Victims ‘out’ 8 more accused Steubenville clerics
Victims ‘out’ 8 more accused Steubenville clerics
They are not on diocese’s list of 'credibly accused' or admitted abusers
Group blasts Catholic officials on abuse & cover up
It’s “outraged” diocese has a priest answering victims’ calls
“He should be replaced by a non-Catholic licensed therapist,” SNAP says
"The real solution," group insists, "is prosecution & legislative reform"
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will disclose that 8 publicly accused clerics were left off the Steubenville diocese’s list of ‘credibly accused’ or admitted abusers. Each spent time in southeastern Ohio but has attracted little or no media or public attention before in the state.
And the victims will call on local Catholic officials to
--stop using a priest to field calls from victims,
--post names of ALL publicly accused priests on their diocesan website,
--include details like their work histories, whereabouts and photos, and
--join with victims in pushing for real legislative reform, like repealing Ohio's "archaic, predator-friendly statute of limitations" so survivors can do what bishops will not do: expose child molesters in court.
Thursday, March 21, at 11-am
On the sidewalk outside the Steubenville diocese's chancery office, 422 Washington St. ( corner of N 5th St.) in Steubenville, Oh.
Two – three victims and advocates who belong to a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, including a Missouri woman who is the organization's long time Midwest director
In October, the Steubenville diocese released the names of 16 priests and a seminarian who have been 'credibly accused' or admitted sexually abusing minors, but did not disclose their photos, whereabouts and work histories.
And, even worse, the diocese left several names off its list, even though they have been ‘outed’ already (mostly elsewhere) sometimes by their own church supervisors.
For the safety of kids and the healing of victims, SNAP wants those names added to the diocesen list.
"Exposing their names helps victims to know that they are not alone, plus it protects kids today," says Judy Jones, SNAP Midwest Leader.
The publicly accused clerics SNAP says were left off that list are:
-- Deacon Rosendo F. “Ross” Decal, a Cuba native who worked in the Pittsburgh diocese and was charged with “child pornography, unlawful contact with a minor and criminal use of communications” in April 2018. In 1960s and 1970s, Decal taught at Steubenville Catholic Central High.
-- Fr. Carl Anthony Peltz, a Steubenville priest who also worked as a Navy chaplain from 1983-1990 and who was later "incardinated" and worked in the Kalamazoo diocese. In 1985 in Iceland, Fr. Peltz allegedly forced a 12 year old boy to drink whiskey and raped him. A civil suit filed in 1991 in federal court charged that Steubenville church officials should have known the priest had a drinking problem, yet it certified him as fit for service. That case settled for $25,000 in 1993. Fr. Peltz died in 2015.
-- Fr. John Patrick Bertolucci, an Albany NY priest who worked at Steubenville University for at least nine years, from 1979-1988. The priest admitted sexually abusing teenagers in the 1970s. Church officials permanently removed his faculties in 2002. A lawsuit that same year alleged that Fr. Bertolucci told the parents of the alleged victim that "I was very proud of your son the way he repeatedly fought off my sexual advances most of the time."
-- Fr. Christopher Pliauplis, who started his career as a religious order brother in Steubenville and was later ordained a priest for the diocese. In 1991, he was transferred to the Rockville Centre diocese in New York, purportedly to be near his ailing mother. Fr. Pliauplis was then sent briefly to the Brooklyn diocese and then to the New York archdiocese. The priest was accused of inappropriately touching a 17-year-old boy in 2006 on Staten Island. That same year, he was put on leave and his faculties were removed by church authorities. Fr. Pliauplis appealed the decision to the Vatican and in 2008, a church court in Rome cleared him. Later that year, he was returned to ministry at St. Patrick's Cathedral where he worked until at least 2011. Since 2012, he has been listed in the Official Catholic Directory as ‘on leave.’
-- Fr. Clemens M. Schlueter, a Steubenville diocesan priest who was transferred to the Tucson diocese in 1978 and retired in 1990. In 2002, church officials disclosed that Fr. Schlueter had been suspended from ministry in 1997 after they had learned of an allegation of child sexual abuse.
-- Fr. Francis F. Maloney, who started his career in Steubenville, was sent to Florida where he was removed from a parish there in 2002 after 17 year old accused him of acting inappropriately around him. The teen said he found Fr. Maloney in bed with another man and that the priest would walk around his home nude while the youth was there. No criminal charges filed but the teen filed a civil suit in 2003. It settled in 2004 for less than $1 million. Fr. Maloney admitted to a long-term, "sporadic" sexual relationship with the other priest.
--Fr. Samuel Tiesi, who worked at Franciscan University from 1978 until 1992 and then again from 1997 until his death in 2001. The school acknowledged that it “has received a report giving reasonable cause to believe that, in the 1990s, he “made unwelcome sexual advances toward a female student.”
-- Msgr. Mark Froehlich, who in May of 2018 was removed from active ministry after the Steubenville diocese wrote to his parishioners announcing that it had received a 'credible' allegation of sexual abuse against him. In addition to many parish assignments, he was a teacher at Guernsey Catholic Central High School in Cambridge 1972-1977 and a chancery official, including a stint as dean and a long tenure as a judge in the tribunal. He was also finance officer of the St. Vincent de Paul Society in Barnesville and prominent in the Rotary Club.
2) The Steubenville diocese is one of just three in the US that uses a priest to handle calls from clergy sex abuse victims. (Another one is the Columbus diocese.)
That’s “extraordinarily insensitive” SNAP says, and discourages victims, witnesses and whistle blowers from reporting known or suspected abuse. It’s also one more reason, SNAP says, that “anyone with information or suspicions about abuse should call law enforcement first.”
CONTACT: Judy Jones, SNAP Midwest Regional Leader, (636-433-2511, [email protected]), 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)