Diocese Urged to Update Priest Sex-Abuse Data
By David Yonke
April 4, 2012
|Barbara Blaine of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests spearheaded a protest outside the Toledo Diocese's office.
Barbara Blaine of SNAP led a small protest outside the Toledo Catholic Diocese offices on Tuesday asking Bishop Leonard Blair to be more diligent in keeping the public informed about priests who abuse minors.
The diocese's online "case status" on priest abusers is dated December, 2010, and Ms. Blaine said the list should be updated once a year "at a minimum."
The founder and president of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, Ms. Blaine stood on the sidewalk in front of the diocese's downtown Spielbusch Avenue offices flanked by SNAP supporters Tom and Mary Jean McCarty, who held signs with childhood photos of abuse victims and SNAP's web address, snapnetwork.org.
An attorney and Toledo native now living in Chicago, Ms. Blaine also called on the diocese to warn members of Blessed John XXIII Parish in Perrysburg that Denny Gray, a defrocked Toledo priest, reportedly is joining the parish. Gray was sued by at least 11 boys claiming he sexually abused them before he left the priesthood in 1987. The diocese sent a letter to one of Gray's victims stating that the ex-priest "has admitted to us he is guilty of child abuse."
"We don't object to Gray belonging to a parish, but we believe Toledo Catholic officials have a moral duty to warn parishioners and the public about him," Ms. Blaine said.
She urged Bishop Blair to use the diocese's Web site, toledodiocese.org, as well as parish bulletins and pulpit announcements, to inform Blessed John parishioners about Gray's past.
Ms. Blaine also called on Sister Nancy Mathias, a Toledo Ursuline nun who was recently elected president of the National Conference of Vicars for Religious, to lead the way in making religious order clergy more accountable on matters of sexual abuse. Diocesan priests answer directly to a bishop, but religious orders, such as the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales and the Jesuits, have their own hierarchies.
"Abuse and cover-up, we in SNAP believe, are even more rampant in religious orders than in dioceses," Ms. Blaine said. "Religious-order priests and nuns are much less likely to be caught, reported, suspended, or ousted when they molest kids. So we want Sister Mathias to lobby her peers and insist that bishops disclose the child-molesting religious-order clerics in their orders and more aggressively seek out and help their victims."
Sally Oberski, director of communications for the Toledo diocese, said in response to SNAP's protest that "we continue to pray for all victims of abuse and encourage anyone who has an allegation of abuse by a diocesan employee to contact Frank DiLallo, our diocesan case manager, at 419-244-6711, ext. 632."