PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A group supporting clergy sex abuse victims says Cardinal Rigali should be hiring outsiders to investigate why priests accused of abuse are still on the job.
Last week, Cardinal Rigali hired former sex crimes prosecutor and lifelong Catholic Gina Maisto Smith to investigate why as many as 34 clergy members accused of abuse were still in active ministry. Now, members of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), are calling on Rigali to fire Smith because her close ties to the church would prevent her from doing a credible investigation.
“We think Cardinal Rigali should be hiring independent non-Catholics, and those with experience in protecting children and working with the victims,” said Barbara Blaine, SNAP President.
The Archdiocese, in a statement, pointed out that Smith has resigned from her position on the Catholic Social Services board, and that District Attorney Seth Williams has praised her hiring. While Smith serves on the board of St. Gabriel’s Home where suspended priest Fr. Stephen Perzan allegedly molested children, the statement says Smith had no knowledge of his case and no oversight of the system.
Reported by Mike DeNardo, KYW Newsradio