For immediate release:
Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2008
Statement by Barbara Blaine of Chicago, national president of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (312-399-4747)
How many chances does Cardinal George get? For years, he shunned victims, deceived parishioners, protected predators, and stonewalled prosecutors. But put that aside for a moment. Just consider his very recent track record on clergy sex crimes and cover ups.
In 2006, despite his being arrested and against the advice of George's own lay review panel, George left Fr. Daniel McCormack in a parish. A sensible person has to ask
“HOW MANY MORE arrested predator priests are still in Chicago parishes right now?”
In 2006, despite at least four allegations of child sex abuse and against two recommendations from his own lay panel, George left Fr. Joseph R. Bennett in a parish. A sensible person has to ask
“HOW MANY MORE serially accused predator priests are in Chicago parishes right now?”
In 2008, George admitted using his political clout to try to free a convicted predator, Fr. Norbert Maday, from prison. A sensible person has to ask
“HOW MANY MORE proven predator priests is George trying to get out of prison right now?”
In 2008, despite his criminal conviction for child molestation, George keeps Fr. Kenneth Martin on the church payroll. A sensible person has to ask
“HOW MANY MORE admitted predator priests work in or for the archdiocese right now?
Each of these four troubling cases surfaced thanks to brave victims, determined lawyers and hard-working journalists. Does anyone really believe that these four disturbingly reckless cases are the only ones in the archdiocese now? That defies common sense.
So today, we call on Cardinal George to ‘come clean’ and answer these crucial questions, questions that address the core issue: how can he continue to put his flock at risk of horrific, preventable childhood trauma.
The excuses that “Fr. X is just in an administrative job” and “Fr. Y is elderly and can’t get around well” just don’t cut it. It takes just seconds for a predator to get his hands on a child.
We also call on George’s weak-kneed, hand-picked abuse panel to speak up or step down. He’s manipulating them, and they’re letting themselves be manipulated, and it’s wrong.
On one hand, we’re grateful that 2 years ago, they expressed their outrage to George for his deceptive maneuvers to essentially try to blame them for the fact that a dangerous predator stayed in a parish and molested boys long after he should have been removed.
But shame on the board for writing a private letter to George, when they should have shouted from the rooftops that Chicago’s highest ranking Catholic official was deceiving the public.
Since then, we’ve seen at least three other fiascoes – the Bennett case, the Maday case, and the Martin case. Yet the abuse panel stays silent.
Two years ago, George tried to make the review board look bad. Now, the board is making itself look bad.
They’re becoming as complicit as George is.
We call on them today to show some spine, honor their mandate, and either publicly protest George’s on-going misdeeds, or resign.
If they’ve believed that they can bring reform to this corrupt institution working “behind the scenes,” they’ve been duped. The evidence clearly shows there has NOT been any meaningful reforms regarding child safety or even basic honesty. The board members continue, by their silence, to provide political and public relations ‘cover’ for a recalcitrant, unrepentant, secretive and reckless church official.
In 2005, the board urged George to remove Bennett. He did not.
In 2005, the board urged George to remove McCormack. He did not.
In 2003, for the second time, the board urged George to defrock Maday. He did not (until 2008).
And again, these are just the George misdeeds that have been publicly exposed.
Today we call on George to ‘come clean’ and disclose how many other proven, admitted, and credibly accused predator priests are still working in or for the archdiocese, are trying to be sprung from prison by the archdiocese and are being imported by the archdiocese.
And we call on George’s abuse panel to speak up or step aside.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the nation’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 17 years and have more than 8,000 members across the country. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
Contact David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, 314-645-5915 home), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688)