SNAP of Tennessee

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests - Tennessee 

Group: Pilarczyk should resign

By Dan Horn
Enquirer staff writer

Victims' advocates asked Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk to resign Thursday, claiming he knew in the 1980s that priests were abusing children but failed to stop them.

Members of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests based their allegations on church records released this week as part of a lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.

The records include letters to and from the archbishop regarding the behavior of a former Cincinnati priest who has been accused of abusing boys.

In one letter from 1986, a former priest personnel official discusses an allegation about the priest that arose during a marriage counseling session. During the session, a young man revealed that a friend had confided that the priest molested him.

The personnel official, who is not identified, told Pilarczyk that he recommended against referring the man to authorities.

"The problem: if the young man were to talk to a professional counselor, that person may report the accused priest to civil authorities," the personnel official wrote. "If ...it turns out there are a series of these incidents, the church would be held responsible in court."

The name of the accused priest is redacted from the records. But Mason lawyer Konrad Kircher has previously said in court the records refer to David Kelley and another priest.

SNAP members say release of the documents suggests Pilarczyk was more active in protecting abusive priests than they previously believed.

"Maybe it's time for him to retire or resign," said Christy Miller, co-director of SNAP in Cincinnati.

Church spokesman Dan Andriacco said the 70-year-old archbishop has no intention of stepping down before his mandatory retirement at 75.

He pointed out that Pilarczyk has acknowledged that church officials failed for years to respond appropriately to abuse allegations.

In 2003, the archdiocese was convicted of failing to report abuse. Prosecutors have said some of the cases linked to those charges involved Kelley, though they said they could not charge Kelley because the allegations were too old. He no longer works as a priest.

Miller has asked Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters to examine the documents, as well as the archdiocese's plea deal in 2003. Deters said Thursday he would do so "as soon as possible."