Holding childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims will harshly criticize a controversial, Connecticut-based, world-wide Catholic religious group, and urge them to
-- launch an independent probe into new accusations that their high profile founder fathered a child as well as molested kids,
-- be more honest about the new sexual misconduct allegations against him,
-- use their 'considerable' resources (websites, newsletters, parish bulletins) to 'aggressively' reach out to others with information about his crimes and beg them to come forward, get help, and
-- publicly apologize to the more than 20 men who say the prominent cleric molested them when they were boys.
Thursday, Feb. 5 at 1:30 pm
In front of the headquarters of the Legion of Christ, 475 Oak Street, in Cheshire, CT
Two-three sex abuse victims who belong to a support group called SNAP - the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org)
The group will hold a photo of the accused predator and a book and a DVD about him.
Yesterday, the New York Times and other media reported that the Legion of Christ has determined that its founder and long time head has fathered a child out of wedlock and is guilty of conduct that is "surprising, difficult to understand, and inappropriate for a Catholic priest."
The Legion is a large, growing, controversial, secretive and ultra-conservative religious order based in Cheshire. It has been called 'cult-like' and accused of targeting rich Catholics. Several US bishops have limited the organization's work in their dioceses.
In 2006, Maciel was ordered by the Vatican to suspend his public ministry and live "a life of prayer and reflection." The church hierarchy admits that between 20 and 100 men report having been sexually assaulted by him as kids and young seminarians. He's also been accused of illegal drug use. Maciel, who died in January 2008, is originally from Mexico and was very close to Pope John Paul II.
SNAP wants an independent investigation into all the charges – child sex abuse as well as his alleged parenthood. The group also believes the many current and former Legion members who attacked Maciel's victims should publicly apologize for their callous and misguided actions.