May 05, 2014
Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314-503-0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)
A top Vatican official is deliberately misleading Catholic citizens and a United Nations panel about current clergy sex crimes and cover ups.
Archbishop Silvano Tomasi claims there has been a decline in the number of cases of clergy sexual violence. But there is no such evidence. Children always have, and likely always will, only be able to report their trauma decades later. So this notion – that the rate of abuse is declining – is at best unknowable and at worst a self-serving spin.
Tomasi also says “The damage has been done.” This contention is part of a long, carefully-crafted church public relations effort to pretend that this crisis is over and that only “clean up” remains. That is as wrong as wrong can be.
We strongly suspect that, across the globe, hundreds or thousands of child molesting clerics are still raping, sodomizing and assaulting boys and girls today.
Consider the case of Fr. Joseph Jiang of St. Louis, Missouri. In 2012, he was arrested for molesting a girl. He escaped prosecution because of a legal technicality. But a civil lawsuit contends that he admitted his guilt to the girl’s parents and left them a $20,000 check. That suit also says that Jiang’s boss, Archbishop Robert Carlson, asked the parents to turn the check over to him. Instead, they gave it to police.
Instead of putting Jiang in a remote treatment center, Carlson let him live just six minutes away from his old parish. And in April of this year, Jiang was arrested again, this time for molesting a boy.
Clerics continue to assault kids and bishops continue with their cover ups.
Tomasi makes two other absurd claims.
He says “the Holy See has no jurisdiction … over every member of the Catholic Church.” No one, of course, disputes this. The Vatican does, however, have power over Catholic employees across the globe, as evidenced by the fact that it defrocks controversial theologians and predator priests. Top church officials, however, refuse to use their power to punish complicit bishops.
Finally, he argues that the Catholic hierarchy is “doing its own house cleaning.” Even if this were true, and it’s not, it’s wrong. No institution should be allowed to police itself, especially not an ancient, rigid, secretive, all-male monarchy with a horrific and enduring practice of enabling sexual violence on a massive scale.
(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 25 years and have more than 15,000 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)