SNAP urges archbishop to stand by his decision
by Krystal Paco
Guam - The termination of Father Paul Gofigan has caught the attention of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP). The group is asking Archbishop Anthony Apuron to stand by his decision to fire Father Gofigan, the Santa Barbara Church pastor. According to SNAP director David Clohessy, he says it's outrageous that any individual would rather put his career before the safety of children, let alone a man who is supposed to be considered as a community representative and leader.
As we reported the archbishop replaced Father Gofigan at the Dededo church because he alleges he failed to follow a directive he issued two years ago to fire a sex offender employed there.
The archbishop expressed concerns that the church is near a school. Father Gofigan responds to the statements made by SNAP. "Well, I'm concerned in the purpose of SNAP to keep our children safe those are really meant for true sexual predators especially those who have committed grave crimes over a numerous period of time in the case of some of the clerical sexual abuse I mean we've found that they abused so many people," he said.
Father Gofigan had said that he did in fact follow the directive and terminated the individual, but he was still active in the church as a volunteer. "This person was very young he was in his early twenties he was on drugs alcohol and this is what it does and he was very sorry for his crime and he repented and served his time," he said.
According to Father Gofigan the individual was convicted of rape and murder 32 years ago and the church should be forgiving, saying, "While SNAP has their agenda and I do agree yes let's keep the sexual predators out also lets look each at a case by case basis and really make that judgment this person has a history of not repeating this sex offense crime he only did it once."
He adds that SNAP shouldn't be too judgmental but continue in their role to keep the community safe. In regards to the individual he is adamant that the person is not a sexual predator and says he has not had any issues with the person while he was a volunteer. Father Gofigan meanwhile has obtained a canon lawyer as he plans to fight his termination from the Archdiocese of Agana.