The president of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), Tim Lennon, led a meeting in Sioux City last weekend that urged victims to come forward to report abuse. He also called for the resignation of now Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, who leads the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Lennon said while DiNardo was Bishop of the Sioux City Diocese, he covered up sexual abuse allegations there and in Houston. Lennon came forward over 30 years after being raped by Peter Murphy in 1960. He claims he received only a vague letter of apology. The Sioux City Diocese has since distributed a press release, saying there is much more to the story than Mr. Lennon detailed. They expressed deep regret over what he had to go through at the hands of Murphy, but also point out that a settlement was reached with Lennon in August of 2016. In addition, Lennon penned two letters to the Diocese, in the first saying, “[I am] pleased to receive your offer of support and compensation. I accept with thanks to you and the review board. […] I also appreciate your apology. Your expression and apology are meaningful and important to me.” In the second, he again wrote of his gratitude for the monetary award and what it could do to further his healing as well as the apology, even though he was also feeling sadness at reliving his suffering. Bishop R. Walker Nickless responded to Lennon, saying even though the settlement cannot undo the harm, they pray he will find a sense of resolution, restitution and justice. In addition, the Diocese counters the accusations against DiNardo, saying Murphy died 17 years before DiNardo was made Bishop and that the allegations came out after he had left. As for the claims against former priests, George McFadden and Jerome Coyle, DiNardo had McFadden removed from the ministry in 2001 and Coyle had been out of the priesthood for 11 years when DiNardo was ordained Bishop. The Diocese wants it to be known they apologize to all victims of abuse and are working diligently to release a listing of clergy who have substantiated allegations of sexual misconduct with minors against them. They too are urging victims to come forward through the Victim’s Assistance hotline numbers, which can be found below.
Victim’s Assistance Hotline: 866-435-4397 or 712-279-5610