Why We Need More Info With ‘Credibly Accused’ Clergy Names

By Susan Matthews

New York’s Cardinal Dolan recently released the names of 120 ‘credibly accused’ priests. His belated transparency is missing a few key details.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan should update his list to include, at a minimum, the work histories of each accused priest so that communities where abusers served know to look for survivors in their midst,” according a statement from SNAP issued on Friday. “Similarly, he should include information about when the archdiocese first received the allegations and what they did in response.”

The Catholic Church should release work, volunteer and accusation history along with each name. Why?

It Wakes People the Hell Up

Child sex abuse feels very distant to most parents. It’s something that happens to other people’s kids. When one learns a predator had proximity to their own child, it finally clicks. The betrayal and the potential harm finally make it real. We need that kind of awareness for protection, prevention and justice.

Connects the Dots

Priests can have more than a dozen assignments, chaplaincies and volunteer positions that spread across diocesan and state lines. A credibly accused priest in NY may have once served in a Philadelphia parish. Along with the allegation history, a timeline of positions held helps investigators connect the dots.

And as we’ve found, the lapse between accusations being found credible and removal can be extremely concerning. If compelled to release this information, Church leadership might accelerate better response to avoid scrunity.

Empowers Victims

Information is power. Victims could finally believe in a world where they may have an opportunity for justice and to protect others. This results in more survivors coming forward. Which…

Creates A Safer Environment

The safe environment programs will be a sham until we demand all the facts, the full truth and crystal clear transparency.

Read more from the NPR article here: “Archdiocese of New York Names 120 Clergy ‘Credibly Accused’ of Child Sex Abuse”

Shanahan Grad Reveals Unawareness of Vianney Center Concerns

by Kathy Kane

For years, we have sounded the alarm about the proximity of the St. John Vianney Treatment Center to Bishop Shanahan High School in Downingtown, Pa.

As a Shanahan parent, I sat in the school parking lot waiting for my daughter and watched a patient from the facility walk by my car. Neither the school nor the Vianney Center had any idea of his presence on the school campus. He was supposed to be on the Vianney Center grounds and simply walked off. That priest patient was not a child abuser, but the encounter gave me a front row seat to the cast of characters employed by the Vianney Center and the Archdiocese who are supposed to be protecting our children.

We have documented cases of child predators sent to the facility in recent years. My youngest child graduated from Shanahan in 2017. This is a current issue. Priests who possessed child pornography. Priests who have assaulted children and young people. It’s not just my word. Grand Jury reports and newspaper articles name allegedly abusive priests from around the country sent to the facility.

On this blog, I’ve shared my communications and the details of my meeting with Vianney Center administration as well as school administration. A Shanahan mother appeared on a news segment. A handful of parents were supportive but not nearly enough to make an impact. I guess parents believed the misleading statements issued by the Archdiocese. Parents should use Google to get to the truth. Any concerned parents can still always contact us, I have enough information to give a PowerPoint presentation about the concerns related to the Vianney Center.

It’s refreshing to see a Bishop Shanahan graduate address this issue in a published commentary. Thank you, Ian. You give me hope. Maybe it will be the young people who will make a difference.

“The Pennsylvania report focuses on many small towns throughout the state.  One of those towns — mentioned more than a dozen times — is an outlier. It’s a town you wouldn’t think to look for unless, like me, you were born and raised there.

In 2002, around the same time the Boston Globe published its bombshell report on sexual abuse of children in the Archdiocese of Boston, I was a freshman at Bishop Shanahan, a Catholic high school in Downingtown, Pennsylvania.

I don’t remember paying much attention to the Boston Globe report. Nor was I aware that, during this same time, multiple priests accused of child abuse were being sent to a clergy treatment center directly across the street from my high school

Click here to read the entire story: “How the Catholic Church Used Treatment Centers To Hide Priests Accused of Child Abuse” WHYY

If any Shanahan parents are inspired after reading Ian’s article, I can be reached at kmkane242@gmail.

