February 26, 2005

Activists failed to disclose ex-priest's past, U.S. lawmaker says

Macon Telegraph

The Dallas Morning News

DALLAS - (KRT) - Catholic peace activists failed to disclose the sexually abusive past of one of their key allies in strife-torn Haiti, a prominent U.S. congresswoman said Friday.

Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., spoke after she had urged the U.S. ambassador in Haiti to safeguard defrocked American priest Ron Voss, who has been detained twice this week for questioning about a massive jailbreak there.

Waters said she learned only later, from a Dallas Morning News report Friday, that Voss had admitted abusing many adolescent boys.

"They probably should have told me," she said of the antiwar group Pax Christi USA, at whose behest she had written the ambassador. "Certainly this is problematic and unfortunate."

Pax Christi USA spokesman Johnny Zokovitch said he and executive director David Robinson also learned about Voss' past from The Dallas Morning News. But some people active with the group's Haiti task force did know, according to interviews and correspondence.

One of them, William Slavick of Maine, said the failure to inform the congresswoman was "probably an innocent mistake." Task force leaders thought highly of Voss and did not want to believe reports about his history, he said.

Posted by kshaw at February 26, 2005 01:58 AM