David Spotanski, a Layman, Was Chancellor of the Diocese of Belleville in 2002
In February 2002, as the US Catholic Church struggled with the Boston abuse scandal and similar revelations occurring across America like unexploded land mines, David Spotanski – then chancellor of Belleville – sent his boss an extensive memo outlining his concerns.
He presented it to then-Bishop Wilton Gregory on official diocesan letterhead in his private study, where he read it aloud behind closed doors.
Early Life and Education
David Spotanski began his career as a tire trimmer at General Tire in Mount Vernon, IL. He enjoyed interacting with people and offering assistance when needed.
He served a decade as the first lay Chief Operating Officer of the Atlanta Archdiocese and is now moving to Washington D.C., where he will collaborate again with Cardinal Wilton Gregory.
Early childhood education has evolved over time, with various beliefs and values shaping it. These include social welfare, family support, children learning through special experiences, and the idea that children should be able to reach their full potential while contributing to a cohesive culture.
David Spotanski was the chancellor for the Diocese of Belleville in Illinois and had the responsibility of upholding Christianity’s most essential duty: protecting children. He and the bishop were on the front lines of a local sex abuse crisis as severe as Boston but mostly invisible to the media.
At the same time, Spotanski was in the process of crafting what would become the church’s first national policy on child safety. A 10 page document printed on official diocesan letterhead that he presented to Wilton Gregory in his private study was proofread by Spotanski.
Achievement and Honors
David Spotanski was a pioneering figure in the restructuring of the Archdiocese of Atlanta that propelled it to new heights among archdioceses. Throughout his career, he held many hats but his crowning achievement was serving as Chief Operating Officer for nearly three years. Now, after leaving Atlanta’s Archdiocese, David will join former Atlanta archbishop Wilton D. Gregory in joining other influential figures in Washington D.C.
David Spotanski began his professional life as a science teacher and high school principal before making the move to Manhattan. He quickly made himself known for his knowledge of technology-related matters. But the best part of every day for him is spending time with his wife of 20 years, Sharon, and their three kids – making spending time together an absolute pleasure!
In 2002, as the national sexual abuse crisis unfolded, Spotanski’s diocese was also facing its own difficult period. Catholics were on edge after a local pastor was implicated in multiple cases of sexual abuse.
He noted that many people were afraid to return to church. This made him realize the significance of making sure his boss understood how lay people felt and what needed to be done.
That is when he wrote what would become a famous memo to his bishop, Wilton Gregory. In it, he outlined what the Church should do to safeguard children and included photos of his three children as proof.
At the height of Boston’s 2002 sex abuse crisis, as similar revelations swept across America like unexploded land mines, David Spotanski wrote an open letter to his chancellor boss that expressed his dissatisfaction and anger at how the Church handled the crisis. It became a document that became known as an icon of layman’s courage – Ross Douthat even described Spotanski as “the man who saved American Catholicism”. Nowadays he serves as Chief Operating Officer for Archdiocese of Atlanta while his wife Sharon has three children; their net worth estimated at $8 million.
Spotanski notes that the Southeast region of America is unique in that it still has many believers in their religious faiths.