Clergy sex abuse victims & Catholics to hold vigil
Candlelight event happens on eve of annual US bishops meeting
Hundreds of church’s highest prelates are gathering in Baltimore now
Victims want head of America’s bishops, Chicago’s Cardinal, to resign his post
He keeps a convicted pedophile priest who hurt Maryland boy working in his archdiocese
Holding candles & childhood photos, clergy sex abuse victims will hold an evening sidewalk vigil outside the hotel where hundreds of Catholic bishops are meeting. They will
-- call on the US bishops’ conference head to resign his post over a little-publicized Baltimore abuse case,
-- urge parishioners to educate themselves about the church’s abuse and cover up scandal, &
-- beg anyone with information about a newly accused pedophile priest by a different Baltimore priest to come forward immediately, get help, and call law enforcement.
TODAY, Sunday, 9:45 p.m. - 11:15 p. m.
Outside the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hotel, where hundreds of America’s Catholic bishops are meeting this week (700 Aliceanna Street, 410-385-3000)
Several clergy sex abuse victims who are leaders of a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org)
A priest who was convicted for molesting a Baltimore child now works for Cardinal Francis George, head of the Chicago archdiocese and the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, according to, news accounts in Illinois last month. Despite this, and other recent egregious mishandling of child sex cases and cover ups in Chicago, George will chair tomorrow’s annual national meeting of 200+ American Catholic bishops. SNAP wants him to resign.
From 1977-1980, Fr. Kenneth J. Martin repeatedly molested a teenaged boy. Martin was teaching at the school the boy attended - Loyola Blakefield Catholic High School in suburban Baltimore. In December 2001, Martin pled guilty to the crimes.
Despite this, in 2003, George secretly let Martin live part-time at George’s mansion in Chicago. When Martin’s employment in Chicago was disclosed publicly, George promised he would no longer work in the archdiocese. Last month, however, media sources disclosed that Martin is still on the payroll.
SNAP is also concerned about a new, different Baltimore pedophile case involving Fr. Fernando Cristancho. Last month, a court determined that Cristancho molested two of the three kids he surreptitiously fathered. Yet he walks free, and SNAP worries that he may molest again.
The group wants church officials in Maryland and Virginia (where Christanco also worked) to make more aggressive efforts to find any victims and witnesses of Christancho’s crime and urge them to call police. SNAP also wants Baltimore’s archbishop to yank Christancho’s passport so he can’t flee the country.
Frank Dingle 410 744 2398 home, 443 996 8994 cell, Becky Ianni 703 801 6044, Barbara Blaine 312 399 4747, David Clohessy 314 566 9790