WA--Yakima bishop refuses to list predators; Victims respond
By David Clohessy
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests
April 26, 2016
Yakima Catholic officials are now refusing to follow the lead of 30 other US bishop by posting names of predator priests on a church website this month. Shame on them for putting their comfort above the healing of victims and the safety of kids.
Weeks ago, Bishop Joseph Tyson’s staff suggested he might post these names. We are deeply disappointed.
Tyson’s public relations staffer, Msgr. Robert Siler, said “the diocese does not see a pressing need (to post the names) at this present time.”
How about suicide prevention? How about easing the pain of victims who were assaulted as kids by these priests and are still mired in shame, silence and self-blame?
Unacknowledged wounds are tough and slow to heal. Many victims feel better when their perpetrators are “outed.” Many feel even better when bishops – who recruited, educated, ordained, and shielded these offenders – admit they are predators and post their names.
And, more important, kids are safer when predators are “outed.”
But apparently none of this means anything to Tyson or Siler. There’s no “pressing need” to break from the hurtful, secretive patterns that have led to more than 6,400 priests assaulting more than 100,000 kids. There’s apparently no chance, in their minds, that even a single proven, admitted or credibly accused child molesting Yakima cleric will ever rape a child again, they must believe.
Again, shame on these self-serving Catholic bureaucrats.
Listing these names is long overdue. It’s the quickest, easiest way to warn parents, police, prosecutors, parishioners and the public about predator priests. It’s the very least bishops should do, since they recruited, educated, ordained, hired, trained, transferred and shielded these predators for years, often helping them evade prosecution by keeping their crimes secret until the statute of limitations expired.
In January, the Seattle Catholic archdiocese released a list of 77 child molesting clerics who worked there.
That same month, the Yakima Republic reported that Yakima church officials may do the same thing in March.
Recently, the Altoona bishop promised to post predators’ names.
North Dakota bishops, however, recently refused to do this.
But for the safety of kids and the healing of victims, every Catholic bishop should make these disclosures.
Only 13 Yakima predators have been exposed, compared with 77 in Seattle, 41 in Spokane and 50 in Montana and 11 in Idaho (according to the independent website BishopAccountability.org). It’s sad that families just across the border from North Dakota are arguably safer from predator priests than families that are in North Dakota.
Bishop Tyson is in charge of his diocese, not his hand-picked abuse panel. So we hope he will find the courage to do what he knows is right: protecting the vulnerable, healing the wounded and exposing the truth by posting predators’ names on parish and diocesan websites.
In a stunning cop-out, Yakima attorney Russell Mazzola, head of the Yakima church abuse panel, says that the names of accused local child molesting clerics have already appeared in the Yakima Herald-Republic.
So what? The fact that other organization has, over years, listed Yakima predator priests doesn’t absolve Yakima church officials of their duty to do likewise. Listing these sex offenders in two places dramatically increases the chances that parents, police, prosecutors, relatives, neighbors and potential employers will learn of their horrific crimes and safeguard kids from them.
Finally, no matter what church officials do or don’t do, we hope every single person who saw, suspected or suffered crimes by or cover ups by Catholic officials will find the strength to speak up, expose wrongdoers and protect kids. And we urge them to call secular authorities like police, prosecutors or independent sources of help like therapists and support groups, not church officials. And we call on legislators to repeal predator-friendly statutes of limitations, so victims of childhood violence can use the open, time-tested US justice system to expose predators and safeguard youngsters, again, no matter what church officials do or don’t do.