|Victims' Advocates Urge Sensitivity
By Scott Waldman
Albany Times Union
October 30, 2009
An advocacy group for those abused by priests is asking people to be sensitive about the victims who come forward.
Mark Lyman, Capital Region director of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, said supporters of the Rev. Salvatore Rodino, a Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany priest accused of sexual abuse, should not malign the person who made the allegations.
Rodino was suspended Saturday as pastor of St. Jude the Apostle Church in Wynantskill after the diocese found "reasonable grounds" to believe he had sexual contact with a male teenager 27 years ago while at Blessed Sacrament Church in Albany. As they filed into Sunday Mass, some parishioners of the church Rodino has led since 2005 said his accuser was coming forward only to collect settlement money.
Lyman said Thursday that his group has written a 21-point booklet that offers guidance on the "appropriate and sensitive" way to support accused priests without attacking those who report alleged sex crimes. He said his group, known as SNAP, hopes the diocese will distribute the booklet at all parishes in its 14-county area.
"Some people can and will believe that an accused priest is innocent," Lyman said. "That's fine. But it's not fine when they act on those beliefs in ways that hinder criminal probes, intimidate vulnerable kids, silence already wounded adults, frighten potential witnesses and scare possible whistle-blowers."
Diocesan spokesman Ken Goldfarb said he had not seen the pamphlet. He said that, as of Thursday, no request to distribute the pamphlet had been received by Hubbard or other diocesan officials.
Also Thursday, the address for a Web site -- RodinosVictims.com -- was disseminated to members of the media. The site bills itself as "a forum for those who have been silenced" and encourages victims and supporters to share their thoughts.
Rodino, a 1969 graduate of La Salle Institute of North Greenbush, also served at St. Bonaventure in Speigletown, St. Pius X in Loudonville and St. Margaret Mary's in Albany. He worked at a number of schools in the area, including La Salle, Bishop Maginn High School in Albany and St. Patrick's Academy of Catskill.
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