WA--Victims want Bellingham principal fired

For immediate release: Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016

Statement by Mary Dispenza, volunteer Seattle director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (425-644-2468, Seattle@SNAPnetwork.org)

Seattle Archbishop Peter Sartain should fire a Bellingham principal for deceiving parents – in at least two ways - about a sex offender at a Catholic elementary school.http://www.bellinghamherald.com/news/local/article108369317.html

First, the principal kept the offender's presence secret for a year. When he finally did “come clean (only after having been prodded by distraught parents), he further deceived parents by claiming, with no apparent basis, that the offender was "in the first percentile" of child molesters who were rehabilitated. (According to one news account, the man remains “registered as a level II sex offender, meaning he is considered at moderate risk to reoffend.”)

That principal, Dan Anderson (360 733 6133theoffice@school.assumption.org, ,danderson@school.assumption.org) claims “It was never that we weren’t going to communicate this information to parents” and “We gave (the information) to (parents) when we felt it was necessary.”

No, Anderson and his colleagues gave the information when they were virtually forced to do so because parents discovered it on their own and were beginning to pressure church and school staff. And Anderson and his colleagues should have given as much information to parents about a sex offender at their school as quickly as possible, not when officials “felt it was necessary.” That self-serving arrogance – that Catholic officials get to hide information about known predators - is the reason 6500 priests (and countless nuns, brothers, bishops, seminarians and other current and former church employees) have been able to molest more than 100,000 children.



At least the local pastor partially admitted wrongdoing. But one of Sartain’s public relations staff, Greg Magnoni, won’t even do that. A newspaper reports that Magnoni does not believe the school erred.

Regardless, apologies are not enough. Apologies don’t punish or deter wrongdoing. For decades, apologies are the “go to” response when church officials are caught deceiving parishioners, stonewalling police, stonewalling prosecutors, attacking victims, destroying evidence and shuffling predators. Still, these awful behaviors persist.

Only decisive action and stern penalties scare other would-be “enablers” from endangering kids and deceiving adults.

We applaud parents like Ann Daley, who took steps to safeguard youngsters by withdrawing her kids from the school. (She also reportedly found court records showing the man’s criminal record, with admitted abuse of four girls, and two other alleged victims, dating from 1982 to 2008.)

We also applaud parents who pressured Catholic archdiocesan and school officials into being more honest about this troubling situation. Speaking up and taking action is the only way kids will be kept safer and wrongdoers will be deterred.

And we think parent Carol Frazey (frazeycd@comcast.net, 360-820-0105) is right when she says “There are no consequences for the priests, superintendents, or the archdiocese. They just say: We’re sorry, now let’s move on.”

That must change.

No matter what church officials do or don’t do, we urge every single person who saw, suspected or suffered child sex crimes and cover ups in Catholic churches or institutions to protect kids by calling police, get help by calling therapists, get justice by calling attorneys, and be comforted by calling support groups like ours. This is how kids will be safer, adults will recover, criminals will be prosecuted, cover ups will be deterred and the truth will surface.

A timeline of the case is here: timeline https://docs.google.com/document/d/1_Ds5E6RL2jqaUJ8ItX_US7Ri9jHVFzXeQp1moU7SCtQ/edit?usp=sharing

(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 20,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)

Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, davidgclohessy@gmail.com), Barbara Dorris(314-503-0003 cell, bdorris@SNAPnetwork.org)


Bellingham parents withdraw kids from Catholic school over sex offender controversy

BY CALEB HUTTON, chutton@bhamherald.com

If a sex offender makes regular visits to an elementary school, who needs to know?

Some parents at Assumption Catholic School, a preschool and K-8 school in Bellingham, believe staff erred by waiting a year to warn  . . . 

Read full article here

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