Victims Blast Church over 2 Predator Priests
June 19, 2014
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, advocates for clergy sex abuse victims will blast church officials for their apparent inaction about two recently revealed predator priest. They will urge Ft. Wayne church officials to;
--reveal where two recently suspended predator priests are now,
--put them in remote treatment centers so kids area safer, and
--post the names of all credibly accused clerics.
The victims will also beg current and former church members and staff to contact independent sources (like therapists, police, prosecutors or their group) with any suspicions or information about clergy sex crimes and cover ups in the Ft. Wayne-South Bend diocese.
Thursday, June 19, at 10:30 am
Outside of the Fort Wayne Catholic diocese headquarters, 915 S. Clinton St (corner of Washington) in Fort Wayne, IN
Two members of a self help group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org)
Two Fort Wayne area Catholic priests were recently revealed to have credible child abuse allegations against them. They are Fr. Cornelius J. Ryan (of the Holy Cross order) and Fr. James F. Seculoff (of the Ft. Wayne-South Bend diocese cleric).
Fr. Ryan spent roughly twenty years working in Africa, where the alleged abuse took place.
In January, Fr. Seculoff was removed from his position as pastor of St. Patrick's parish (260-744-1450, firstname.lastname@example.org), after an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor was found credible. Since then three more victims of his have come forward.
Church officials have said little or nothing about where the priests are now. SNAP believes parents, parishioners and the public deserve to know this, and that such transparency is mandated by a 2002 US bishops abuse policy. SNAP also says that the clerics belong in “remote, secure, independent treatment centers so that kids will be safer.”
Fr. Ryan worked at St. Therese and Little Flower parishes in South Bend, Our Lady of Fatima House at Notre Dame, and St. Joseph-Hessen Castle in Ft. Wayne.
Fr. Seculoff, a native of Fort Wayne, also worked at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in New Haven and other Indiana parishes. He was also principal at the former Huntington Catholic High School and superintendent of diocesan schools.
“Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades should visit every parish where these clerics have worked, and reach out to anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered crimes or cover ups. He should beg them to call police, prosecutors or our group,” said SNAP's Judy Jones. “It's never too late for people with information or suspicions about child sex abuse to call law enforcement, and it's never too late for people who are hurting to get help.”
“Rhoades can hide behind his desk, his lawyers and his few, terse news releases,” said David Clohessy of SNAP. “Or he can be a real shepherd and aggressively try to protect the vulnerable and heal the wounded in his flock by doing real outreach to those who may be suffering in silence, shame and self blame..”
Roughly 30 U.S. bishops have posted, on their diocesan websites, the names of proven, admitted and credibly accused child molesting clerics. SNAP believes this is the bare minimum bishops should do to protect kids and the group wants Rhoades to do this too.
According to a Boston-based independent research group called BishopAccoutnabilty.org, there are ten publicly accused Ft. Wayne-South Bend diocesan child molesting clerics.
SNAP notes that the actual number of Ft. Wayne-South Bend area pedophile priests is likely much higher because BishopAccountability.org lists only those clerics against whom allegations have been lodge in the public domain inn civil lawsuits, criminal prosecution or news accounts.
“If a priest, brother, bishop or nun is too dangerous to keep on the job in a parish, then he or she is too dangerous to be quietly let go and find jobs in day care centers or schools or libraries,” said Clohessy. “Bishops recruit, educate, ordain, hire, train, transfer and protect pedophiles. So the least they can do, when they suspend pedophiles, is put them on a website so it's easier for parents to find out about the offenders and better protect their own kids.”
Finally, SNAP is begging every current and former Catholic church employee or member to contact police immediately with any knowledge or suspicions they may have about pedophile priests no matter how long ago.
“Kids are safest when secular authorities not church figures are given information about known or suspected child sex crimes,” said Clohessy.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 25 years and have more than 20,000 members. 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)