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Four letter to the diocese of Memphis, December 16, 2005

December 16, 2005 The Most Reverend J. Terry Steib, S.V.D.
The Catholic Center
Shelby Oaks Drive
Memphis, TN 34-7316

 

Dear Bishop Steib,

 

I am requesting the reopening of my abuse case against William Kantner before the diocesan review board of the diocese of Memphis. 

 

I believe that the entire process of my case was mishandled by the diocese from the beginning.  I base my request for reexamination of my abuse case against William Kantner on the following reasons:

 

1.                  William Kantner was never removed from ministry according to the policies of the diocese of Memphis.  The first written report of my meeting with Monsignor Peter Buchignani  is dated November 2002.  Kantner was not removed from ministry until November 2004, a full two years later.

2.                  Because you did eventually remove him from ministry, albeit secretly, you must have known that “sufficient evidence” (Paragraph 2, Section 2 of the Diocesan Sex Abuse Policy) existed to do so and that William Kantner posed a potential danger to children, teens or vulnerable adults.  The removal occurred at or around the end of November 2004.  In an article entitled “Bishop Steib returns priests to ministry” printed in the West Tennessee Catholic Newspaper dated February 3, 2005, the following was printed:  “…Bishop Steib returned Father Kantner to ministry last week …”  This constitutes a public admission that he was removed from ministry.  Further witnesses within your own diocese will confirm that this removal occurred more than two years after I filed my allegation of abuse.  

3.                  Your action of removal from ministry on or at the end of November 2004 constitutes an admission of danger to children, teens and vulnerable.  The diocese is, therefore, accountable for the harm done to the children and teens from at least November 2002 when I first lodged my complaint against Kantner until the present.  You left Kantner in active ministry at St. Peter Villa Rehabilitation and Nursing Center and in close proximity to Memphis Catholic High School and Middle School, Target House, and St. Peter Manor.  You left him in residence within walking distance to Memphis Catholic High School and Middle School.  You now have him in active ministry as pastor of St. James Church in Memphis. http://www.rememberthesurvivors.com/073005letter.htm   All of this is unconscionable neglect of protection of children and teens.

4.                  Has the diocese included William Kantner on the list of 10 sex-offending clergy that was turned over by them the Assistant District Attorney Kevin Rardin?

 

If you truly wished to protect children or teens, you would not have left an active priest in ministry who had a serious allegation against him.  If you truly wished to help victims, you would have given the public full notification in case others wanted to come forward.  You did not respect me enough to give proper scrutiny to my case, and your refusal to take seriously my allegation may have endangered children, teens, and vulnerable adults.  This is inexcusable behavior on the part of a diocese in the wake of the sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic church.

 

Please notify me through SNAP of Tennessee when my testimony before the review board is required.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

Eugene Baltz

% Susan Vance

8324 South Burchfield Drive

Oak Ridge, TN  37830

 

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December 16, 2005

 

The Most Reverend J. Terry Steib, S.V.D.

The Catholic Center
5825 Shelby Oaks Drive
Memphis, TN 38134-7316

 

Dear Bishop Steib,

 

As SNAP has previously stated, we believe the prudent response to the allegations of sexual abuse by Richard Mickey should have been to await the conclusion of the civil trial.  In light of the willingness to reinvestigate the Murphy case, we request that the Mickey case also be reexamined.

 

To have convened a diocesan review board investigation and preempted the judicial process is reckless and irresponsible behavior.  This type of clericalism, setting you above the law, does nothing to engender transparency and trust.  The diocese opted for the popular decision to reinstate Mickey over the prudent decision to protect children.  What is the message being sent to the children of your diocese? 

 

By your ceremonial presence at the widely publicized reinstatement of a priest not yet cleared of charges, you showed disdain and disrespect for the victims of clergy sexual abuse.  Victims continue to work and seek and hope for a compassionate bishop who will stand for them.  You have broken faith with us yet again.

 

Sincerely,

 

Susan Vance, Co-director of SNAP of Tennessee, 8324 South Burchfield Drive, Oak Ridge, TN 37830 - 865-748-3518

Ann Brentwood Co-director of SNAP of Tennessee, 865-607-6119

David Brown, Memphis Coordinator of SNAP of Tennessee, 865-569-4500

David Clohessy of St. Louis, SNAP National Director (314) 566-9790 cell

 

Cc:  J. Martin Regan, Chairman of Diocesan Review Board of Memphis

 

 

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December 16, 2005

 

The Most Reverend J. Terry Steib, S.V.D.

The Catholic Center
5825 Shelby Oaks Drive
Memphis, TN 38134-7316

 

Dear Bishop Steib:

 

Since you have indicated your willingness to do so, we are requesting a reinvestigation into sexual abuse by James W. Murphy.  The diocese has been in receipt of much supportive documentation regarding this case.  Per this letter, we are making a formal request for the investigation.

 

Please address your response to the request by a registered letter to the undersigned.

 

Should for some reason, you not be possession of the many written exchanges between our lawyer on our behalf and the diocese, please contact your designated diocesan officials.  Thirty pages of communication already available to you should be adequate support for the reinvestigation of the case.

 

It is of grave concern to us that there has not been a timely resolution to this matter which was first brought to your attention over a year ago. 

 

Sincerely,

 

 

Mike Hitch

Terry Webb

 

Cc:    J. Martin Regan, Chairman of Diocesan Review Board of Memphis

 

***********************

C. Michael Coode

415 Chesterfield AV

Nashville, TN 37212

Dec 16, 2005

 

Terry J Steib, Bishop of Memphis

The Catholic Center
5825 Shelby Oaks Drive
Memphis, TN 38134-7316

 

Most  Rev. Bishop;

 

Recently, SNAP of Tennessee conducted a press conference in Memphis.  At that meeting, Mr. Mike Hitch and his brother, Fr. David Hitch, detailed the sexual abuse of Mr. Hitch.  Mr. Hitch was transported from Iowa to Memphis by Rev.    Jansen.  There, they met the Rev.  James W. Murphy.  Fr. Murphy and Fr. Janssen took Mr. Hitch and several boys from Memphis to Florida. The purpose of this trip was to sexually molest these boys.  They were given alcohol, and repeatedly abused.  The details Mr. Hitch gave were very sad, indeed.  As a result, you made the decision to reopen the investigation of Fr. James Murphy.

 

At the same press conference, I told of my abuse by Fr. Joseph Reilly.  Fr. Reilly was a native of Memphis, and at the time he abused me, he was serving in Nashville.  He later returned to Memphis, and is now deceased.

  

I first exposed Fr. Reilly publicly in a story in the NASHVILLE SCENE (June 22, 2002). I had heard allegations here in Nashville of other activities by Fr. Reilly.  One person reported that his father had beaten Fr. Reilly so badly that he had to be hospitalized, and the incident led to his immediate removal from Nashville, and he returned to Memphis.  I had also heard from a man in Memphis who had indicated he had been abused by Fr. Reilly.  It is my understanding that Fr. Reilly also abused a young man who became a Priest, and is himself an ephebophile, now serving a very long prison sentence. No doubt, you have heard from others with similar allegations.

 

Based on my knowledge of Fr. Reilly, and encouraged by your decision to reopen the Murphy case, I hereby request that you open (or re-open) an investigation of Fr. Reilly.  It is so important to me and other victims of Fr. Reilly.

 

Thank you so much for your consideration.  I am willing to provide any information you need.

 

Sincerely

C. Michael Coode

 

Cc:      David Choby, Diocesan Administrator;Diocese of Memphis Review Board; Diocese of Nashville Review Board; SNAP;VOTF- Nashville.