MN--Victims applaud MN pedophile priest verdict

By David Clohessy
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests
November 4, 2015

Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those abused by Priests (314 566

We applaud a Minnesota jury for awarding $8.1 million to a victim of a predator priest. This verdict will protect kids and deter cover ups of child sex crimes.

Victims often stay silent, assuming no one will believe them, help them, or take serious action. Today’s verdict shows that this assumption is no longer true. We hope the wisdom of this jury and the courage of this victim will prod others who are victims of sexual violence to come forward, seek justice, prevent crimes and expose those who commit and conceal heinous abuse against children.

This is a warning to bishops who pretend they’re powerless over religious order clerics working in their dioceses. The jury said that Duluth’s bishop is responsible for most of the harm done by this predator priest, even though the priest’s paycheck was signed by a legally separate entity, the Oblates.

The bottom line is that every bishop is responsible for the safety of every Catholic kid from every Catholic pedophile, whether the offender is a Jesuit, a Marianist, an Oblate or whatever. Hair-splitting may work for bishops as a public relations strategy. It works less well as a legal defense strategy.

The pedophile priest in this case, Fr. J. Vincent Fitzgerald, worked in Missouri, Illinois, Texas, South Dakota and Minnesota.



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