Diocese Admits It Dropped the Ball

By Elysia Rodriguez
June 15, 2010

[with video]

Victims of abuse say sorry is not good enough

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - Members of a group called the "Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests" or SNAP, hand delivered another letter to the Bishop Timothy McDonnell on Monday. It asked the Springfield Catholic Diocese to step up its efforts to prevent sexual abuse by clergy members.

Bill Nash, a member of SNAP, said, “There's so much more that he needs to do and for him to just pray for us, that's not good enough."

Earlier this month, the Diocese admitted it made a mistake in the case of a former priest that was accused of sexually abusing a teen in the 70's.

Al Blanchard was found volunteering for a counseling program in Springfield that aids parents of gay and lesbian children.

Diocesan Spokesperson Mark Dupont said, “We dropped the ball in the case of Al Blanchard, no two ways about it. It's not that the name was not known it was known to Diocesan attorneys that worked on the matter in the 90s it was just simply a matter of the information was not properly put in the right place so that when it came up it was brought to our attention and we could act on it."

SNAP says this is why a database of all clergy members credibly accused of abuse needs to be made public.

SNAP Member Peter Pollard said, “We feel like there's a burden of vigilance that the diocese is not picking up that we're required to carry for them."

Dupont said the Diocese has been compiling names for a while now and they do plan on posting that on their website some because of legal reasons and the Diocese has decided not to post the names of those who have died.


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