Saturday, September 5, 2009

A Priest Child Abuser Lives in Falmouth

June 24, 2009

Msgr. Joseph Ford
Holy Martyrs Church
266 Foreside Road
Falmouth, Maine 04105

Dear Msgr. Ford,

During the past few days, we have notified both the Falmouth Chief of Police and the Falmouth Superintendent of Schools that Father John Audibert, an admitted Catholic priest child abuser, is residing somewhere in the 100 Clearwater Drive neighborhood of Falmouth.

Unfortunately, neither you, Bishop Richard Malone, nor any other Maine Catholic Church official has notified police, school, or town officials about Father Audibert's background and presence in Falmouth.

As you know, three years ago Vatican officials assigned Father Audibert to a "life of prayer and penance" for sexually abusing a minor. Bishop Malone has steadfastly refused to release information about other abuse claims that may have been filed against Father Audibert. However, we do know that a local television station received a signed letter from a family member of another alleged sex abuse victim of Father Audibert.

The letter states in part, "Years of abuse (by Audibert) drove my brother to slit his wrist and then hang himself." A copy of this letter was forwarded to Bishop Malone.

Msgr. Ford, we are writing to you with a great deal of skepticism. At the present time, you are a co-defendant in a civil lawsuit in which it is alleged that you and three other current and former high ranking diocese officials covered up child sex abuse allegations against a former Maine priest (Rev. Raymond Melville) who sexually abused children. Further, it is alleged that more children were abused in the ensuing years because of your negligence.

We urgently need your help to protect children and young people by informing the Falmouth community that a priest child abuser is living in their midst. Law enforcement officials agree that the first line of defense in protecting children from sexual predators is “identification and notification;” i.e., who the offender is, and where the offender is living.

Here's what you can do:

-- We want you to publish information about Father Audibert in your weekly parish bulletin, including news articles, a photo and Father Audibert's whereabouts.

-- We want you to post information about Father Audibert on your parish's bulletin board.

-- We want you to send letters to each and every parishioner with information about Father Audibert.

-- We want you to urge Bishop Malone to post information about Father Audibert and all other publicly accused priest sex offenders on the diocese web site.

-- We want you to provide a copy of this letter to members of the Holy Martyrs' parish council and parish staff.

Maine's Catholic parishes are mandated to participate in the diocese's Protecting God’s Children Program. What parent would not want to know that the man living next door has a history of abusing children?

Awareness and vigilance are the best defense.

We are available to assist you in any way possible.

Paul Kendrick, 838 1319
Michael Sweatt, 831 3791