April 16, 2005

Group urges return of accused U.S. priests

Monterey Herald

Associated Press

VATICAN CITY - Advocates for victims of clergy sex abuse pressed a religious order in Rome on Friday to send one of its priests back to the United States to face child molestation charges.

Three leaders of the U.S.-based group Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests walked from their hotel to the Salvatorian headquarters, just yards from St. Peter's Square, to deliver a letter saying the order should expel the Rev. Joseph Henn, who is wanted in Arizona on child molestation charges.

"The victims are not asking for anything more than their day in court," said Barbara Blaine, the group's founder, who has spent the past week in Rome to highlight the problem of abuse ahead of the papal election. The conclave is set to begin Monday.

A man who identified himself as a Salvatorian priest met Blaine at the door of the order's office. When he protested that news cameras were filming their conversation, she offered to speak with him privately, but he laughed and said no. He promised to give the network's letter to the head of the religious order, then went back inside. "I'm not authorized to do anything," he said.

No one answered the phone at the religious order later Friday.

Posted by kshaw at April 16, 2005 08:22 AM