Media Statements

AK--Anchorage archbishop had “terrible” record on abuse, group says

For immediate release: Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016
Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those abused by Priests (314 566 9790davidgclohessy@gmail.com
Before praising Alaska Archbishop Francis Hurley too much, Catholics and citizens should recall that he repeatedly put children in harm’s way, by quietly bringing a Michigan predator priest and a New Mexico predator bishop to work in Alaska while warning no one about their crimes.
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AZ--Ex minister on the run from the law in abuse case

For immediate release: Tuesday, Jan. 12, 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 minister who worked in Mesa and abused and impregnated a teen is wanted by the law. We beg anyone in Arizona who may have seen, suspected or suffered his crimes to call police immediately.

http://www.phillymag.com/news/2016/01/11/chesco-pastor-rape/

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VA--Survivors call on church and school officials to end all forms of sexual misconduct

For immediate release, January 11, 2016

Statement by Barbra Graber, 540-214-8874, Email: Mennonite@SNAPnetwork.org

Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, VA has reported that its Vice President for Enrollment, Luke Hartman, was among those charged by the Harrisonburg Police Department for solicitation of prostitution. Hartman has since been suspended from his duties.

We do not presume Hartman’s innocence or guilt and have no reason to believe he hurt any EMU students. We hope that is not the case. A distinction should be made between solicitation of prostitution and abuse. A person who does one does not necessarily do the other.

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AZ--Lawmaker: Revoke Cosby’s Medal of Honor. Victims respond

For immediate release: Friday, Jan. 8, 2016

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

There’s no better time than now for our government to rescind honors 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.mtv.com/news/2724475/this-congressman-wants-to-revoke-bill-cosbys-medal-of-freedom/

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MO--Two abuse cases settle vs. ex-Fordham professor & priest

For immediate release: Friday, Jan. 8, 2016

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

Two women have settled abuse lawsuits – totaling $282,000 - against the Jesuits and an ex-professor and priest at Fordham University because he abused them. The predator also taught at Georgetown University in Washington DC and became the president of St. Louis University in Missouri (All three are Jesuit institutions.)

http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/metro/settlements-reached-in-two-abuse-lawsuits-involving-former-st-louis/article_9ddcd298-9ee3-552c-8728-9b4846bfedd0.html

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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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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