AL -- Support Group Urges Birmingham Bishop to Act

AL -- Support Group Urges Birmingham Bishop to Act

Local priest faces child sex allegations

A civil suit has been filed & police report made

Support group urges Birmingham bishop to act

They want church official to “warn your flock” about cleric

SNAP: “Prelate should post names of all predators on websites”

WHAT

Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims will

--disclose that a local priest faces both criminal and civil child sex abuse accusations and

--release copies of a six page police report about the allegations against him.

They will also urge Birmingham’s Catholic bishop to  . . .

--suspend the priest and warn the public about him, and 

--explain why he let the accused priest stay on the job and hidden the allegations, and 

--post the names of all predator priests on church websites and in church bulletins.

The group will prod anyone who “saw, suspected or suffered” clergy sex crimes or cover ups in the Birmingham to area “step forward, get help, call police, expose wrongdoers, protect kids and start healing.”

WHEN

Tuesday, March 24 at 1:00 p.m.

WHERE

On the sidewalk outside the Cathedral of St Paul, 2120 3rd Avenue, North (corner of 22nd

Street N )  in Birmingham, AL

WHO

Two members of a self-help group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org), including a Missouri woman who is the organization’s long time outreach director

WHY

1)--A Birmingham Catholic priest faces both criminal child sex abuse charges and a civil child sex lawsuit but, as best SNAP can tell, there’s been no disclosure or public attention to this case and the accused cleric hasn't been suspended. It’s the only case like this the group is aware of anywhere in the US.

Almost 1.5 years ago, Fr. David Lawrence Stone (205-767-8384) was arrested in Jefferson County and accused of molesting a child younger than 12 years old. He also goes by the name “Francis Mary Stone.” The alleged victim is Fr. Stone’s child. 

A condition of his bond prohibits Fr. Stone from being around the child. Despite this, and despite the criminal charges against Fr. Stone, a Family Court judge refuses to "stay" the priest’s legal move to gain visitation privileges and custody of the child. 

“This is further victimizing a family that has already suffered enough,” said Barbara Dorris of SNAP. “Birmingham’s bishop should suspend Fr. Stone, warn his flock about Fr. Stone, and join with the victim’s mom in trying to keep Fr. Stone away from kids.”

According to the Official Catholic Directory, Fr. Stone has worked at Annunciation Friary in Birmingham and as a host of EWTN’s “Life on the Rock”   

He belongs to a small religious order called Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word. It was founded in 1987 by Mother Angelica, the founder of the Eternal Word Television Network. The order is tiny and is very closely intertwined with EWTN.   

Fr. Stone’s address is listed as 440 Stonebridge in Irondale, Alabama. He was born on June 06/11/60, ordained in 1998 and arrested in Oct. 2013. A photo of Fr. Stone will be available at the news conference.  

On his Linked In" profile, Fr. Stone calls himself an "advocate and advisor at DaveStoneInc.com” and a “Speaker, Preacher, Teacher, Counselor, Fundraiser, TV & Radio Host at Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN), an Alabama-based Catholic institution. He claims to be “a nationally known founder” with “an MA, MBA and over 15 years experience (sic) in full-time ministry working for the homebound and others of all ages - young and old alike.” He apparently also worked at Sam’s Club Inc., the US Census Bureau, The Leflko Group (in Troy, Michigan) and managing a tire & battery center. 

The criminal case is before Judge Katrina Ross. Prosecutors are Brandon Kent Falls (205 325 5252, fallsb@jccal.org) and Leigh Anne Gwathney (334 242 7300, lgwathney@ago.state.al.us). Fr. Stone’s defense lawyers are William Bradford (205 802 8823), Amber Ladner (205 802 8823) and Elizabeth Zwiebel. 

The civil attorneys who represent a victim of Fr. Stone are Scott Morro (205-631-6301, morrolawcenter@bellsouth.net) and Megan Sajjadieh (205-631-4019, 205-261-3169 cell, megansajjadieh@gmail.com), both of Gardendale.

2)--About 30 US bishops, usually under pressure, have posted names of proven, admitted and credibly accused predator priests on diocesan websites. http://www.bishop-accountability.org/AtAGlance/lists.htm

For “the safety of children and the healing of victims,” SNAP wants Bishop Robert Baker to “take this simple, inexpensive step toward openness and prevention.” 

According to BishopAccountability.org, an independent, Boston-based archive group, there are three publicly accused Birmingham diocese predator priests: Fr. Charles Bordenca, Fr. Kevin Cooke and Fr. Charles V. Cross. SNAP suspects there are at least a dozen more accused clerics whose crimes and identities remain hidden. 

The Birmingham diocese says it has 103,000 Catholics and 102 priests in 39 counties.

CONTACT

Barbara Dorris 314 503 0003, SNAPdorris@gmail.com, David Clohessy 314 566 9790, SNAPclohessy@aol.com, davidgclohessy@gmail.com

 

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