MO- High profile pedophile priest trial delayed; SNAP responds
For immediate release: Wednesday, Feb. 12 2014
Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, SNAPclohessy@aol.com)
Yesterday afternoon, St. Louis City Judge Phil Heagney delayed the high profile child sex abuse and cover up lawsuit against St. Louis Archbishop Robert Carlson and Fr. Joseph D. Ross (whose whereabouts are allegedly unknown).
We are saddened by this callous decision. Once again, justice is being delayed because Catholic officials refused, time and time again over months, to obey a court order and because, at the very last minute, they brought in more expensive lawyers to battle a case first filed more than two years ago. Irresponsible, secretive defendants shouldn't be rewarded for moving slowly and selfishly.
It's ironic that Catholic officials so often insist in court that victims have come forward too late. But then those same Catholic officials deliberately drag their feet and expect and experience few consequences.
Catholic officials claim “We're changing how we deal with abuse.” In truth, however, they act nearly the same as they always have. For decades, they've exploited every delay tactic they could imagine, and they still do so now. For decades, they've made litigation as tough as possible on victims, and they still do so now. For decades, they've zealously held onto their secrets for as long as possible, and they still do so now.
Meanwhile, Joseph D. Ross walks free, living (and perhaps working) among unsuspecting families and vulnerable kids. And Catholic officials make no effort whatsoever to help police or warn parents, choosing instead to focus their energies and spend their money evading their moral responsibility and hiding their irresponsible actions.
The trial is now set for July before Judge Edward Sweeney.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 25 years and have more than 15,000 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.