January 20, 2005

Victims group asks bishop to aid search

The Press-Enterprise

By MICHAEL FISHER / The Press-Enterprise

An advocacy group is urging Bishop Gerald Barnes to make personal announcements at three Riverside churches reaching out to anyone might have been a molestation victim of a former Inland priest accused of sexual misconduct in the Midwest.

Two Illinois men have accused the Rev. Theodore Feely, now deceased, of abusing them at a Rockford, Ill., church in the 1970s, according to the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, a national self-help group for victims of clergy abuse.

The accusations led the group to send a letter to Barnes on Tuesday, asking the Roman Catholic bishop to visit the Riverside churches where Feely worked during parts of the 1960s, '70s and '80s to ask anyone who had been a victim of or a witness to sexual misconduct by the priest to come forward. The group also asked Barnes to post notices about Feely on the San Bernardino Diocese's Web site and in church bulletins and diocesan newspapers.

"Bishop Barnes now has a moral obligation to reach out to others who may have been hurt by Feely," Mary Grant, the group's southwest regional director, said in a written statement.

Diocesan leaders are reviewing the letter, the Rev. Howard Lincoln, spokesman for the San Bernardino Diocese, said Wednesday.

Posted by kshaw at January 20, 2005 06:20 AM