Tag: Thomas J. Benestad

florida clergy abuse sexual

Why You Should Care About These Men Who Came to Florida

Bear with us a bit and we’ll tell you who these guys are and why you should know about them.

Hugh Behan left Jefferson City MO, coming to Orlando. So did Martin McCamley who was from Altoona PA. Walter Coleman was in Bridgeport CT but moved to Miami. So did George Zirwas of Pittsburgh PA. Robert J. Brague left Scranton PA for Naples. Richard J. Giuliani left Allentown PA for St. Augustine.

Some moved multiple times. John J. Whiteley of St. Louis MO moved Venice and then Miami. Thomas J. Benestad left Allentown PA and moved to Boca Raton and then Palm Beach.

Timothy Sperber left Harrisburg PA, moving to Plantation, Pembroke Pines, Miami, Venice and Punta Gorda. And Robert E. Spangenberg moved even more – from Pennsylvania, Illinois, Michigan, North Carolina and South Carolina before ending up in Sarasota.

Similarly, John (Jerry) Kucan was in four Pennsylvania towns (Sharon, Bethlehem, Steelton and Beaver Falls), two Wisconsin towns in Wisconsin and two Illinois towns before finding his way to the Sunshine State.

Not to be outdone, however, is Roger A. Sinclair who also spent time in four Pennsylvania towns (Connellsville, Latrobe, Uniontown and Kittanning) then joined the military and moved to California, Kansas, Virginia, Massachusetts, Oregon and ultimately Florida.

Finally, there are other men who – like Kucan and Sinclair- who moved south to unknown Florida towns: John Phillip Schanz (from Erie PA), Stanley M. Gana (from Philadelphia), Roger J. Trott (from Greensburg PA), and Ferdinand B. Demsher and Bernard J. Kaczmarczyk (both from Pittsburgh).

Who are these guys?

Each one is a proven, admitted or credibly accused child molesting Catholic cleric.

And here’s where this gets interesting:

We learned ALL of this from secular sources (mainstream media accounts and law enforcement reports.)

We learned NONE of this from Catholic officials.

“How can this be?” you might ask. “All US bishops have long promised to be ‘open and transparent’ about abuse. In fact, in 2002, they all signed on to a supposedly-binding national ‘charter’ that mandates this kind of disclosure. And many of them have posted predators’ names and assignments on their websites. How come these transfers and moves can still be kept hidden?”

The answer: making promises and keeping promises are not the same.

“Well, who are these ‘secular sources’ you cite and how reliable are they?” you might ask.

They are all publicly-available reports issued in recent years by law enforcement officials and/or a credible, Massachusetts-based non-profit called BishopAccountability.org, which bases its information on court records and mainstream media accounts. (Please check out their outstanding website. And look for the tab on the left hand side of their home page called “Grand Jury and Other Reports.”)

“Wait,” you might ask “Were these child molesters SENT here by bishops or did they move here on their own?”

Some of both. But here’s OUR question: “Does that matter? Almost two decades ago, bishops said they’d start being more honest and forthcoming about predator priests. Don’t they have a moral and civic duty to warn parents, police, prosecutors, parishioners and the public about potentially dangerous men in their jurisdictions, no matter how they got there?”

And one final question: “Who’s responsible for this continued and reckless secrecy and what can be done about it?”

Those answers will come soon in another blog. So please check back with us soon.