GA--New abuse suit filed vs. Catholic predator
For immediate release: Friday, March 20
A new clergy sex abuse and cover up lawsuit has been filed against the Savannah Catholic diocese. It charges that a notorious serial predator – Fr. Wayland Brown – repeatedly assaulted a 13 year old boy in 1987-88 at St. James Catholic School in Savannah. The victim is represented by Savannah attorney Mark Tate, firstname.lastname@example.org, 912-484-1762
In an earlier civil case, a victim molested by Fr. Brown received a $4.2 million settlement.
Fr. Brown was ordained in 1977 but church records show that concerns about him go back as far as 1969. In 1986, for instance, at least one Catholic official knew Fr. Brown was being investigated for possible criminal child sex charges. But Fr. Brown was kept on the job and quietly shuffled around for years hurting children over and over again.
We applaud this brave, wounded man who is filing suit. It takes real courage to break his silence and expose the dreadfully reckless and callous actions Catholic officials took that repeatedly endangered innocent kids and helped a shrewd predator.
We hope this lawsuit will prod and inspire others who have been hurt by Brown and other clergy to call police, protect others and start healing.
When victims, whistleblowers and witnesses speak up, predators are exposed and children are protected. But when victims, whistleblowers and witnesses stay silent, predators walk free and kids are assaulted.
Brown once served prison time in Maryland for his crimes. We hope police and prosecutors are able to convict him again and keep this dangerous predator behind bars. But that will only happen if others who saw, suspected or suffered his crimes come forward.
We call on Savannah Catholic officials – including Bishop Gregory J. Hartmayer - to use their vast resources to reach out to others who were assaulted by Brown and who are likely still suffering in shame, silence and self-blame. Church staff should use parish bulletins, church websites and pulpit announcements to prod others in pain to step forward.
Brown worked in churches, hospitals and prisons in Augusta, Savannah, Moultrie, Camilla, and Isle of Hope. He also worked in Gaithersburg Maryland and spent time in a church treatment center in Suitland Maryland.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We were founded in 1988 and have more than 20,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
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.