31 Oct 2010

Child abuse survivors protest outside Saginaw Diocese - want Bishop to explain his role in cover-up

WJRT-TV ABC12 - Michigan June 9, 2009
Group wants answers from church leader about bishop's alleged role in covering up church abuse scandal

By Kristen Abraham

SAGINAW (WJRT) -- (06/09/09)--A group of child abuse survivors protested outside the Saginaw Diocese Tuesday afternoon, partly in response to ABC12's interview with Bishop Elect Joseph Cistone of Saginaw.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, is demanding answers from the church leader about his alleged role in covering up the church abuse scandal.

SNAP hand delivered a letter to Cistone's office at the Diocese of Saginaw. They have two requests, and they say the community deserves answers.

SNAP is asking for Cistone to reveal the locations where alleged predator priests are living now so that neighbors and employers know their whereabouts.

The group also wants the bishop elect to hold a public forum to discuss the grand jury investigation involving the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

The report describes how church leaders reportedly tried to cover up reports of abuse.

No one was ever criminally charged in the investigation, but one of those church leaders the grand jury report is critical of is Cistone.

"The actions of the bishop caused a great deal of harm to many victims and their families," said SNAP President Barbara Blaine.

"The innocence of children was shattered needlessly because of the action and inaction of this bishop."

"We need to keep focused on the children and whatever we can do to protect them," Cistone said.

"If someone wants to go back and rehash what the church may have done based on knowledge and experience or lack of experience the church had, well, that's OK, but that's not productive.

"What's productive is what we can do to move forward."

Cistone spoke last week, and that was before Tuesday's protest.

He did respond Tuesday in saying he expresses his "sincere personal sorrow for these acts as well as mistakes in judgment made by those of us in the administration."

SNAP hopes to meet with the bishop as soon as he arrives to Saginaw.

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