MD - Priest, accused of abuse in Baltimore, gets “off the hook"
For immediate release: Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013
Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, SNAPclohessy@aol.com)
A credibly accused predator priest who spent time at three institutions in Baltimore and is accused of molesting in Maryland got “off the hook” yesterday when a court ruling ended a lawsuit against him and his church supervisors.
Fr. Raymond P. Melville worked at Our Lady of Good Counsel parish in Locust Point (1980 to 1984), the University of Maryland Hospital (1982 to 1983), and attended the University of Baltimore and St. Mary's Seminary (1979 to 1985). Fr. Melville’s been accused of abusing while at the seminary (as well as in Maine).
He spent much of his clerical career in Maine. Yesterday, the Maine Supreme Court ruled that a civil suit charging that the Maine Catholic hierarchy should have disclosed Fr. Melville’s crimes should be tossed out.
It’s heart-breaking every time a clergy sex abuse victim is denied his or her day in court. It’s disturbing every time a Catholic official seeks to keep clergy sex crimes hidden by exploiting legal loopholes. And it’s especially disturbing when those Catholic officials succeed.
We hope anyone who saw suspected or suffered Fr. Melville’s crimes – in Maryland or Maine – will find the courage to call police, expose wrongdoing, protect kids, deter cover ups and start healing.
The Maine attorney who represents Fr. Melville’s victim is Sumner Lipman of Augusta.
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.