Neither has been publicly accused before
Both victims speak out for the first time
One got a $750,000 settlement last year
SNAP urges archdiocesan outreach now
Catholic officials admit 5 allegations vs. one cleric
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, two clergy sex abuse victims will speak publicly for the first time about their abuse at that hands of two Chicago predator priests who have never been publicly accused before. (One victim received a $750,000 secret settlement last year.)
Advocates for clergy sex abuse victims will also blast Catholic officials for their continued secrecy about clergy sex crimes and will urge two church institutions to
--be more open and transparent about child molesting clerics, and
--post the names of all credibly accused clerics on church websites.
The victims will also
-- urge anyone who saw, suspected or suffered abuse, no matter how long ago, to come forward &
– urge parishioners to ask their friends and family if they were ever hurt by these two priests.
Thursday, July 31 at 2:30 p.m.
Outside the Chicago archdiocese headquarters,835 N. Rush St. (corner of Chestnut), Chicago, IL
Two clergy sex abuse victims (one local and one from out-of-state) who have never spoken publicly before and three- four other members of a self help group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org).
1) In 2005, Gail Peloquin Howard reported to Chicago archdiocesan officials that in 1964, as a teenager, she sought guidance from her pastor at Ascension parish in Oak Park, Msgr. John D. Fitzgerald, who sexually attacked her during that meeting and later he offered to pay her for one year of therapy.
That same year (2005), church staffer Leah McCluskey (who has dealt with hundreds of victims) told Howard that her report was “credible” but refused to publicly acknowledge this or publicly admit that Msgr. Fitzgerald had been accused of abuse. The archdiocese has paid for Howard's therapy.
Howard will provide five pages of correspondence between her and archdiocesan officials. She did not come forward until her mother, who worked for her perpetrator, passed away.
2) A Chicago man, who says he was abused by Fr. Donald J. O’Shaughnessy, has reached a $750,000 settlement with the priest's superiors in the Jesuit religious order. The victim is releasing a copy of his two page settlement agreement with church officials and a detailed four page letter from an attorney confirming that five others reported to the archdiocese that they too were abused by Fr. O'Shaughnessy.
Fr. O’Shaughnessy molested the m from 1977-1979 when he was a sophomore at Loyola Academy in Wilmette. Fr. O’Shaughnessy was the boy's school advisor and pulled him out of class daily. Fr. O'Shaughnessy also spent time at the Colombiere Center in Clarkston Michigan (in the Detroit Archdiocese) and Brebeuf Prep. School in Indianapolis Indiana.
He was “stripped of his faculties” and not allowed to work as a priest in 2004.
SNAP wants archdiocesan officials to admit both clerics were predators, post their names on the archdiocesan website and aggressively seek out and offer help to others who were abused by them and “may still be suffering in shame, silence and self-blame.” The group says church staff should use parish bulletins, church websites and pulpit announcements to do this.
SNAP wants Jesuit officials to do the same.
Fitzgerald's victim (Howard) now lives in Norwalk Connecticut and is allowing her name and face to be used publicly. O'Shaughnessy's victim (“John Doe”) now lives in the Chicago area but is NOT allowing his name or face to be used publicly. Both will speak at the event.
Chicago attorney Eugene Hollander (312-425-9100) represented O'Shaughnessy's victim. Mark L. Rotert is the lawyer who defended the O'Shaughnessy case. The mediator in that case was Joseph Casciato, a retired judge.
Msgr. Fitzgerald and Fr. O’Shaughnessy are deceased. (Fr. O'Shaughnessy passed away last year.)
Barbara Blaine 312 399 4747, SNAPblaine@gmail.com, Barbara Dorris 314-503-0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com, David Clohessy 314-566-9790 cell, SNAPclohessy@aol.com, Gail Howard 203 644 0387, firstname.lastname@example.org