Finding Fr. Meyers: A C4C Investigation

By Kathy Kane

The strangest thing happens when you are not even looking for an abusive priest – you end up finding him. What started from an obnoxious comment by a priest on the C4C facebook page created a series of events that led to the discovery of Fr. John Meyers’ new life in Tucson, Arizona. Meyers was found unsuitable for ministry in January 2019 by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia for a credible and substantiated allegation of the sexual abuse of a minor.

Sometimes the way things fall into place can’t be explained although Jeremy Roebuck did a fantastic job chronicling the series of events in his article. Thank you to Carolyn Fortney who is a tireless advocate for children . Carolyn is a clergy abuse survivor and her eagle eye helped crack this case wide open. Maybe someday the Pennsylvania legislators will join the efforts to protect children by enacting very important SOL Window legislation. Until then it is amazing what a few women with a laptop can accomplish.

Click here to read: “From victim to vigilante: Clergy sex abuse survivor finds accused Philly priest online, working for charter school system in Arizona,” by Jeremy Roebuck, The Philadelphia Inquirer, April 23.

Excerpt: “This is a prime example of survivors working together to take the law into our own hands,” said Carolyn Fortney, the Harrisburg woman who uncovered Meyers’ new life in Tucson. “We’ll do what we have to do to protect children.”

Philadelphia Priest Placed on Administrative Leave

Fr William Waters, pastor of St Augustine Church in Philadelphia, has been placed on administrative leave while being investigated for an allegation of the sexual abuse of a minor. News outlets in the Boston area reported on this development yesterday as Waters is one of two Augustinians accused of the abuse which is alleged to have occurred in Lawrence, Massachusetts.

Ken Gavin, of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, stated that Fr Waters has been placed on administrative leave however one full day after this news broke Waters name remains on the Archdiocese clergy list. The clergy list shows all priests with full faculties in the Archdiocese. As many who have followed our efforts over the years are aware, we have had to contact the Archdiocese many times for errors on their list.

Stay tuned.


No Thank You

Closeup of the neck of a priest wearing a black shirt with cassock and white clerical collar

By Kathy Kane

There are 19 pages highlighting the case of Father Peter Dunne in the 2005 Grand Jury report on the Philadelphia Archdiocese Clergy Sex Abuse Scandal.

“Father Peter J. Dunne, ordained in 1954, served the Philadelphia Archdiocese as a teacher, pastor, administrator of a school for delinquent boys, and assistant director of the Archdiocese scouting program for 40 years. He remained a parish priest for seven and a half years after Archdiocese officials learned, in 1986, that he had sexually abused an altar boy who had been in the priest’s Boy Scout troop. During those seven and a half years, Father Dunne was diagnosed as an untreatable pedophile. He personally paid $40,000 to silence a victim. The Archdiocese was warned repeatedly that he had many victims, that he was most likely continuing to commit sexual offenses, that he should not be in a parish setting, and that he should not be around children or adolescents.”

It recently came to our attention that Dunne’s name is included on a parish website along with other priests who have served at the parish. The section expresses gratitude to all of the priests who have shared their time and talent.

Last year we had to contact the Archdiocese to have the flattering biographical paragraphs of abusive priests Father John Paul and Msgr. John Gillespie removed from a parish website. Gillespie was accused of abusing children at the very parish that still listed his information as a former pastor.

There obviously needs to be Archdiocesan policy on how parishes should handle the inclusion of abusive priests in parish literature and websites. We are asking the C4C community to weigh in. We think a common sense policy would require each parish to list the names of any abusive priest who volunteered or served at that parish. No more whitewashing with information that omits the abuse history of the priest, and no “thank you” to priests who have violated innocent children.

Please share your thoughts on this subject in the comment section or join the conversation on the Catholics4Change facebook page .

Unexcused Absence

By Kathy Kane

There was very sad and disturbing news last week in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia with the arrest of Father Armand Garcia, who was charged with rape, sexual abuse of a minor, and corruption of a minor. When the year long criminal investigation began in March of 2018, Garcia was the newly appointed pastor at St. Martin of Tours parish. He had been a parochial vicar at Immaculate Heart of Mary in Roxborough from 2011 through 2017. The criminal charges allege the abuse occurred during his years at IHM.

