SNAP - Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests [Chicago IL]
February 2, 2024
A Catholic priest from the Order of Discalced Carmelites was convicted of child sexual abuse on February 16, 2022, yet the 2015 accusations against him and the conviction are only now coming to the public’s attention. SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, wonders why two Northern California dioceses, as well as the priest’s religious order, did not give this important information to the faithful earlier?
On Feb. 16, 2022, Fr. Mark Kristy pleaded no contest to one felony count of committing lewd or lascivious acts on a girl younger than 14. The abuse was apparently reported to both the Diocese of Sacramento and the Carmelites in 2015. The Cathedral of St. Eugene in Santa Rosa issued a vague warning about the priest September of 2022, according to the Sacramento Bee.
In 2002, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) promised “transparency and openness” after the revelations of wide-spread child sexual abuse and its cover-up in the Archdiocese of Boston. To us, this is NOT what was promised in the Dallas Charter, when the 2015 accusations against Fr. Kristy and his 2022 conviction are just now becoming public knowledge! We cannot help but wonder how many other children may have been abused by this man, and how many of them are still suffering alone because of Catholic officials’ silence?
According to the Diocese of Sacramento, the abuse occurred from 2001-2004, and was reported to it in 2015. Fr. Kristy was never assigned to a parish in the Diocese, but abused the little girl while visiting its territory, we suspect to say Latin masses in Diocesan churches. While it is unclear exactly when Fr. Kristy was added to the Sacramento abuser list, we know his name was not there in November, and there does not appear to have been any announcement of his addition.
Fr. Kristy also appears on the Diocese of Santa Rosa’s list. This entry, which was included only last month, does not mention a conviction, although it does say that the abuse was reported to the Carmelites in 2015. There does not appear to have been any announcement of the cleric’s addition to this list either.
The Carmelites have never published a list of abusers. As far as we can tell, there is no mention of the accusation against Fr. Kristy, or his conviction, on the Carmelite website.
Officials at the Cathedral of St. Eugene in Santa Rosa posted a message on the parish’s website telling parishioners that Fr. Kristy was living within the Diocese of Santa Rosa without the Diocese’s permission or approval, and warning them not to participate in any priestly activities which he might offer. However, there was no mention of abuse accusations or of Fr. Kristy’s conviction.
Fr. Kristy was ordained in 1985. He reportedly trained as a psychotherapist after his ordination. According to the Official Catholic Directory (OCD), the clergyman went to seminary at the Carmelite House of Studies in Berkeley from 1982-1984 (Diocese of Oakland.) He was apparently ordained in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. He worked at St. Margaret and Santa Cruz in Tucson from 1986-1993 (Diocese of Tucson). Then, he was assigned to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles from 1994-1996, where he worked at St. Therese. From 1998-2015, Fr. Kristy was living at the Carmelite House of Prayer in Oakville, in the Diocese of Santa Rosa, and was a Latin mass celebrant. He is not listed in the OCD after 2015.
The Catholic Church keeps assuring parishioners and the public that they have changed, and regularly assert that what happened in the “bad old days” before the Dallas Charter is not happening today. However, cases like this give the lie to those representations.
We hope that anyone who may have experienced, witnessed, or suspected abuse by Fr. Kristy to tell law enforcement what they know immediately. There is no need for victims to suffer alone and in silence. There are people who will believe you and support you.
CONTACT: Dorothy Small, SNAP Sacramento Area Leader, (firstname.lastname@example.org, 530-908-3676 ), Joey Piscitelli, SNAP Northwest Leader (email@example.com, 925-262-3699), Dan McNevin, Treasurer, SNAP Board of Directors (firstname.lastname@example.org, 415-341-6417), Melanie Sakoda, SNAP Survivor Support Coordinator (email@example.com, 925-708-6175), Mike McDonnell, SNAP Executive Director (firstname.lastname@example.org, 267-261-0578), Shaun Dougherty, President, SNAP Board of Directors (email@example.com, 814- 341-8386)
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for more than 35 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org.)