Continued Abuse Revelations Belie Reform Claims, Say Victims

Catholic church's "reckless and callous secrecy" puts more kids at risk, SNAP says

By Dick Johnson and BJ Lutz
|  Tuesday, May 4, 2010  |  Updated 8:36 PM CDT
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Continued Abuse Revelations Belie Reform Claims, Say Victims

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News that a Catholic priest continued working for at least 20 years despite admitting to an "inappropriate relationship" with a male student and a cash settlement flies in the face of the church's claim to be open and transparent about clergy sex cases, abuse victims and their advocates say.

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News that a Catholic priest continued working for at least 20 years despite admitting to an "inappropriate relationship" with a male student and a cash settlement flies in the face of the church's claim to be open and transparent about clergy sex cases, abuse victims and their advocates say.

The Chicago and Detroit Province of the Society of Jesus claims they removed Rev. Larry Reuter from active ministry on Monday  following a review of personnel files. Included in Reuter's record was an admission that he had admitted to a relationship with an 18-year-old student sometime between 1975 and 1990.

Francis Cardinal George later removed Reuter's faculties, which means he cannot act in any public ministry to present himself in public as a priest by wearing clerical clothing.

He's since been "assigned to internal ministry with and for Jesuits only in a monitored setting," according to a Chicago Jesuit Province spokesman. The spokesman did not elaborate as to what exactly that means.

But members of SNAP -- the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests -- say the right action at the right time is still not being taken.

"Priests monitoring priests are like the fox watching the hen house," said SNAP's Therese Albrechts. "It doesn't happen."

The group handed out flyers at Loyola University on Tuesday because of a total of four Jesuit priests now accused of abuse, including some in prison, have worked there and in other Chicago-area positions of influence with young adults and teenagers even after their superiors allegedly had knowledge of their actions.

"The facts show, unfortunately, that the Jesuits in Chicago are not being open about clergy sex cases, and we believe their continuing secrecy puts teenagers, children and young adults at risk of harm," said SNAP Executive Director David Clohessy.

He claimed supervisors act "with reckless and callous secrecy."

For life-long Catholics, including Loyola University Freshman Lucas Seilhymer, the continuing revelations are disheartening.

"Here we are, as Catholics, trying to move on and get on with our lives, and it just keeps coming up and coming up," he said.

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