30 child molesting Catholic clerics are now working in new countries for the church
Statement by Barbara Blaine of Chicago, national president of SNAP
Statement by Barbara Blaine of Chicago, national president of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (312-399-4747)
Late yesterday, a shocking new Associated Press investigation found that 30 child molesting Catholic clerics are now working in new countries for the church, often near kids, despite having been convicted or faced credible child sex allegations in a previous country. (Usually, the predators were quietly shipped from more wealthy nations to the Third World, where kids are even more vulnerable.)
We are here with a simple, but compelling message to church officials, here and in Rome: Stop transferring proven, admitted and credibly accused predator priests overseas where they’ll have access to hundreds more unsuspecting families and vulnerable kids. That’s “Job #1” – ousting, not transferring, dangerous predators. Until that happens, all the other apologies and promises and explanations and excuses and finger-pointing will be meaningless.
Second, to protect children, we in SNAP believe that Cardinal George should push the Pope to set up a public, comprehensive, on-line registry of predator priests across the globe. Parents, neighbors and employers should be able to quickly and easily learn who and where the predators are, and thus keep children away from them.
After hundreds of Chicago victims came forward, and dozens of lawsuits were filed, under pressure, George finally relented and agreed to post the names of many Chicago area predator priests. But it shouldn’t take widespread devastation and controversy and repeat offenses to make this simple step happen.
Later this month, when George travels to the Vatican, we want him to push for these simple, proven prevention measures.
With two months left of George’s tenure as head of America’s bishops, we believe George has the authority, influence and duty to fight for global church reforms to better protect kids.
Finally, we are also asking George to expand the Chicago predator priest list to include three other serial molesters: Fr. Lawrence Murphy (who molested 200 deaf kids in a Wisconsin school which attracted Chicago-area students), Fr. Joseph Lundowski (who grew up in Chicago and returned here after molesting hundreds in Alaska), and Brother Raimond Rose (who is accused of abusing a dozen children and now lives near a Chicago Catholic school).
We know these three aren’t on the Chicago archdiocesan payroll, nor have they likely ever been. We know that two of them are dead (Murphy and Lundowski). We know George has no legal duty – in canon law or secular law - to do anything more about them and their crimes and their victims than he’s doing right now.
But we also know that if the church is to be a safer place and if Catholics’ distrust of their leaders is to be diminished, George and others must do more than the absolute bare minimum that’s legally required.
Let’s turn it around: Let’s ask, “What’s the harm in listing these three predators on the archdiocesan website?” It’s free, it’s easy, it’s not controversial, especially since each has been credibly accused of molesting kids time and time again. Each has a connection to Chicago, each may well have molested kids in Chicago, and one even lives in Chicago now near a parochial school (Rose).
So let’s not split hairs or dodge responsibility or parse distinctions or blame others. Let’s do ALL we can to protect kids, not just all we’re obligated to do under secular law.
Among other US dioceses, predator priests in the AP report worked in Brooklyn (NY), Los Angeles (CA), Boston (MA), Detroit (MI), Sacramento (CA), Pensacola-Tallahassee (FL), and Denver (CO).
Finally, as always, we desperately hope that these horrific new disclosures will prompt others who saw, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes and cover ups to come forward. When victims and witnesses stay silent, nothing changes. But when we find the courage to speak up, at least there’s a chance for healing, justice and, most important, prevention.
We especially call on current and former church employees and members to be helpful whistleblowers, not passive secret-keepers, and to call law enforcement and our support group with any information or suspicions they may have about clergy misdeeds.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 22 years and have more than 9,000 members across the globe. 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)
Contacts: David Clohessy (314 566 9790 cell, 314 645 5915 home), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747), Mark Serrano Contacts: David Clohessy (314 566 9790 cell, 314 645 5915 home), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747), Mark Serrano (703-727-4940), Peter Isely (414-429-7259), Barbara Dorris (314 503 0003)
Barbara Blaine, SNAP President, 312 399 4747, email@example.com
Barbara Dorris, SNAP Outreach Director, 314 862 7688, firstname.lastname@example.org
David Clohessy, SNAP Executive Director, 314 566 9790, email@example.com