Monday, August 30, 2010

Victims' Response to Deacon being removed

Victims' Response to Deacon being removed

Statement by Barbara Blaine of Chicago, president of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
Our hearts ache for anyone who saw, suspected or suffered Garcia’s crimes. We hope they will find the courage and strength to come forward, call police, get help, expose wrong doers, protect others and start healing. We especially hope they will seek out independent sources of support and healing, like therapists and self help groups like ours.

Bishops claim they’re screening candidates for ordination more carefully these days, to try and weed out sex offenders. If what Albany church officials say is true – that this cleric molested before he officially became a deacon – it’s clear that such screening, if it’s happening, is far from perfect.

Albany’s bishop is urging those with information about Angel Garcia’s crimes to call church or police officials. We disagree. Child sex abuse is a crime and should be treated as a crime. Reports should go to the impartial, trained experts in law enforcement, who have no incentive to cover up these crimes, rather than to the biased, untrained amateurs in chancery offices who have long ignored and concealed these crimes.

When church officials learn of suspected abuse, sometimes victims are intimidated, witnesses are discredited, whistleblowers are threatened, evidence is destroyed, alibis are fabricated, predators are quietly moved and cover ups are begun. It’s best to give police and prosecutors a chance to build a strong criminal case before alerting church officials who have historically protected themselves, their colleagues and their reputations over protecting kids.

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