DavidClohessy.com [St. Louis MO]
May 26, 2023
New pedophile priests are exposed
All are ‘credibly accused’ elsewhere
But 5 are not on Rockford’s ‘accused’ list
One was in the diocese for nine years & was sued
Group urges whistleblowers & victims to ‘keep coming forward’
Holding signs and childhood photos, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will
- disclose the names of five proven, admitted or credibly accused abusive clerics who were in the Rockford area but are NOT on the official Rockford diocese ‘accused’ list, and
- blast local Catholic officials for their “continued secrecy and deceit.”
They will also urge
- Rockford’s bishop to post the five names on his website as soon as possible, and
- anyone who “saw, suspected or suffered” clergy sex crimes to “keep coming forward to police and prosecutors, not to church figures.”
Monday, May 29 at 2:30 p.m.
On the sidewalk outside the Cathedral of St. Peter, 1243 N. Church St. in Rockford, IL
Two-three adults who were abused as kids by clerics and who belong to a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org), including a Missouri man who is the organization’s former national director
SNAP has discovered five clerics who are/were in the Rockford Diocese, have been deemed ‘credibly accused’ child molesters by Catholic officials elsewhere, but are NOT on Rockford’s ‘credibly accused list.
Abuse allegations against each of them were substantiated by other Catholic entities and their names are on other official Catholic websites as ‘credibly accused ‘molesters.
The group believes local church officials are acting ‘recklessly selfishly and deceitfully.’
Four of the five are cited in the recent Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul’s report: Fr. Norman J. Maday, Fr. Robert Charles Becker and Fr. Robert J. Erpenbeck and Fr. John J. Powell.
The fifth is Fr. Philip DeRea, who was in the Rockford Diocese for almost a decade and was widely known for his role as chaplain of the Indy Racing League.
SNAP questions how many other abusive priests, nuns, seminarians, brothers, bishops or lay church employees in the Rockford area remain ‘under the radar.’
SNAP will hand out a two-page fact sheet detailing the men and the credible allegations against them at the news conference.
Two years ago, SNAP publicly prodded Rockford’s bishop to add DeRea and four names of OTHER proven, admitted or credibly accused child molesting clerics to his predators list (Fr. Alfredo Pedraza-Arias, Fr. Al F. Harte, Fr. Edwin Banach and Fr. Lawrence “Bud” M. Spellen. All but DeRea have since been added.)
The AG report expressed concerns about ‘revisions’ to a abuse church policy in 2016 that ‘gave a substantial role to the diocese’s general counsel, who was tasked. . .(with) whether to investigate an allegation of child sex abuse and, if so, the investigation’s scope (p. 475) And Raoul notes ‘the overarching role the diocese’s general counsel’ in abuse cases (p. 479).
SNAP says that church lawyers should have a smaller role, not a greater one, in child sex abuse reports.
Regarding the diocese’s “cumbersome and difficult” process for reporting abuse, the AG wrote “There is no justification for the approach taken by the Diocese of Rockford on this issue. (p. 639)
Finally, SNAP is begging anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered crimes or cover-ups in Illinois to contact independent sources of help like therapists, police, prosecutors or support groups – not church officials.
Over the past several years, SNAP held similar events in two other Illinois dioceses (Springfield and Belleville) calling on them to add more alleged predators to their diocesan ‘credibly accused’ list. In the past, those two bishops did quietly add some of the names SNAP had brought forward.
The Rockford diocese covers Kane, McHenry, Winnebago, Boone, Carroll, DeKalb, JoDaviess, Lee, Ogle, Stephenson and Whiteside counties.