The only initial announcement made by the Archdiocese last March was to the St Martin of Tours parish where police had executed a search of the rectory. There was no press release issued by the Archdiocese informing that a Philadelphia priest was under criminal investigation for misconduct with a minor. There was was no announcement by the Archdiocese to his former parish of IHM, where he had interacted with children and young people for the previous six years.

Last year many IHM parishioners first learned of the criminal investigation from the local news media who picked up the story from our blog post when we alerted our readers that Garcia was under investigation after we received a tip about situation. Catholic Philly finally ran a story 12 days after the rectory at St Martin of Tours had been searched.

We heard from an attendee at the 9:30 a.m. Mass at IHM this past weekend that the hierarchy was not present for the announcement that the pastor shared concerning Garcia’s recent arrest . The information from the Archdiocese press release from earlier in the week was shared in the pastor’s announcement and the information was available for parishioners to take with them. There was also the reminder for everyone to be charitable in their conversation with others concerning the situation. There were staff from the Office of Children and Youth Protection of the Archdiocese present and were noticed at a table when entering the Church but at the conclusion of Mass it got a bit confusing when the staff member now had her coat zipped up, which covered her name tag. She was now standing and greeting parishioners as they exited.

. When a priest is arrested for the rape of a 16 year old parishioner and the best the Archdiocese can do is to have a timeline of the investigation announced at Mass, and a representative from Victim Assistance in the vestibule, there is not much hope that Archdiocese will ever respond in a pastoral manner. The Archdiocese claims that in March 2018 they did not know that the crimes were alleged to have occurred at IHM so there was no announcement to the parish. A bizarre technicality when common sense would dictate that the parish where he had been recently stationed for 6 years should have been informed. Even now with the arrest and the timeline showing that the crimes occurred during Garcia’s time at IHM, the hierarchy was MIA at the morning mass. Even if they cannot provide answers at this time, an acknowledgment is deserved.

The Archdiocese will often state that they cannot comment on a case until after court proceedings but when the former CFO of the Archdiocese , Anita Guzzardi,was found to have embezzled close to a million dollars, Archbishop Chaput wrote an article about her alleged crimes prior to her arrest and before any guilty plea or conviction. Along with detailing the alleged crimes, he also talked about the anger concerning the financial loss, including his own anger. There was no mention of making sure our conversations were charitable about the situation

The arrest of Garcia a few weeks before Easter proves particularly troubling for the Archdiocese as Christmas and Easter are a source of “holiday revenue” for the Church . Maybe that is part of the reason the investigation was initially kept under wraps last March during the Lenten season. There is no worse time for bad PR for the Church than when parishioners’ donations are expected to exceed the normal Sunday collections.

Sadly, once again, the wolves have attacked the flock. As seems to be standard operating procedure the “shepherds” are nowhere to be found – protecting themselves rather than caring for those they have been entrusted to by God. At this point it is a good idea to stop acting as sheep.

This Lenten season may we all remember the suffering of the innocent children, young people, and adults who have been victims of abuse within the Church.

The Bishop is Back in Town

By Kathy Kane

The lucky streak continues. It was revealed today that Bishop Michael Bransfield has been living in Philadelphia since last fall after leaving his diocese in Wheeling, West Virginia. Just the news we needed on the heels of a Philadelphia priest being arrested for rape last week.

Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore has banned Bransfeld from ministry in two dioceses after completing the preliminary investigation into sexual harassment and misconduct allegations, as well as looking into possible financial improprieties.

Don’t count Bransfield out yet as he has been able to keep his head above water in the past amid allegations. His comments to a reporter today seem to be plotting his next move. He sounds quite confident given his circumstances. Hopefully we won’t see him doing the Rocky run up the Art Museum steps while he’s here.

“After Bransfield stepped aside, a person familiar with the matter told The Inquirer that at least three priests had come forward with claims that Bransfield had subjected them to unwanted sexual advances and physical contact. A hotline set up subsequently drew more than 75 calls alleging misconduct in West Virginia, Washington, and Philadelphia that stretched back decades.”

Read more here.