Media Statements

MO--Jesuits fail to keep the predator priest out of public ministry

For immediate release: Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016

Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 503 0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)

Two women sued the ex-president of St. Louis University because he abused them. Both cases have just settled (one for $200,000, the other for $82,000).

And one of the cases is only the second of its type anywhere, as best we can tell, and could open the door to more cases against Catholic officials. It charges that Jesuits violated a contract they made with the victim to keep the predator priest out of public ministry.

We applaud both of them for their courage, their persistence and their concern for others who may be hurt or betrayed by Jesuits.

http://www.riverfronttimes.com/newsblog/2016/01/06/jesuits-to-pay-281k-to-settle-lawsuits-against-former-slu-president-daniel-oconnell

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GA--Bishop who hid child sex crimes passes

For immediate release Monday, January 4

Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 503 0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)

Bishop Raymond Lessard, who was bishop of Savannah for twenty-two years, has passed away. We hope he will be not be buried with “full honors” given his record of concealing child sex crimes.   

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IL--End the silence

Statement by Eric Johnson, victim of Fr. Bruce Wellems

Silence should never be a choice when it comes to any case of sexual abuse. Turning your back and doing nothing only allows the predator to gain skill in his craft, while allowing the cycle to continue. 

For the past 20+ years, I have tried to inform people about Wellems, only to be met with walls of silence, denial, and lies. His attitude of “that was the culture back then” and his excuse of “behavior I exhibited as a teenager was taught behavior” is reprehensible.

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IL--Admitted predator priest is still on the job; Victims respond

Statement by Barbara Blaine of Chicago, president of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (312 399 4747bblaine@SNAPnetwork.org)

Chicago Archbishop Cupich and LA Archbishop Gomez can’t be trusted to keep their promises.

In a long and troubling new article, the Chicago Tribune asks “Should Chicago priest return to ministry after revelations of teen misconduct?”

To be concise, the answer is no.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-chicago-priest-past-abuse-met-20160102-story.html#

Fr. Bruce Wellems admits repeatedly sexually abusing a seven-year-old boy. At the time, Wellems was an older teenager. When confronted with these facts in Los Angeles, Fr. Wellems attacked the messenger, saying reports of his abusive acts had “no factual basis.”

http://www.pasadenastarnews.com/social-affairs/20140910/san-gabriel-priests-past-misconduct-detailed-in-letters-called-smoking-gun

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IL-A second disgraced Illinois Catholic bishop passed away

For immediate release: Saturday, Jan. 2, 2016

Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those abused by Priests (314 566 9790davidgclohessy@gmail.com)

A second disgraced bishop from Joliet has passed away. We hope Catholic officials will show compassion to abuse victims and betrayed Catholics by avoiding a funeral service with full honors. Restraint would be appropriate unless the church hierarchy wants to deepen already deep wounds.

http://www.sj-r.com/news/20160101/former-springfield-bishop-ryan-dies-at-85-

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MO--Second-ever clergy "contract breach" suit is precedent-setting and encouraging, SNAP says

For immediate release: Thursday, Dec. 31, 2015

Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 503 0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)

A woman who was sexually abused by a Jesuit who became the president of St. Louis University has become the second victim to settle a “breach of contract” case against Catholic officials. We applaud her for her courage, her persistence and her concern for others who may be hurt or betrayed by Jesuits.

These highly unusual abuse and breach of contract lawsuits are very encouraging. We hope and believe other victims will start using this tactic.

--In this just-settled case, a New York woman was sexually violated by Fr. Daniel O’Connell (then a professor, later the president of SLU), who is believed to still be living in St. Louis. According to the New York Times, Fr. O’Connell “was accused of sexually assaulting a 20-year-old college student in 1983.”  In 2003, his Jesuit supervisors “found the accusation credible,” paid her $181,000 settlement and agreed to remove O'Connell “from a teaching post at another Jesuit institution” and bar him “from public ministry” or any activity in which he could develop a relationship with a woman.  

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/30/nyregion/30jesuit.html?_r=2&

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PA--Victims group applauds charges vs. Cosby

For immediate release: Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2015

Statement by Barbara Blaine of Chicago, SNAP president (312-399-4747bblaine@snapnetwork.org)

Finally, Bill Cosby faces criminal charges. This should have happened ages ago. But we’re grateful it’s happening now. And it should prod more victims and more prosecutors to take more action against more rapists.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/people/2015/12/30/bill-cosby-charged-2004-pa-sexual-assault/78069794/

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PA--Two colleges must rescind Bill Cosby honor, victims say

For immediate release: Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2015

Statement by Karen Polesir of Ambler, SNAP leader (267-992-9463karenpolesir@yahoo.com)

As the year ends, there’s no better time than now for Temple and Cheyney universities to rescind honors the schools have given to disgraced rapist Bill Cosby. It would help victims of sexual violence heal. And it would help prevent more sexual violence, by making it easier for rape victims to report these heinous crimes.

http://www.delcotimes.com/general-news/20151207/swarthmore-revokes-bill-cosbys-honorary-degree

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IL--Victims deplore “full honors” funeral for complicit bishop

For immediate release: Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2015

Statement by Kate Bochte, SNAP leader, Geneva IL 630-768-1860, keight@sbcglobal.net

Today, a deceased Joliet Catholic bishop will apparently be buried with “full honors” while dozens of church officials and hundreds of church members look on and quietly tolerate this hurtful injustice.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/daily-southtown/news/ct-sta-bishop-imesch-wake-st-1229-20151228-story.html

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PA--Victims applaud DA’s decision to appeal priest abuse case

For immediate release: Monday, Dec. 28, 2015

Statement by Karen Polesir of Amber, SNAP Philly director (267-992-9463karenpolesir@yahoo.com)

We’re grateful that Philly prosecutors continue defending the conviction of a high ranking Catholic official who helped conceal clergy sex crimes. We hope Seth Williams prevails in his latest move to hold Msgr. William Lynn responsible for his devious and hurtful cover ups.

http://mobile.philly.com/beta?wss=/philly/news&id=363649181

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IL--Victims ask college to rescind bishop's honor

For immediate release Thursday, December 24, 2015

Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those abused by Priests (314 566 9790davidgclohessy@gmail.com)

A Joliet college should end its practice of honoring a disgraced, just-deceased Catholic bishop.
http://patch.com/illinois/joliet/university-st-francis-dishonors-priest-abuse-survivors-honoring-bishop-joseph-0

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Vatican--Victims dismiss papal meeting with Mexican survivors

For immediate release, December 24, 2015

Statement by David Clohessy of SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, davidgclohessy@gmail.com)

Pope Francis will supposedly meet with clergy sex abuse victims in Mexico in February. We are not impressed. Instead of creating public relations opportunities by meeting with victims, Francis should be taking decisive action to reduce the number of victims.
http://www.ansa.it/english/news/vatican/2015/12/24/pope-to-meet-sex-abuse-victims-in-mexico_823601f9-c193-4f6b-a6f3-d0a9bd3acad2.html

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