Priest Who Covered Up Sex Abuse Put In Charge Of Sex Abuse Hotline
Today in terrible judgement–Fr. Steven Callahan, a priest who admitted to destroying documents implicating a fellow priest of sexual abuse is now the Victim’s Assistance Coordinator of the San Diego diocese’s sexual abuse hotline.
In 1993, Rev. Emmanuel Omemaga confessed Fr. Callahan that he had molested a 14-year-old. Although Fr. Callahan said he urged him to go to the police and turn himself in, Omemaga fled to his native Philippines. Coincidentally, it was around this time that Callahan destroyed hundreds of personnel files, and many believe he did this to cover up evidence of abuse by priests.
SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests), an advocacy group for those abused by clergy have come forward to announce their opposition to Fr. Callahan holding such a position. They believe that not only is it inappropriate for him to be holding such a position given his previous actions, but that he could use such a position to cover up more allegations of abuse.
Via Raw Story:
“When nuns or priests are assigned to these hotlines, we believe church officials are using them to keep abuse reports quiet,” said Tim Lennon of SNAP in an emailed statement.”If they sincerely want victims to call and get help, bishops would have lay social workers—not ordained clerics or lawyers—respond to these deeply wounded and mistrustful individuals.”
“Bishop McElroy has no excuse for putting Callahan in charge of the hotline. A simple Google search or a quick chat with Catholics would show what a bad idea Callahan’s new job is.”
One would think–given how bad a look this has been for the Catholic Church–that they might want to be a little careful of putting people like Callahan in positions like these. Or any positions, frankly. The reason so many of these abusers were able to do what they did and get away with it for so long is that they were protected by the church–which in my opinion made them, quite frankly, just as loathsome and guilty as the abusers themselves.