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A press release issued by SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) says the group plans a protest and press conference today outside the Chicago Archdiocesan headquarters, 835 N Rush St Chicago, over the City of Burbank’s employment of Fr. Robert Stepek as Police Department counselor. (see Chicago Tribune story below).
The SNAP press release, in part reads:
A suspended predator priest – accused of molesting at least three children – now sometimes works around children, because of Burbank city officials and Chicago Catholic officials, SNAP says.
Fr. Robert Stepek now works with the Burbank police department in Burbank “counseling grieving families” and “helping victims who sometimes included children,” according to today’s Chicago Tribune.
Both church and city authorities are to blame here and should take immediate action, SNAP says.
The group wants Burbank Mayor Harry Klein and Police Chief Bruce Radowicz to fire Fr. Stepek and Cardinal Francis George to publicly release details on Fr. Stepek’s alleged crimes and personally visit Fr. Stepek’s former parishes and explain why key archdiocesan staffare convinced Fr. Stepek is a child molester.
SNAP says that the on-going secrecy of top Chicago archdiocesan staffers – including Cardinal George – helps child molesters- perhaps dozens of them - get secular jobs, sometimes around kids.
In a similar situation, just a few months ago, SNAP exposed that another suspended predator priest, Fr. Russell Romano, was quietly working as a counselor at Advocate Health Care.
Several years ago, another suspended predator priest, Fr. John D. Murphy, was found working at Shedd Aquarium.
If clerics are deemed too dangerous to work in Catholic institutions, Cardinal George should not enable them to quietly slink off and get other jobs, SNAP says. Instead, he should warn prospective employers and the public about these child molesters.
Two victims of Fr. Stepek reported their abuse to the church only after church officials urged them to do so and after church officials pledged to protect their privacy. In October 2006, an archdiocesan panel deemed the men credible and in one month later, Cardinal George suspended Fr. Stepek as pastor of St. Albert the Great Catholic Church in Burbank Great (8000 S. Linder, Burbank, 708 423 0321), where he had worked for eight years. But weeks later, Stepek sued the two accusers for $1 million, alleging defamation. (Fr. Stepek lost that suit in 2009. At least two of his victims were paid a settlement.)
Most of Fr. Stepek’s alleged crimes happened at St. Symphorosa Catholic Church in Chicago's Clearing community in the 1980s.
In 2009, a Nebraska man, Tim Waters sued Fr. Stepek for allegedly sexually abused him when he was a teenagers in a parked car in Chicago. Waters’ family attended St. Christina’s parish in Chicago, where Fr. Stepek also worked.