NJ--New bishop should put cleric in treatment center

By David Clohessy
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests
March 8, 2016

A new bishop has been picked to head the Metuchen diocese (where there are at least 13 publicly accused predator priests). We are not optimistic about his handling of child sex abuse and cover up cases.

Msgr. James Checchio has been in Rome for at least a decade. Sadly, the mindset of most Catholic officials in Rome, when it comes to the safety of children, is distressing.

We have seen no evidence that Checchio has done or said anything noteworthy to protect kids and deter cover ups by exposing those who commit or conceal heinous crimes against children.

The last two heads of the seminary which Checchio, now-Cardinals Edwin O'Brien and Timothy Dolan, have been anything but open and compassionate about this continuing crisis.

So we are disappointed in Checchio’s promotion.

Roughly 30 US bishops have posted predator priests’ names on their websites. Sadly, Metuchen is not one of them. We hope this will be Checchio’s first move in Metuchen.

His second move, we hope, will be to put a New Jersey Catholic cleric who was just charged with having and watching child porn into a treatment center.

Br. John B. Spalding is accused of endangering the welfare of a child and possession and viewing of pornographic material, primarily child pornography. He’ll soon return to Rhode Island, where he’s from. That’s wrong. His Catholic supervisors should insist he live far away in a professionally run facility so kids will be safer. Why let him live among unsuspecting families and vulnerable children?

No matter what church officials do or don’t do, we hope that anyone who has knowledge or suspicions about Br. Spalding or other abusive clerics will summon the strength to call police and prosecutors so that the innocent can be protected and the wounded can be healed and more clergy sex crimes and cover ups can be stopped 

We hope that Checchio will be a better advocate for clergy sex abuse victims than his predecessor was. Though we are not confident, we hope that he will take simple, proven steps to protect kids from pedophile priests. Until he does, we hope everyone with information or suspicions about child molesting clerics or their corrupt colleagues will call the independent professionals in law enforcement, not the biased and often self-serving bureaucrats in church offices.



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