|List of Credibly Accused Priests to Be Published
By Kim Lucey
June 15, 2010
It's something sexual abuse survivors have been advocating for a long time, a published list of every priest in the Pioneer Valley credibly accused of abuse. Monday, an announcement from the Springfield Diocese saying that list will happen, and as soon as next week.
But, it may not be everything snap members had hoped it would be.
The Catholic church has been under fire in recent weeks., most note ably for the actions of a former priest.
Peter Pollard, SNAP, says: "We believe the diocese did not include Albert Blanchard in the John Jay report, and it raises the question again of whether files have been destroyed."
SNAP members say Albert Blanchard was a priest at Saint John the Evangelist in Agawam more than 30 years ago when he was accused of having a sexual relationship with a teenage girl.
Blanchard reached an out of court settlement with the woman years later, after he had left the priesthood to get married.
The Springfield Roman Catholic Diocese has a policy prohibiting those credibly accused of sexual abuse from working with children, but just last year Blanchard was found volunteering at a support group at Sacred Heart in West Springfield.
Mark Dupont, Springfield Roman Catholic Diocese Spokesperson, says: "We dropped the ball in the case of Albert Blanchard, no two ways about it, we're looking into why that occurred. However, to suggest in any manner that this has to do with some untold destroying of records is simply unfounded, and quite frankly, irresponsible."
Members of SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, says the situation could have been prevented.
Peter Pollard, SNAP, says: "If that list had been public, and that survivor had realized that Blanchard was not on that list, she would have come forward."
The list goes up next week on the Springfield Diocese's website. But, Albert Blanchard's name may not be on it.
Mark Dupont, Springfield Catholic Diocese Spokesperson, says: "This occurred during a different standard, when this was met. So our attorney's are looking at what we can and cant publish."
The Diocese says they've been working on this list for some time, and anticipate it will include more than half a dozen names, all of which had been published before. It will also include the status of their hearings.
SNAP members want more, and today delivered a list of requests to Bishop Timothy McDonnell.
Bill Nash, SNAP, says: "There's so much more that he needs to do. And for him to just pray for us, that's not enough."
One note able thing on that list - a request to have a sit down meeting between SNAP members and the bishop.
The diocese spokesperson did not rule that out, but said it would only happen if SNAP did not try and turn the meeting into a media event.
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