Victims blast Boston parishioners & archbishop in Revere case
Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, SNAPclohessy@aol.com,firstname.lastname@example.org)
We are deeply saddened by the Revere Catholics who feel Boston church officials have erred in letting three staffers resign because they refused to call 911 when they suspected child sex crimes. They are wrong to minimize the harm such refusals cause.
Refusing or delaying calls to law enforcement gives criminals and potential criminals more time to destroy evidence, intimidate victims, threaten whistleblowers, discredit witnesses, fabricate alibis and even flee the country. Such refusals and delays often enable more kids to be hurt.
So they must be harshly punished. Sadly, that’s not what happened here. Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley took the easy way out.
O’Malley must do more than let a priest, principal and teacher resign. He must defrock the cleric and fire the other two.
Nothing will more effectively deter future recklessness and secrecy in child sex cases than to publicly and permanently remove all three of these wrongdoers from any future work with the church in any capacity. The preferences of adult parishioners pale beside the safety needs of children.
If there’s an archdiocese on the planet where refusing to promptly call police about child sex allegations should be most harshly punished, it’s Boston.
Police say the staffer who used the bathroom did nothing criminal. But it just as easily could have turned out very differently.
Child predators are often sick and compulsive individuals who have little control over their actions. Their crimes often can’t be deterred. Supervisors and colleagues, however, have no excuse whatsoever. They merely need to overcome their cowardice and call 911. Catholic staffers will do this if they see that those who refuse lose their careers.
We beg these parishioners to reconsider their views. And we beg O’Malley to act more decisively and harshly toward these offenders and more responsibly toward his flock.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We were founded in 1988 and have 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)