|Johnson Calls for Transparency Concerning Church Victims
By Mark Leland
September 29, 2010
DE PERE - Members of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, gathered to urge U.S. Republican Senate candidate Ron Johnson to help in their fight for full disclosure -names, dates, and victims - concerning 51 alleged pedophile priests who served over the years in Northeast Wisconsin.
"I want it all released to the public so parents will know who these individuals are so parents can take steps to protect children," said Peter Isely, Midwest Director of SNAP.
SNAP has thrust Johnson into its effort since discovering he testified before a state senate committee in January on behalf of the Green Bay Diocese. He spoke out against the wording of a bill that could open up schools, churches and businesses to potential lawsuits from victims of pedophile priests.
"I believe it's a valid question to ask whether the employer of a perpetrator should also be severely damaged possibly destroyed in our legitimate desire for justice," said Johnson back in January in front of a State Senate Committee hearing.
Johnson says he has always supported severe and swift criminal punishment for those convicted of sexual assault crimes against children. In response to SNAP's current request, Johnson released this statement.
"I call upon the Green Bay Diocese to provide the utmost transparency in order to answer any lingering questions or doubt among victims of child abuse and those who seek to prevent child abuse in the future," according to the Johnson statement.
"We've been around this talk of transparency a million time, it never goes anywhere it's just empty words," said Isely.
Isely released new documents it obtained concerning the victims of convicted pedophile Father John Feeney. He hopes when learning more Johnson and his opponent Democrat Russ Feingold would use their clout to help SNAP.
Officials with the Diocese say they have cooperated with police, stating it's "policies include mandatory reporting of all credible allegations of abuse to local law enforcement authorities this has ensured that due process within our legal system takes place."
SNAP's call for information is nothing new. But this time their hoping it could get more attention in the midst of a political campaign.
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