Clergy-Abuse Victims Will Protest outside Bishop's Office Today

By Kristen Reed
Orlando Sentinel
January 30, 2007

Members of a support group for victims of clergy abuse will protest outside the Roman Catholic Bishop's office this afternoon in hopes of getting him to take action on an investigation into a Deltona priest.

The Rev. Carlos Bedoya, of St. Clare Catholic Church, is being investigated on allegations he assisted another man who performed a sex act on a 35-year-old man. Bedoya has not been arrested or charged but was removed from his post as pastor in November.

Parishioners were told Bedoya was taking a leave of absence to deal with personal issues. Leaders of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests want Bishop Thomas Wenski to actively help solve the case and apologize to parishioners for misleading them.

The event begins at 1:15 p.m. today outside the diocesan chancery office at 50 E. Robinson St. in Orlando.

SNAP's executive director, David Clohessy, will join half a dozen other group members and at least one local abuse survivor.

"Hopefully, Bishop Wenski will reverse himself and do his civic and moral duty and reach out to victims and witnesses," Clohessy said this morning before boarding a plane. "It's far more effective when the bishop says if you know something call the law."

The SNAP leaders will prod the bishop to explain his "secrecy and deceit" about the alleged sex crime, to discipline any of his staff who helped hide the truth and to personally visit each church where Bedoya worked to launch "vigorous outreach efforts" to find witnesses or victims.

The allegations surrounding Bedoya occurred on Oct. 4 while the 35-year-old had lunch at the priest's home. They involve David Estrada, a 24-year-old from Colombia, who is accused of performing the sex act.


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