Canada- Catholic official pleads guilty to child sex crimes
For Immediate Release: Monday, Aug. 18, 2014
Victims urge Catholic group to do outreach
Its former official faces sentencing in sex case
Ottawa man was former head of Catholic youth group
He just pleaded guilty in 1984 child sexual assault case
In 2002, a civil case against him & Knights of Columbus was settled
Group says Knights should prod others who were hurt to “come forward, get help, and call police”
A support group for clergy sex abuse victims is urging a Catholic men’s organization to help find others who may have been sexually assaulted by an Ottawa man who pleaded guilty last week to child sex crimes.
Leaders of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests are writing the head of the New Haven Connecticut-based Knights of Columbus, prodding them to “do aggressive outreach” to seek out “others who may have seen, suspected or suffered abuse” by Steve Fagan. For years, Fagan, who pleaded guilty last Monday to sexually assaulting a boy in 1984, was the State Chair of the Knights' Ontario youth auxiliary.
Fagan will face a sentencing hearing on October 17 and “such outreach may help prosecutors convince the judge to levy an appropriate sentence,” SNAP's letter said.
"The justice system works best, and kids are protected best, when judges have more information about child molesters before they are punished," said David Clohessy of SNAP. "If there are others victims of Fagan out there, the least the Knights can do is find them and urge them to contact Crown officials in the next few weeks."
The Crown is seeking a six month jail sentence, two years' probation, that Fagan be listed on the sex offender registry.
Fagan was arrested November or December of 2013 for the sexual assault of a boy. At the time of the assault, Fagan was a member of the Knight of Columbus and State Chairman for the Ontario Columbian Squires. The Knights are a 1.8 million member Catholic men's organization and the Squires are the Knights' youth auxiliary. http://www.kofc.org/un/en/squires/index.html.
Fagan used his position as provincial director to target and molest a boy who was a member of the organization. That individual, now in his 40s read a 'victim impact statement' at the hearing in Kingston.
Members of SNAP are also saluting the victim's bravery and tenacity. They also applaud prosecutors, who pursued the case when many other might have passed.
“It takes real courage to step forward, report abuse and seek justice when you've been sexually violated as a child,” said Brenda Brunelle of Windsor, Canada. She's SNAP's Windsor leader. “This courageous young man has successfully stepped forward twice - in both criminal and civil court – and children are safer because of him.”
"All too often, victims hear that they cannot use the criminal courts because too much time has passed," said David Clohessy of SNAP. "The fact that prosecutors pursued this case shows that's not always the case. Smart and determined police and prosecutors can often successfully pursue even older child sex crimes. But first, victims must find the courage and strength to speak up."
SNAP believes that Fagan was expelled from the Knights of Columbus in late 1992 or early 1993.
The hearing was at the Kingston, Ontario Courthouse at 279 Wellington Street, Courtroom 3. Justice Letourneau presided and Assistant Crown Attorney Elisabeth Foxton was the prosecutor.
A copy of SNAP's letter to the Knights is below:
August 18, 2014
New Haven, CT 06510
Dear Mr. Anderson:
We are members of a support group called SNAP (the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests). Our mission is to protect the vulnerable and heal the wounded. We are begging you to do this as well, by taking decisive action to safeguard kids and reaching out to victims.
As you may know, Steve Fagan for years was the State Chair of the Knights' Ontario youth auxiliary. Fagan pleaded guilty last Monday to sexually assaulting a boy in 1984 and is set to be sentenced in October.
Fagan was arrested in November or December of 2013 for the sexual assault of a boy. At the time of the assault, he was a member of the Knight of Columbus and State Chairman for the Ontario Columbian Squires. Fagan used his position as provincial director to target and molest a boy who was a member of the organization and it is likely there are other victims.
We want you to do aggressive outreach to anyone who saw, suspects or suffered crimes by Fagan and urge them to contact secular officials. This kind of outreach may help prosecutors convince the judge to levy an appropriate sentence.
The justice system works best, and kids are protected best, when judges have more information about child molesters before they are punished, if there are others victims of Fagan out there, the least the Knights can do is find them and urge them to contact Crown officials in the next few weeks.
We also want you to publicly release any records you have on Fagan.
We hope you will show real courage and compassion by working hard to prevent future crimes and cover ups and find and help other victims who continue to suffer in silence, shame and self-blame.
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
Note to Letter Writers
Use your own words and style of writing. Cut and paste from the templates as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you were abused in or state now living in.