SNAP Responds to Archdiocese Admission That Cepeda Accused of Abuse

By Kevin Kerrigan
Pacific News Center
April 22, 2010

Guam - The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests [SNAP] has issued a statement in response to the Archdiocese admission today that a Guam Priest was defrocked following an investigation of sexual abuse allegations.

In the statement SNAP's Western Regional Director Joelle Casteix writes:

While it is always a positive step when church officials come clean about abuse, it's also terribly unfortunate and reckless that it took repeated requests by survivors, outside press reports, hidden church documents and media attention to get any transparency about sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Agana.

How many times have church officials told Guam's communities and the media that there was no problem of sexual abuse on island? Why was Ray Cepeda allowed to get a job with Catholic Social Services - with unfettered access to children - when the Archbishop knew there were "serious allegations" of abuse? How many children were put at risk because the Archbishop refused to warn Cepeda's current employers and law enforcement? Why was no one informed about the risk that Nowack poses? And why were they silent about Mannetta - a known perpetrator who spent years on Guam?

At least three predators roamed the island unmonitored, and Guam's children are paying the price. We anticipate that there are more.

We urge Catholics on Guam to start to ask more serious questions about any and all priests who have allegations of abuse, what the Archdiocese knows about it, and what we can do to make sure that men who hurt children and the men who cover up for them are held accountable.

This is not about "agendas." This is about public safety.

We also urge all victims of sexual abuse, no matter their perpetrator, to report to law enforcement to make sure that what happened to them never happens to another child.

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