“Credibly Accused” Priest from San Jose Arrested on New Charges
The Diocese of San Jose today released a statement regarding the news that one of the men on their list of “credibly accused” clergy was in jail on new charges.
In the statement Bishop Patrick McGrath said, “Prior to the Dallas Charter … these cases were handled differently based on the clinical psychological standards at the time of their convictions.” We believe it is disingenuous for the Bishop to claim that the Church did not understand the danger of returning men who abuse children to ministry.
As early as the mid-1950s, Father Gerald Fitzgerald, founder of the Servants of the Paracletes, an order established to deal with problem priests, wrote regularly to Bishops in the United States and to Vatican officials that clergy who abused children should be laicized immediately. Father Thomas Doyle and attorney Ray Mouton warned the Bishops again in 1985.
Bishops who now claim they just “didn't understand” child sex abuse prior to 2002 are just making excuses for decades of cover-ups. Does anyone really believe that these well-educated men honestly thought that prayer would cure pedophilia?
Regardless, whatever the Bishops did or did not believe, the fact remains that the sexual abuse of children is, and always has been, a crime that should have been reported to police. However, virtually no Bishop took this common sense step to protect children.
In the case of the former Father Toro, even when a brave prosecutor was able to obtain a conviction, the priest was returned to active ministry for seven years before being “retired” in 1990. While Bishop McGrath was not the head of the Diocese in 1990, he has had ample time to release the information about this priest since he assumed the role in 1999.
We cannot help but wonder how many lives could have been spared if Father Hernan Toro’s crimes had been made public in 1983, or in 1990, or in 1999, or even in 2002 when the Dallas Charter was adopted?
CONTACT: Dan McNevin, SNAP California ([email protected], 415-341-6417), Joey Piscitelli, SNAP California ([email protected], 925-262-3699) Melanie Sakoda, SNAP Secretary ([email protected], 925-708-6175) Zach Hiner, Executive Director ([email protected], 517-974-9009)
(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)