CHICAGO, Dec. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- The nation's most experienced clergy sexabuse attorney is harshly criticizing Chicago's Catholic Cardinal for lettinga permanently suspended, twice-accused pedophile priest "attack" and sue twomen who say they were molested by the cleric when they were kids.
Cardinal Francis George has the legal ability and moral duty to stop Fr.Robert Stepek's legal maneuver, according to St. Paul attorney JeffreyAnderson, who represents child sex victims in many states, including Illinois.
Anderson has sent George's lawyers a harshly-worded letter urging Georgeto "take immediate action to stop the repeated re-victimization of those whohave been sexually abused by Fr. Stepek and the intimidation of others whohave been molested by Fr. Stepek or other predators."
"Your refusal to protect them is a breach of the promise you haverepeatedly made to survivors and intimidating to any survivor who mightconsider coming forward in the future," Anderson wrote.
"Immediately after Stepek was placed on administrative leave (because theallegations were deemed credible by church authorities) he went on the attack,disclosing publicly the identities of the victims that made the reports,"Anderson wrote.
Anderson says that soon thereafter, an archdiocesan priest "invaded theprivacy of this family by directly contacting these victims' parents who hadpreviously not been informed of the abuse."
For weeks, he contends, Stepek has "orchestrated a continuing smearcampaign" against these individuals, including,
-- making demeaning statements about them to others with the
participation of parish staff,
-- posting a sign on the parish property which stated, "We demand our
-- launching a petition drive demanding his re-instatement,
-- urging parish staff and members to come to the visible assistance and
support of Stepek, and
-- holding a fundraiser recently for Stepek by parish employees and staff
which was publicized through the parish bulletin.
After Cardinal George announced Stepek's temporary removal from ministrywould be permanent, Stepek immediately "heightened the attack," Anderson says,by claiming that his two accusers have grudges against him.
In response to these "insensitive" actions, George nor his staff have"said or did anything in response," Anderson says.
Last week, archdiocesan lawyers told Anderson that George felt like therewas little he could do about the situation. Anderson vehemently disagrees.
"If Stepek opened an abortion clinic or (advocated) reinstating the deathpenalty, you would order him to cease. Yet when he attacks two brave men whodid exactly what you asked them to do, you stay silent," Anderson wrote.
The letter, sent yesterday via fax and e mail to archdiocesan lawyers, isavailable by calling Anderson or his Chicago-area co-counsel, Marc Pearlman.