Prevent and Stop Catholic Priest Abuse against woman in the Archdiocese of Toronto
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A couple of months ago, an an abuse complaint was made against Fr. Michael Mutinda, Consolata Missionary priest serving the St Andrews Church, in the Archdiocese of Toronto, after he viciously physically assaulted a woman, forcibly held them in his car and took away their wallet and phone so they would not call call for help.
The family of the victim being Catholics reported the abuse to the Archdiocese following the procedures of the "safe environment policy" as laid out by the Archdiocese.
What followed then were efforts to silence the vulnerable victim through coercion and manipulation through incentives only known to them. She would soon refuse to talk to anyone about her ordeal, and maintained she wanted it all to go away. They had the victim sign documents without witnesses or representation. Efforts by the family to follow up and seek justice for the victim were shut down and those involved in the process claimed that the victim was an adult and doesn't need others to speak for her. Alienating the victim from her family and friends so that they can cover the actions of a rogue priest. We can all agree on one thing, as adults, we can consent to a lot of things but physical assault is not one of them.
As the time of writing this petition, the investigation is "ongoing" though all materials available were presented to the justice vicar and the Priest is still going on with his "priestly duties".
As someone with first hand knowledge of the incident, I cannot sit this one out. I do not have to wait ten years to talk or for justice to be served to those like this victim and others that we do not know about. As a Catholic, I cannot get mad and embarrassed every time I hear reports of priest abuse cover -ups and then sit quietly when it hits close to home. I can be the change. I can start by calling out the aggressors within our Church and asking others faithfuls to do the same and take the discussion out of our living rooms or break rooms. Lets take this discussion to the church leaders. We know these abuses are happening, so what will our leaders do about them now? Not ten years and more victims later, but right now?
First and foremost, we (family and friends of the victim) seek justice for the her and not just the type where they transfer the priest to another place, which would just be relocating the abuse, but for them, once they establish that a crime was committed, to take the responsibility of reporting it to the authorities.
If this priest is to be transferred (to protect the victim(s), the then people in the churches that he is leaving from and going to need to know why, they need to be informed what type of person is serving them. They need to held accountable. I believe that is the one way we can lay bare the abuse issues plaguing the Catholic Church and restore faith and trust within the church community.
Secondly, based on my experience on this issue, I would like to request the Archiodece of Toronto to revise their safe environment policy, to make it easier for victim to come forward and for whistleblowers to be protected. Priests cannot police themselves. At the end of the day, they have their own interests at heart. I believe the current policy makes it easier to quickly silence the victim and contain the issue. The aim should not be to contain the complaints. It should be to serve justice to the abused and protect the vulnerable people in our church community – adults and children alike.
Please sign this petition and implore His Eminence Cardinal Collins, to ensure that justice for this victim is served and request him to open a dialogue of how such abuses are reported in a manner that minimizes manipulation, intimidation or cover-ups. Find a way to carve a path forward and start healing the Church – albeit locally.
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