GA--“Damning church document” surfaces
“Damning church document” surfaces
It’s about Georgia’s most notorious predator priest
In 1980s, he admitted his crimes to 4 church officials
“He could have been stopped long ago,” group charges
SNAP: Memo shows Boston-style cover ups happened here
Victims also release list of 6 “largely unknown” Atlanta pedophiles
“Virtually none of them have attracted local attention,” group says
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will disclose a “damning” never-before-seen internal church memo showing that four top Georgia Catholic officials heard the state’s most notorious predator priest admit abusing kids decades ago, but they told no one and kept him on the job for years, allowing him to assault more children, and
They will also disclose a list of six predator priests who worked or spent time in Atlanta, been but have gotten little - if any - public attention in Georgia.
And they will also prod Catholic officials to post on church websites, “for the safety of kids,” the names, photos and whereabouts of child molesting clerics, like roughly 30 US bishops have done.
Monday, April 4 at 1:00 pm
On the sidewalk in front of Atlanta Catholic Cathedral of Christ the King, 2699 Peachtree Road, Atlanta, GA 30305
Four to five members of a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, including a Chicago woman who is the organization’s founder
1. SNAP is releasing a long-secret, four-page transcript of a meeting of four top Georgia Catholic officials about law enforcement inquiries into alleged child sex crimes of Fr. Wayland Yoder Brown, Georgia’s most notorious serial predator priest who was later pled guilty in 2002 to charges of child abuse and battery for performing sexual acts on a teenage boy and his younger brother between 1974 and 1977.
(A civil suit is pending against Fr. Brown now. Another civil suit against him, brought by Allan Ranta of Atlanta, settled for $4.3 million.)
During the meeting, Fr. Brown admits having “touched” boys. He also discloses that in one church assignment he “avoided that kind of thing” but in another he “did not” and admits taking an Albany boy on a trip to Atlanta. The boy’s mom later asked Fr. Brown to “end his relationship” with the child and that was “not an amicable resolution.”
The bishop tells the accused predator he’s gotten three calls from police in Richmond County about Fr. Brown and that “law enforcement officials in another county” are “seeking information about you.”
Years later, when Fr. Brown was being sentenced, a Georgia sheriff's sergeant said that the bishop “did not cooperate in a sex-abuse investigation of Brown in 1986 and that Fr. Brown could not be questioned because Lessard "sent him to an unknown location for an indefinite amount of time," according to the Washington Post.
Five individuals were at the 1986 meeting: then Savannah Bishop Raymond Lessard, then chancellor Fr. Jeremiah J. McCarthy, then vicar general Fr. William Simmons, diocesan defense lawyer Joseph Brennan and Fr. Brown.
Fr. Simmons is deceased. Bishop Lessard passed away in January.
Fr. Brown worked at Catholic churches in Savannah, Augusta, Moultrie, Camilla and Isle of Hope. He also worked at a Reidsville prison and at Augusta’s University Hospital and a church in Maryland. Fr. Brown spent time at St. Luke’s, a church-run treatment center in Maryland for sexually troubled clerics.
2. SNAP has discovered six proven, admitted or credibly accused predator priests who assaulted kids elsewhere but were also in Atlanta. Though the allegations against them generated sometimes considerable media coverage in other states, the men remain largely “under the radar” in Georgia. SNAP wants Georgia’s two Catholic bishops to warn the public about these clerics and aggressively seek out anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered their crimes.
The six largely unknown predator priests who worked and/or lived in Atlanta include: Fr. Charles G. Coyle, Fr. Charles Arnold Bartles, Fr. William Groves, Fr. Jonathan W. Franklin, Fr. Anthony Jablonowski and Fr. Robert D. Huneke. Two of them (Groves and Jablonowski) were criminally convicted. One (Franklin) was charged but died before trial and another (Keating) faces a pending civil lawsuit. (Photos of Jablonowski and Huneke are available at BishopAccountability.org.)
SNAP also wants the bishops of Atlanta and Savannah to permanently post on their websites the names, photos and work histories of every child molesting cleric who has ever spent time in the state (whether living or deceased, whether diocesan or religious order, whether priest, nun, bishop, brother or seminarian). Roughly 30 US bishops have done this. It’s “the quickest, cheapest and best way to protect kids immediately protect kids from predator priests,” SNAP says.
SNAP will be Representing Clergy Abuse Survivors in Rome!
We are taking the fight to Rome and are standing up for all survivors on a world stage! From February 19-25, Board President Tim Lennon, Seattle Leader Mary Dispenza, Los Angeles Leader Esther Hatfield Miller and Austin Leader Carol Midboe will be traveling to Rome for Pope Francis' Papal Abuse Summit.
If you are a member of the media and looking to get in touch with these survivors while in Rome, click here for our media advisory and contact information. If you are interested in connecting with a survivor in the US from your area of coverage, please contact one of the SNAP leaders in the US listed below:
- East Coast/DC: Becky Ianni (SNAPvirginia@cox.net, 703-801-6044)
- Midwest/Chicago: Zach Hiner (email@example.com, 517-974-9009)
- Midwest/St. Louis: David Clohessy (firstname.lastname@example.org, 314314-566-9790)
- West Coast / San Francisco: Melanie Sakoda (email@example.com, 925-708-6175)
If you are looking to help spread the word about the importance of this summit and for survivors to be heard, add your voice to the conversation on social media using the hashtag #PBC2019. Be sure to follow SNAP on twitter and Facebook and share our posts, add your comments, and let the world know that we are watching!Learn More