May 16, 2006

Victims' group attacks bishop's statements

Times Argus

May 16, 2006

By Kevin O'Connor Rutland Herald

A national organization of people sexually abused by clergy is blasting Vermont Catholic Bishop Salvatore Matano for "attacking deeply wounded men and women who were raped as kids by priests."

In a recent letter to the state's 118,000 Catholics, Matano explained why the statewide Diocese of Burlington, fearing the costs of 19 priest misconduct lawsuits against it, just placed its 128 local parishes in charitable trusts.

"In such litigious times, it would be a gross act of mismanagement if I did not do everything possible to protect our parishes and the interests of the faithful from unbridled, unjust and terribly unreasonable assault," Matano wrote.

In response, David Clohessy, director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is asking the bishop to help instead of blame victims.

"It's a terribly hurtful and un-Christian move to lash out at struggling victims of horrific childhood sex crimes and cover-up," Clohessy said Monday in a statement from St. Louis. "If you were raped and sodomized as a child by a trusted priest, and shunned and lied to as an adult by church officials, you may well feel a moral duty to protect others and expose corruption through the time-tested, open American judicial system."

Posted by kshaw at May 16, 2006 07:08 AM