Controversial Vatican official in St. Louis today; SNAP protests
- Controversial Cardinal returns here
- Burke headed archdiocese & was promoted
- Clergy sex abuse victims will hand out leaflets
- They want him to stop Carlson’s “legal hardball”
- Local Catholic officials want 19 year old girl’s e mails
- Event is at church where now-serial child predator worked
- Convicted of abuse, Catholic officials moved him to another parish
- There, as recently as 2001, he molested again; now he’s allegedly missing
As parishioners enter a church service led by the top American official at the Vatican, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will hand out fliers. The leaflets urge local parishioners to contact St. Louis’ archbishop and insist that he
-- stop demanding the private e mails of a teenaged child sex crime victim, and
-- fire or discipline his lawyers for using similar hardball tactics with other victims.
The leaflets also urge the Vatican official, Cardinal Raymond Burke, to intercede on the teenager’s behalf.
And victims are urging parishioners to ask their loved ones if they saw, suspected or suffered child sex crimes by the once-convicted priest (and if so, to beg those individuals to “step forward, call police, protect kids, and get help.”
Today, Tuesday, January 31, 4:30 p.m.
Outside of St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church, 2653 Ohio Avenue (near Gravois & Jefferson), St. Louis MO
Four-five clergy sex abuse victims who belong to a confidential support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org) including the organization’s long time director
Through his lawyers, St. Louis Archbishop Robert Carlson is demanding that SNAP turn over perhaps hundreds of pages of the group’s confidential records, including emails to and from a now 19 year old who was repeatedly raped nine years ago by a priest. The demand, SNAP says, is “invasive, chilling, and designed to discourage victims, witnesses, whistleblowers, police, prosecutors and journalists” from contacting g the group for help.
The demand arises from a civil lawsuit called “Jane Doe v. Fr. Joseph D. Ross and the St. Louis archdiocese.” It charges that Ross molested a girl from 1997-2001 at St. Cronan’s Catholic Church in the Grove neighborhood of St. Louis city. In 1988, Ross pled guilty to sexually assaulting an 11 year old boy. But after his sentence was completed, Catholic officials quietly put Ross at St. Cronan’s and warned no one of his criminal past. Ross worked as recently as 2002. His current whereabouts are unknown. (And he worked at this church, St. Francis de Sales.)
SNAP believes that this intrusion into the private messages and writings of a child rape survivor is “unwarranted,
unnecessary, and hurtful.” They are calling on Archbishop Carlson to call off these hardball tactics immediately. And they want Cardinal Raymond Burke to forbid Carlson from using this “mean-spirited” legal tactic.
The demand for document is the second time in recent weeks – and only the second time in SNAP’s 23 year existence – that a staff member has been subpoenaed and private records have been sought by church officials. The first came in a Kansas City case, “John Doe v. Fr. Michael Tierney and the Kansas City diocese.”
SNAP is not a party to either lawsuit.
Ross has been defrocked. In recent years, he lived in Arkansas. Ross worked in this archdiocese for 30+ years in University City, Lemay, Pacific, Woodson Terrace and St. Louis city.
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.
The Attorneys General of forty states have inquired about the grand jury process in Pennsylvania. Let's get statewide investigations going in fifty states.
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.