Suspend Predator Priest Immediately, Sex Abuse Victims Say
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests
April 25, 2008
Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 862 7688 home, 314 503 0003 cell)
We call on Indianapolis' archbishop to immediately remove Fr. Jonathan Stewart from his post and take steps to reach out to anyone else he may have harmed.
Yesterday, an unbiased jury has heard the evidence and determined that Stewart is a child molester. As Pope John Paul II said, there is no place in ministry for anyone who would harm the young.
We believe that Stewart should have been suspended from ministry, not just shifted to another job, when this allegation was made or when this lawsuit was filed. To do anything less is to put kids in harm's way and violate the US bishops national sex abuse policy.
But certainly now, after Stewart's guilt has been clearly established, he should not be working for the archdiocese in any capacity.
For decades, bishops have put proven, admitted and credibly accused abusive priests in allegedly "restrictive ministry." That's wrong. It doesn't work. No one, least of all a fellow cleric, can effectively supervise and monitor a child molester 24/7. That's why such predators are jailed.
Archbishop Buechlein should oust Fr. Stewart now and aggressively seek out others who may have seen, suspected or suffered his crimes, and urge them to call the police.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the nation's oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We've been around for 17 years and have more than 8,000 members across the country. 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)
Contact David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, 314-645-5915 home), Peter Isely (414-429-7259) Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688), Mary Grant (626-419-2930), Mark Serrano (703-727-4940)
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