Group Protests Diocese Of Steubenville For Handling Of Joel Wright Case
By Maureen Kocot
February 08, 2016
STEUBENVILLE, Ohio - The group Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, is calling on the Steubenville Catholic Diocese to go further to protect children after a seminary student was arrested by federal agents.
The Department of Homeland Security says 23-year-old Joel Wright tried to travel to Tijuana, Mexico to purchase three little girls, ages 1, 2, and 3, for sex.
Wright was sponsored by the Steubenville Diocese and a first year seminary student at the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus.
The Diocese says Wright passed a stringent criminal background check, but SNAP wants to know why the diocese was unaware of a police report taken by Steubenville police that could have raised a red flag.
The report, obtained by 10TV, documents a Craigslist ad posted by a Joel Wright offering to pay parents $150 to babysit their children.
"Anyone with any common sense…that would be a big red flag,” SNAP member Judy Jones said.
But could anyone have predicted the alleged mindset of Joel Wright?
TIMELINE: Horrifying Details Uncovered In Seminary Student’s Quest For Child Sex (WARNING: Explicit content)
A federal criminal complaint reveals graphic and disturbing emails exchanged between Wright and an undercover agent detailing his desire to buy young girls and rape them.
Jones says she can't comprehend how Wright may have slipped through the cracks.
"Why didn't he get weeded out? They need to be more on alert. They need to be watching these guys aggressively,” Jones said.
The complaint also reveals Wright bragged to a federal informant he had molested a child a year earlier.
The time frame coincides with when Wright was living in Steubenville and attending Franciscan University.
The Steubenville Diocese has said Wright was never affiliated with a parish, but SNAP is asking the diocese to alert parishioners in case any children ever had any reason to come into contact with Wright.
Wright had passed an Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, or BCI, background check, as well as an FBI check according to the diocese. Those searches would reveal only criminal charges and would not include police reports.
SNAP says it plans to bring its message to the Pontifical College Josephinum Tuesday.