|The Oblates of St. Francis De Sales and Sexual Abuse
Patrick J. Wall
April 16, 2009
I wasn’t surprised when I saw this press release about new lawsuits accusing two Oblates of St. Francis de Sales of sexual abuse.
What is surprising and worth noting, however, is that the two accused priests were supervised by their own religious order and FOUR different dioceses in THREE different states. That’s a lot of “moving around” for priests with “unremarkable” records.
It seems as if people were working very hard behind the scenes to ensure that law enforcement never got a whiff of the threat that Dennis Killion and John McDevitt posed to children.
Rev. Dennis Killion, OSFS, who is named in both lawsuits, has now been accused of sexual abuse by TEN boys in Wilmington, Delaware, who attended Salesianum High School. Killion was teaching at Bishop Verot High School in Fr. Myers, Florida, until last year, even though the Oblates knew that boys had come forward to accuse him of abuse.
The other accused, Rev. John McDevitt, OSFS also taught at Sallies in the 1980s with Killion. Although this is the first allegation against McDevitt, his assignment record has significant gaps in the 1980s (mcdevitt-pjw), inbetween assignments at high schools in Delaware and Pennsylvania.
I hope that law enforcement takes a good look at these cases. Both of these men were reassigned across state lines after suspected or alleged abuse. Simply put, I smell a criminal conspiracy.
From SNAP - The Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests - SNAPNetwork.org
Abuse Victims Speak Out About Two New Child Sex Abuse Lawsuits
Serial Molester Cleric and Other Priest Are Accused
Both Men - and Other Known Perpetrators - Shuttled Across Numerous State Lines Once Allegations Arose
Make Predators Names and Information Public in All States, SNAP Urges
Law Enforcement Must Learn Extent, Scope of Alleged Abuse, They Say
Sex abuse victims and their supporters are urging leaders of four Catholic dioceses and a religious order to turn over all documents and information about two clerics who were named today in child sex abuse lawsuits at a prestigious Wilmington DE high school. In a letter, they ask the bishops and leadership to:
– Make public and prominent the names of all known and suspected predators moved across state lines,
– Release all information - including documents and reports about these predators - to law enforcement and civil authorities, and
– Inform communities about credible allegations of abuse and encourage anyone with information to go to law enforcement, not church officials
The victims and their supporters are members of a group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPNetwork.org), the nation’s largest support group for men and women sexually abused in religious organizations.
They sent the letter to the bishops of Wilmington, DE; Venice, FL; Philadelphia and Harrisburg, PA; and the leadership of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales because they believe that both Rev. Dennis Killion, OSFS and Rev. John McDevitt, OSFS were quietly moved across state lines to avoid exposure and may have other victims in numerous states who may be suffering alone in silence and shame.
The two lawsuits, filed today in New Castle County DE, both allege that Dennis Killion sexually abused two boys while the boys were students at Salesianum High School in Wilmington in the 1980s. One of the two lawsuits also states that on a separate occasion, one alleged victim of Dennis Killion was also sexually abused by Rev. John McDevitt. Ten men have now come forward to accuse Killion of sexual abuse. http://www.delawareonline.com/article/20090401/NEWS/90401036. Both accused men are members of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales.
Letters exposed in an earlier case show that Killion was moved to Philadelphia and then to Florida after abuse victims at Salesianum High School came forward http://www.winknews.com/news/local/26363349.html. In addition, after serving at Salesianum, McDevitt’s assignment record also shows gaps of no clerical assignment before he was assigned to the Dioceses of Philadelphia and Harrisburg, PA. McDevitt is now deceased.
“Both of these men were moved across state lines. Both of these men had gaps in their work records. Both of these men have been credibly accused of sexual abuse,” the letter said. “You have a pastoral and legal responsibility to turn over everything you know about these men and other clerics who were quietly moved across state lines once allegations of sexual abuse arose.”
“The parents and communities of Delaware, Florida and Pennsylvania deserve to know that we have some serious questions about how and why these alleged predators left Delaware,” said Joelle Casteix, of Newport Beach, CA, SNAP Southwest Regional Director, a survivor who has worked with numerous victims in Delaware, PA and Florida.
The alleged victims were able to seek accountability in the civil courts because of the Delaware Child Victims Act, a landmark law that allows victims of child sexual abuse to seek justice in the civil court system, no matter when they were abused. The law expires in early July 2009.
The two men are represented by J. Michael Reck of Manly & Stewart Lawyers (714) 742-6593 and Bart Dalton of Dalton and Associates, Wilmington (302) 652-2050.
SNAP offers support group meetings in the Wilmington DE area. For time and location please contact Judy Miller at (302) 234-1519 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Joelle Casteix of Newport Beach, CA SNAP SW Regional Director, (949) 322-7434
Judy Miller, SNAP Wilmington Director, (302) 234-1519
Barb Dorris of St. Louis, MO, SNAP Outreach Director, (314) 503-0003
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