Advocacy group faults bishop's response on abusive priest | Arkansas Blog

Friday, November 7, 2014

Advocacy group faults bishop's response on abusive priest

Posted By on Fri, Nov 7, 2014 at 9:36 AM

SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) plans a demonstration Saturday at Little Rock Catholic diocese over what it believes is an inadequate response by Bishop Anthony Taylor to the case of an abusive priest.

Taylor announced in late September that a Yell County priest, James Melnick, had been permanently removed from the ministry after admitting "multiple acts of sexual misconduct with multiple adult victims." The bishop apologized and called for any others with information about misconduct to come forward.

SNAP says Taylor should give more details about when abuse reports first surfaced, "so parishioners and the public know whether church officials addressed the matter promptly or tried to keep it quiet for weeks or months."

SNAP also said Taylor should disclose Melnick's whereabouts. It contends he hasn't yet been officially defrocked, which means he's still in the church's employ and Taylor must know where he is.

Even if Melnick hasn't committed a crime — though in some other states it's illegal for clergy to have sexual contact with congregants — SNAP suggests there could be questions about witness tampering, destruction of evidence, intimidation of witnesses and obstruction of justice. It wants Taylor to urge anyone who's seen or suspected misconduct to contact, not the church, but law enforcement.

SNAP also wants the bishop to post on church websites the names of all proven, admitted and credibly accused child-molesting clerics who've lived or worked in Arkansas. It said about 30 other bishops in the U.S. had done this. It's a safeguard for others, SNAP said. lists two Arkansas clerics accused of abusing children. Melnick and one other have been accused of abusing adults.

SNAP also points people to a blog written by Arkansan William Lindsey. He comments on the bishop's removal of Melnick at the time the bishop was making a public entry into the same-sex marriage lawsuit on the side of opposing same-sex marriage. Melnick's abusive acts occurred, Lindsey notes, while Melnick was himself writing on a personal blog against same-sex marriage. Melnick's blog no longer appears on the web, but Lindsey says of Melnick's writing:

How can you possibly write with a straight face, "Fertility is not a requirement for marriage, but being able to engage in the marital act, consummating the marriage through sex, is." With a college education and advanced degrees in the field of theology, can you really be completely unaware that there are, indeed, heterosexual couples who cannot "engage in the marital act"? How can you be so spectacularly misinformed, when you have studied "marriage and the family" (!) at the prestigious Pontifical North American College in Rome and at the John Paul II Institute? 

Tags: , , ,


Comments (2)

Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Manafort will offer no defense case

    The prosecution has rested and the defense says it will call no witnesses in the fraud trial of Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort. A local defense lawyer thinks he's toast.
    • Aug 14, 2018
  • Frank Scott adds name to mayor's race

    There are now officially four candidates for Little Rock mayor with Frank Scott Jr.'s filing on Monday.
    • Aug 14, 2018
  • Frank Broyles remembered in film

    A 14-minute film on the late Frank Broyles, Razorback football coach and athletic director, is now online on the UA website.
    • Aug 14, 2018
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Trump immigration protest at LR: Quick and fierce

    It was not even 24 hours ago that Sophia Said, director of the Interfaith Center; City Director Kathy Webb and others decided to organize a protest today of Donald Trump's executive order that has left people from Muslim countries languishing in airports or unable to come to the US at all — people with visas, green cards,a  post-doc graduate student en route to Harvard, Google employees abroad, families. I got the message today before noon; others didn't find out until it was going on. But however folks found out, they turned out in huge numbers, more than thousand men, women and children, on the grounds of the state Capitol to listen to speakers from all faiths and many countries.
    • Jan 29, 2017
  • LR Police Chief Buckner in running for Charleston, S.C. job

    KATV reports that Little Rock Police Chief Kenton Buckner is one of five finalists for the job of police chief in Charleston, S.C., and will be visit Charleston next week as part of the process.
    • Feb 2, 2018
  • Your daily dose of Jason Rapert

    Sen. Jason Rapert really, really didn't like it when a KATV reporter asked him about the hypocrisy of his political arguments.
    • Feb 4, 2017

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments



© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation