Carmelites Say Alleged Molester in Supervised Setting

By Don Grigas
Suburban Life
August 23 2010

Staff photo by Sarah Minor Provincial John Welch (left) listens to questions from Mike Fenske (right) and other vicitms' rights activists about allegations that Father Kevin Michael McBrien, who belongs to Darien-based Carmelite religious order molested a boy in the 1970s.

Darien — Advocates for victims of sexual abuse at the hands of priests demonstrated briefly in Darien Monday afternoon in front of the Carmelite Regional Office hopes of finding out the status of an ongoing investigation of a former pastor of St. Matthew’s Church in Glendale Heights.

A handful men and women representing Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) gathered in front of the Carmelite regional office and presented a letter to Fr. Jack Welch, provincial for the Carmelites.

The letter, in part, asked the order to disclose the whereabouts of Fr. Kevin Michael McBrien, and to provide an update into allegations McBrien molested a boy in Joliet in the 1970s.

Those allegations were made in May, 2010, more than 30 years after the alleged molestation took place.

SNAP officials say the alleged victim, now in his 40s and living on the East Coast, has not filed a civil lawsuit over the allegations.

The alleged victim was not identified.

“The statute of limitations prevents Fr. McBrien from being prosecuted now, but we want to know what is going on in order to protect children in the future,” said Therese Albrecht, spokesman for the Chicago branch of SNAP.

“The victim’s life is in ruins,” Albrecht said.

Fr. Welch informed the protesters McBrien was removed from active ministry immediately after Carmelites were notified of the allegations in late May.

“He is now in a supervised setting and has no contact with children,” Welch said. “No kids are at risk.”

Welch said the investigation by Carmelites has been delayed due to “a communication issue.”

Welch said the order contacted the alleged victim’s attorney immediately after McBrien was removed from his duties, but there has been no further contact until Monday.

“The time frame of this investigation depends on our ability to access the person making the complaint. Until this morning, when an outreach person contacted (the alleged victim), we had not spoken to him,” Welch said.

Welch said the order attempted to provide counseling and outreach services several month ago, but were rebuffed.

“We offered counseling and reached out to the victim, but it was turned down. We were unaware he (the alleged victim) was waiting to hear from us because we were dealing only with the attorney,” Welch said.

Albrecht said SNAP and the alleged victim grew concerned when they did not hear of any progress in the investigation since May, prompting the visit to the Carmelite regional office.



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