Clergy Abuse Victims Urged to Talk

Associated Press, carried in Billings Gazette
June 18, 2004

CHEYENNE (AP) - Survivors of clergy abuse urged church officials to be more proactive in safeguarding children, and asked that any other victims step forward.

Three members of the Chicago-based Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, held a news conference outside the Diocese of Cheyenne headquarters to say that problems with abuse aren't limited to the Roman Catholic Church.

"SNAP is not just about Catholic priests. Sexual abuse is a problem with all denominations, although it's had a particular focus on the Catholic Church over the past years," said Peter Isely, of Milwaukee, Wis., on Tuesday.

The trio said SNAP is troubled about the case of Father Anthony Jablonowski, who was sentenced in April to up to seven years in prison after pleading no contest to taking indecent liberties with a minor in Guernsey in the 1980s.

They urged Bishop David Ricken of Cheyenne to visit locations where Jablonowski had been assigned and apologize to parishioners.

Ricken had done just that at a public healing service in Guernsey 10 days after Jablonowski was sentenced. The bishop also condemned the priest's actions, which included secret naked rituals in the church's basement.

Paula Glover, spokeswoman for the diocese, said information about the Guernsey incident was published in the Wyoming Catholic Register, which is circulated to church members statewide. The publication also includes a form for people to report misconduct, she said.

Prosecutors have praised church officials for their quick response to allegations surrounding Jablonowski.


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