BishopAccountability.org

News: Abuse Victims to Bishop: 'Stop the Lynch Mob'

Worthy Adversary
January 5, 2012

http://theworthyadversary.com/464-news-abuse-victims-to-bishop-%E2%80%98stop-the-lynch-mob%E2%80%99

NEWS: Abuse victims to bishop: 'Stop the lynch mob'



Parishioners are confronting, intimidating family members of potential abuse victim



Hurt and confused Catholics are giving predators a "free pass," SNAP says



You must help create a victim-safe environment in your churches, they demand

In response to what they are calling a "modern day lynch mob," victims of sexual abuse are begging the San Diego bishops to educate parishioners on how respond appropriately when priests are accused of molesting kids.

Today, leaders of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPNnetwork.org), are asking San Diego Bishop Robert Brom and the newly appointed co-adjudicator Bishop Cirilo Flores (who will assume Brom's position when Brom retires next year) to reach out to parishioners at St. Joseph Catholic Church in downtown, some of whom have confronted and threatened family members of a young woman who accused a priest of sexual abuse.

The priest, Fr. Jose Davila, also know as "Fr. Alexis," has admitted "something taking place" with the 20-year-old woman and has turned himself in to police. http://www.10news.com/news/30138281/detail.html

In response to the news, some members of the parish confronted the brother of the victim, after the victim's mother did not show up for her usual prayer group. In press reports, the parishioners claim that they were going to "demand the truth" from the mother for "damaging the priest's reputation."

Leaders of SNAP were horrified to learn of the news. "It is terribly difficult for any victim of abuse to come forward," said Joelle Casteix, SNAP Western Regional Director. "But when parishioners begin to form mobs and intimidate family members, ALL victims of sexual abuse, no matter the perpetrator, will be scared and shamed into silence. By hurting this woman and her family, parishioners are giving ALL predators a free pass."

SNAP is also sending Brom the link to an online brochure, "What To Do If Your Priest Is Accused of Abuse," that educates Catholics about what the group calls "safe, helpful and compassionate ways that people can support their priest."

"Your parishioners are suffering. Because they are hurt and confused, they are lashing out As best we can tell, not a single bishop on the planet has taught his flock about the compassionate and helpful ways to act when a priest is accused of molesting a child," SNAP's letter says. "We hope you'll be the first."

The letter also asks that the bishops personally visit the parish and "make a public announcement that the harassment and intimidation of victims, witnesses and whistleblowers will not be tolerated in the Diocese of San Diego."

A copy of the letter is below. The brochure can be accessed at http://www.snapnetwork.org/links_homepage/when_priest_accused.htm

Contact:

Joelle Casteix of Newport Beach, CA, SNAP Western Regional Director jcasteix@gmail.com 949-322-7434

Barb Dorris of St. Louis, SNAP Outreach Director SNAPdorris@gmail.com 314-503-0003

David Clohessy of St. Louis, SNAP National Director SNAPclohessy@aol.com 314-566-9790

*************************

SNAP The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests


P.O. Box 6416


Chicago, IL 60680


SNAPNetwork.org


January 5, 2011

Most Reverend Robert Brom


Most Reverend Cirilo Flores, co-adjudicator


Diocese of San Diego


3888 Paducah Drive


San Diego, CA 92117


858-490-8272 fax


Dear Bishop Brom and Bishop Flores,

We are victims of sexual abuse who are members of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPNetwork.org), the nation's largest support group for men and women who were sexually abused in religious or institutional settings. We are writing you today to alert you a serious problem at St. Joseph's in downtown San Diego that requires your immediate attention.

As you may know, Fr. Jose Davila has admitted to potential wrongdoing with a 20-year-old parishioner and has turned himself into the police. But what is even more disturbing is that a few of the parishioners at the parish have begun to confront and harass the victim's family members, calling the victim names, intimidating the family members and scaring them into silence.

This is dangerous behavior. Not only are they causing a great amount of personal pain to an already hurt victim and her family, but they are also scaring ALL victims of sexual abuse into silence, no matter the perpetrator. No victim of abuse will ever feel safe coming forward to report if they know they will be greeted by a lynch mob.

Your parishioners are suffering. Because they are hurt and confused, they are lashing out. Instead of engaging in stall tactics and telling Catholics half-truths, now is the time to come clean, support victims and allow everyone to heal. Keeping your flock in the dark and allowing them to attack victims helps no one. Entire communities are destroyed when someone is sexually abused by a person in a position of trust. Now is the time for you to do the right thing.

If you genuinely want to prevent abuse and help victims, you should do all you can to create a more "victim-friendly" environment, which encourages - not discourages the reporting of child sex crimes.

Despite hundreds of self-serving policies, programs, procedures and panels (and other public relations gestures) as best we can tell, not a single bishop on the planet has made an effort to teach his flock about the compassionate and helpful ways to act when a priest is accused of molesting a child. We hope you'll be the first.

In light of this, we ask the following:

- Distribute the online brochure "What To Do When Your Priest is Accused of Abuse" to every parish in the diocese, including the lay leadership of St. Joseph,

- Personally visit the parish and reach out to potential victims and hurting Catholics, and

- Make a public announcement that the harassment and intimidation of victims, witnesses and whistleblowers will not be tolerated in the Diocese of San Diego.

We look forward to your immediate response and action in this matter. The online brochure may be found at http://www.snapnetwork.org/links_homepage/when_priest_accused.htm and is attached at the bottom of this message.



Sincerely,

Joelle Casteix of Newport Beach, CA, SNAP Western Regional Director SNAPCasteix@gmail.com 949-322-7434

Barb Dorris of St. Louis, SNAP Outreach Director SNAPdorris@gmail.com 314-503-0003




.


Any original material on these pages is copyright BishopAccountability.org 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.