|Catholics & Victims to Leaflet outside Church
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests
October 17, 2010
As parishioners leave//enter mass, concerned Catholics and clergy sex abuse victims will hand out fliers listing five priests who worked here. Each is accused of molesting children. The leaflets urge church members to
--- contact Cardinal Francis George and urge him to disclose more about pedophile priests, and
--- ask their relatives and friends if they were sexually violated by any of the five accused child molesting clerics who worked at this parish.
The event happens just days after a new study showed that 256 of the Chicago archdiocese's roughly 400 parishes have, at one time, had an accused pedophile priest working there. It also shows that a disproportionate percentage of parishes in lower income neighborhoods had accused priests working at them.
Sunday, Oct. 17, 11:15 a.m.
Outside St. Aloysius Parish, 2300 W. LeMoyne St. Chicago (773 278 4808)
Three-four individuals who belong to a Catholic lay reform group called VOTF (Voice of the Faithful) and/or a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org)
There will be large printed charts of data and photos of child victims and accused priests.
According to newly-released study, over a 43 year span, five alleged predator priests worked at St. Aloysius (Fr. Robert D. Craig from 1974-77, Fr. Joseph L. Fitzharris from 1967-73, Fr. Jesus P. Garza from 1989-94, Fr. Daniel Mark Holihan from 1965-68), and Fr. Robert J. Lutz from 1951-1961). During many of these years, the parish had a parochial elementary school with hundreds of students.
Still, however, VOTF and SNAP worry that others who attended St. Aloysuis may have been hurt by these clerics and may still be suffering in shame, silence and self-blame. The groups want church officials and members to aggressively seek out anyone who may have been assaulted, urge them to contact police, and offer them help. Parish and archdiocesan staff should, SNAP and VOTF say, use parish bulletins and websites and pulpit announcements to reach out to victims and prod them to come forward, get help, call police, expose wrongdoers, protect children and start healing.
Craig reportedly resigned in 1993, Fitzharris was defrocked in 2009, Garza's whereabouts are unknown, Holihan was defrocked in June 2010 and Lutz is deceased.
Craig was sued in 2006 for allegedly abusing in the late 1980s, Fitzharris was sued in 2007 for allegedly abusing in 1987, Holihan was sued in 2005 for allegedly abusing in 1960 and Lutz was sued in 1989 and 1992 for allegedly abusing in the late 1980s. Garza has evidently never been sued but is included on an archdiocesan list of priests with "substantiated allegations." All five of the clerics reportedly molested youngsters.
Because Chicago archdiocesan officials have been less-than-forthcoming about child molesting clerics, volunteers from VOTF and SNAP spent hours and hours over five years researching and compiling thorough assignment records on nearly100 admitted, proven and accused predator priests. They used two primary sources: the Official Catholic Directory (which is essentially a church-sponsored annual 'yearbook' of priests and a Boston-based research group called BishopAccountability.org.
For years, attorneys who represent African American victims have argued that the archdiocese discriminates against their clients and "dumps" a disproportionate percentage of predators in African American neighborhoods.
Only one other parish had five accused priests: St. Leonard in Berwyn (Romano, Ruge, Sturm, Tanghal, and Theisen). Six parishes have had four accused priests. Three of them are in Chicago (Holy Innocents, St. Christina, and Resurrection Life Center). Three of them are in the suburbs (St. Eulalia in Maywood, St. John Vianney in Northlake, St. Thomas of Villanova in Palatine).
There are only a handful of dioceses in the world whose accused priests' assignment histories have been compiled and analyzed in this way. They include Los Angeles CA, Rockville Centre NY and Davenport IA.
Photos of each priest are available at BishopAccountability.org
Barbara Blaine 312 399 4747 (SNAPblaine@gmail.com), Sandra Stilling-Seehausen 847 456 0016, David Clohessy 314 566 9790 (SNAPclohessy@aol.com) Therese Albrecht, 708-263-3050
Any original material on these pages is copyright © BishopAccountability.org 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.