Friday, August 19, 2011

Texas churches on alert after threatening calls

Staff and members of Catholic churches in Arlington and Fort Worth are being asked to be vigilant because of two threatening phone messages left for priests.
"Both threats related to priests abusing children," said Pat Svacina, a spokesman for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth. "And one might be considered a death threat, the way the language was couched."
The threats were received at two churches within an hour of each other Aug. 8, Svacina said.
"Each parish has adjusted and is preparing its own security measures," Svacina said. "This is out of an abundance of caution. If anything transpires, we can take appropriate action."
According to a Fort Worth police report, Bishop Kevin Vann met with a police officer the day after the threat was received at the Fort Worth church. The caller had chosen a voice mail option that allowed him to leave a message with a priest. The caller said he had been abused by a priest as a child and was coming to the church to kill a priest, according to the report.
An Arlington police report was not immediately available Thursday.
David Clohessy of St. Louis, director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said he could remember only two times in the past 30 years when someone who had been abused by a priest had threatened to harm or harmed a priest.
"It's never OK, even if you have been molested, to inflict violence on another person," Clohessy said. "If a clergy sex abuse victim is making these threats, we beg him or her to call us or a therapist for help right away."

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