I received a letter in the mail not long ago from the “2009 Annual Campaign” for Notre Dame High School in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. The campaign has a theme, “Celebrating Today… Preparing for Tomorrow”. As with all fundraisers, the letter came with a glossy brochure full of information on projects to be accomplished, scholarship assistance programs in need of support, and the required breakdown of the recognition levels that accompany donations. For only $10,000, you can have your name on the Cornerstone Society list! (Act now!)
I understand that the school has requirements that exceed the money collected in tuition.
On the one hand, there are kids that need support to attend school, and new computers always seem to be in short supply. On the other hand, this was the place where I was singled out to be raped by my 8th-grade religion teacher, Father Robert Gibson. I was roughed up by the same priest in the chapel of this school, and the nun that walked in on that event simply walked away. This was the school where other students were targeted by other priests, either on the grounds or at events such as school retreats to the Fatima Center. The documentation on the priests involved is pretty extensive.
In case you were wondering who the priests were, they are Father Robert Gibson, Father Peter Crynes (at the Fatima Retreat Center), and Father Christopher Clay. Those are the three priests who have been documented with histories of abuse and a connection to the school. In the case of Peter Crynes, a reader who posted comments to this blog stated he was assaulted by Father Crynes at the Fatima Center. Most recently, another priest who did some substitute teaching at Notre Dame Elementary School was charged with having child pornography on his computer. Father Robert Timchak is awaiting adjudication of his case in Pike County. You can search for other predator, pedophile priests at Bishop Accountability.
My dilemma is this. do I simply shred the information on the fundraising campaign along with the request from Catholic Charities in Wilmington (How the hell did I get on that mailing list?) and be done with it? Or do I write a letter explaining my reasons for not taking part in the fundraiser for the school?
I think it all comes down to one thing. The Diocese has not been forthcoming with information on the predators it has long protected. The Diocese and the parishes involved with the school have not actively sought out victims and tried to minister to there needs. There has been no meaningful public acknowledgment of the damage done and the families torn apart. There has been no acknowledgment of the faith destroyed, and the trust lost. There are, most likely, more of these monsters who are finding refuge in the secretive workings of the Chancery. Until the Diocese of Scranton, the Catholic Church in the United States and the Holy See accept their responsibility and are held accountable for their role in the victimization of children and vulnerable adults, donors should decline any request for donations to any institution that is part of the Roman Catholic system.
Cut off the funding and the hierarchy will have to face the fact that they have forgotten their mission and have focused and all the earthly trappings that go with power, position and privilege in the Catholic Church. If reforms are not implemented at all levels, the secrecy and the abuse that thrives inside that secrecy will continue.
If you are looking for a worthwhile organization to send your donation dollars, I recommend your local food bank.
5 thoughts on “Fund Drives and the Ghosts of Pedophiles Past”
There comes a time when one sees the Church for what it is–a self serving organization. I, too, throw out those letters and support the local food bank. At some point-the church stopped being about doing works of mercy and more about protecting its own. Only 17 Scranton priests listed as having criminal records bishops accountability website? That’s a testament to the good old boys network. You and I know that.. Keep writing.
Merry Christmas, Michael. Keep going. My case is still pending….
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Sadly, Bishop Accountability is not an accurate source for tracking abusive priests. My perpetrator remains to fly under the radar even though he has acknowledged criminal acts with children. The diocese of Scranton has a policy shrouded in secrecy. This policy has been effective in protecting the diocese from outside scrutiny. This secrecy allows the bishop, his cronies and his pedophiles protection to graves. The diocese might stop a priest from dolling out communion but this action does not prevent a pedophile from continuing criminal activity. I worry that my perp could be hurting other children today. Bishop Accountability is a joke and a failed attempt of the Church policing itself.
Bishop Accountability is not a comprehensive listing of all predators, nor do they claim to be. They have a established rules for getting a perp priest listed on the site. I will be glad to help you get him listed if we can meet the guidelines. Please send me an email and we can start working this.
The website is not affiliated with the Catholic Church in any way. It is a non-profit with no ties to any diocese. Do you honestly think that the Catholic Hierarchy would allow the website to stay up and shine a light on their continued inability to tell the truth and stop the abuse of children?