The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Statement
For immediate release: Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Victims blast Cleveland diocese
Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, SNAPclohessy@aol.com)
We are saddened and appalled that Cleveland Catholic officials won’t remove a plaque honoring a credibly accused child molesting cleric.
Because the alleged predator is dead, the full truth about him will likely never be known. But this much is clear: the church hierarchy must choose between the feelings of two living women or the reputation of one dead priest. They are choosing to side with the alleged criminal over the alleged victims – the side that top church staffers have almost always taken for decades. The Cleveland diocese continues to do this now, even though the accused priest is deceased and can’t be hurt by whatever choices diocesan officials make.
Church officials will no doubt claim these two women are the “only accusers.” If that’s the case, it’s only because church officials refuse to actively reach out to others hurt by Fr. Monaghan. However, church officials refuse to do this. In fact, they told the Plain Dealer they won't "devote resources" to delving into this brave victim's abuse report. Have they not read in the Bible that "the truth shall set you free?"
Of course, they can take a clear and free step toward the truth with a two sentence notice in parish bulletins, saying "We have an allegation that Fr. Monaghan molested a girl. If you have any information that might prove or disprove the allegation, we beg you to come forward right away." This of course costs nothing and would show that the Catholic hierarchy welcomes victims and cares about victims and about the truth. However, Cleveland church officials apparently refuse to take this simple, non-controversial move.
A cowardly response would be for church officials to "split the difference," taking the accused priest's name off of only the building or only the plaque. But Cleveland Catholic hierarchy can't even bring itself to take this minimal step towards compassion.
Our hearts go out to Barbara Johnson and Karen Roman. We applaud them for their courage. We hope and believe their bravery will help bring them healing. We are confident that their speaking out will help and console and inspire others who suffer in shame, silence and self-blame.
We are not confident, however, that Cleveland church officials will ever live up to their promises to treat victims with compassion.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 23 years and have more than 10,000 members. 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, SNAPclohessy@aol.com), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747, SNAPblaine@gmail.com), Peter Isely (414-429-7259, firstname.lastname@example.org), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)
Postscriptum 15 Jun 2011: In a fourth article, by Michael O'Malley, it was announced the plaque will be removed, and the name taken off the parish hall.