Survivors Want Sheehan to Apologize
Leader of Support Group Says Archbishop Did Not Take Complaints of Sexual Abuse Seriously

By Paul Logan
Albuquerque Journal (New Mexico)
October 12, 2005

Archbishop Michael Sheehan should publicly apologize at the parishes where a restricted priest has served, says the head of a support group for those abused by clerics.

Sheehan was in charge of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe in 1995, when six men wrote letters to him alleging that the Rev. Ronald Bruckner sexually abused them as boys.

At the time, their letters weren't taken seriously, Steven Rabi said Tuesday at a news conference near Our Lady of the Annunciation Church.

Rabi said those whom Bruckner allegedly molested were forced to wait a decade.

"It shouldn't have taken a review board almost 10 years later to come to the conclusion that there was credible evidence," said Rabi, state director of SNAP, or the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

Bruckner, former pastor of Annunciation, can no longer publicly perform priestly duties because of "credible allegations" of sexually abusing a minor, the archbishop said this week.

Terry Guebert, Bruckner's attorney, said in a letter to the Journal on Monday that "Father Bruckner continues to deny these allegations."

Speaking for the archdiocese, Wayne Pribble said Tuesday that "we have always and will continue to respond to victims promptly, and remove offending clergy or laity within the church." Pribble heads the archdiocese victim assistance program.

Rabi claims Sheehan is not performing outreach to victims. Instead, he said, the archbishop is "really involved in damage control."

The archdiocese only took action on Bruckner after SNAP put pressure on the archbishop and a review board that examines alleged priestly abuse, he said.

Sheehan needs to go to the churches where Bruckner served for more than 40 years and apologize to every Roman Catholic, Rabi said.

SNAP wants to make sure people that have been harmed receive care, counseling and compensation, he said.

"We're not out to literally hang priests, we're out to protect the children," he said.


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