Saturday, September 5, 2009

Catholic Parish publishes children's names on web site

June 28, 2009

Meredith Charest
Altar Server Coordinator
Holy Martyrs Church
Falmouth, Maine

Dear Ms. Charest,

As long time advocates for those who have been abused by Catholic priests and other church employees, we know one thing for certain: child molesters (including priest child molesters) are cunning and manipulative.

In our efforts to help protect children, we are writing to express our concern about your decision to publish the names of minor children (altar servers) on the Holy Martyrs web site.

The altar servers' list provides child sex offenders with the first and last names of minor children, as well as where the children will be on certain dates and at certain times.

Although, there is no perfect solution for protecting children from child abuse, we must use every opportunity to erect safeguards.

You should know that we have made several pleas about this issue to diocese officials and your pastor, Msgr. Joseph Ford.

No one has responded.

Situations like this continue to point out that Bishop Richard Malone is not doing all that he can to protect children (as he so often articulates). We fear that Catholics like you are being lulled into complacency by the bishop's words regarding church policies and procedures intended to protect children. It is unfortunate that the bishop has placed you in this uncomfortable position.

We urge you to immediately remove the names of minor children from your parish web site.

Paul Kendrick 838 1319
Michael Sweatt 831 3791

cc: Bishop Richard Malone
Msgr. Joseph Ford, Pastor, Holy Martyrs Parish
Thomas Meschinelli, Director, Protecting God's Children Program
Deacon John Brennan, Office of Professional Responsibility
Sue Bernard, Diocese Public Relations Director
Rev. Andrew Dubois, Vicar General, Moderator of the Curia
Thomas Deignan, former Director, Protecting God's Children Program
Deacon Dennis Popadak, Holy Martyrs Parish
Debra Coppinger, Office Manager, Holy Martyrs Parish
Press and Media, forwarded