Saturday, May 29, 2010

Clergy sex victims blast bishop

SNAP Press Release

Clergy sex victims blast bishop

For six weeks, he’s let 2 accused priests keep working

SNAP says they should have been suspended “long ago”

Church claims one has been ousted but there’s no announcement

Group criticizes Joliet diocese for “delays, secrecy & recklessness”

SNAP to bishop: “Use impartial person, not your lawyer, to investigate”

Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims will urge Catholic officials to
-- suspend two credibly accused predator priests who allegedly assaulted a Joliet boy years ago,
-- explain their six week delay and continuing secrecy surrounding the accusations, and
-- stop using a lawyer to investigate clergy sex abuse reports, and use a more pastoral person instead.

The group will also urge anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered crimes or misdeeds by the two clerics to come forward, call police, get help, expose wrong-doers and start healing.

TODAY, Friday, May 28, 1:00 p.m.

Outside the Joliet Diocese headquarters (chancery office), 425 Summit St. in Joliet IL

Two-three clergy sex abuse victims who belong to a Chicago-based support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, including the organization’s founder and long time president

On April 24, a Florida man told a Joliet church staffer that he was molested as a child by two priests in the diocese. On May 11, he reported the same crimes to the bishop’s lawyer. SNAP believes the clerics should be ousted.

For the past eight years, Catholic officials have promised that they will quickly suspend credibly accused clerics. But SNAP fears that one of these priests still works in a local parish, and the other works on the west coast, which SNAP believes is reckless. Catholic officials have also pledge to be “open” with child sex abuse allegations, but the Joliet diocese has not disclosed either allegation.

(Yesterday, a church lawyer claimed, in a conversation with the alleged victim’s attorney, that the current Joliet priest was suspended on Tuesday, but SNAP is skeptical of the claim.)

SNAP is not naming the clerics at this point because there are no criminal or civil legal charges against either man. But for the sake of public safety and honoring bishops’ pledges to put children’s safety first, SNAP believes both should have been suspended weeks ago and will urge Bishop Peter Sartain (815 722 6606) to do so immediately and publicly.

The victim has spent hours talking with the church attorney about his experiences. SNAP believes he is credible because 1) the group has spoken with him repeatedly, 2) he’s represented by an experienced attorney, 3) he’s not seeking compensation, and 4) he’s cooperated extensively with the church probe, 5) his family has cooperated too, 6) he’s struggled with alcohol, but 7) he’s been sober for more than a decade. Over the past few weeks, as the church attorney has become more intrusive and combative, and as no church official has given the alleged victim any word of what’s been learned or what’s transpiring, the victim has gotten increasingly frustrated by the long, secretive process.

The reported victim is in his 40s and attended Providence High School (where he met one of the priests) and Joliet Catholic High School. With one priest, the abuse happened over several years (in a rectory, hotels, on trips out of state). The other priest assaulted the boy once.

The alleged victim is being represented by Miami attorney Adam Horowitz (305 931 2200). The church lawyer conducting the alleged “investigation” is James C. Byrne (815-726-4311, The first person at the diocese the alleged victim contacted was Judy Speckman, who calls herself “the Bishop’s advocate.”

Members of the Joliet Diocesan Abuse Review Committee include William Penn (retired), Ernie Stark (retired), Fr. Gerald Tivy (Pastor of St. Joan of Arc in Lisle, Cynthia A. Power (counselor, Life Enrichment Services of Wheaton), Dr. Alexander J. Spadoni (Professor of Psychiatry at Loyola Medical School), Shirley Robinson (therapist), Cathy J. Nusgart (attorney), Dr. Timothy Brown (Director, Kane County Diagnostic Center), William G. Plahm and Daniel J. Callahan.

No comments: