorial Day, their offices were closed.

If you’re a victim of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church, visit SNAP’s website to be connected with a support group.

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