MO--More Catholic abuse records to be turned over
For immediate release: Wednesday, March 11
Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314-503-0003, bdorris@SNAPnetwork.org)
Last year, a St. Louis judge ordered the Catholic archdiocese to turn over to a victim’s lawyer church abuse and cover up records over a 20 year span.
Now, a different judge in a different case involving a different predator is ordering Archbishop Robert Carlson to turn over more records.
Thanks to the ruling last year, we know local Catholic officials received at least 240 complaints against 115 church employees. We suspect these numbers are artificially low. Still, they are sobering.
(An independent website called BishopAccountability.org, started by Boston area Catholics, lists names of 54 publicly accused St. Louis archdiocesan predator priests. This figure is also very low, we believe.)
We applaud this ruling. But we’re sad that it’s necessary and worried it may not really make kids safer because the information is likely to be deceptive and incomplete and remain hidden from public view.
It would be so refreshing to see Archbishop Carlson voluntarily disclose information about predators and enablers, instead of repeatedly being forced to do so by persistent victims and smart judges.
Every single step towards more openness about those who commit and conceal child sex crimes is positive. We're grateful that the brave, wounded family in this lawsuit is making progress towards justice and that more judges realize that the on-going secrecy about child sex crimes by church officials is dangerous.
Finally, we applaud the brave mom and dad who are pursing this case on behalf of their son who committed suicide after having been sexually assaulted by Fr. Bryan Kuchar. (In 2003, Kuchar was convicted of molesting a South County boy. He’s since been defrocked.)
This family should be praised and supported for their efforts to peel back the long-standing and still-thick veil of secrecy surrounding clergy sex crimes and cover ups in this archdiocese. Their suffering is immeasurable and their courage is admirable.
Kuchar is young, smart and savvy. He received a short sentence and lives now in St. Louis. We fear he may still be abusing kids. So any attention brought to him and his crimes can only help to protect the innocent and vulnerable.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We were founded in 1988 and have more than 20,000 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)
SNAP will be Representing Clergy Abuse Survivors in Rome!
We are taking the fight to Rome and are standing up for all survivors on a world stage! From February 19-25, Board President Tim Lennon, Seattle Leader Mary Dispenza, Los Angeles Leader Esther Hatfield Miller and Austin Leader Carol Midboe will be traveling to Rome for Pope Francis' Papal Abuse Summit.
If you are a member of the media and looking to get in touch with these survivors while in Rome, click here for our media advisory and contact information. If you are interested in connecting with a survivor in the US from your area of coverage, please contact one of the SNAP leaders in the US listed below:
- East Coast/DC: Becky Ianni (SNAPvirginia@cox.net, 703-801-6044)
- Midwest/Chicago: Zach Hiner (email@example.com, 517-974-9009)
- Midwest/St. Louis: David Clohessy (firstname.lastname@example.org, 314314-566-9790)
- West Coast / San Francisco: Melanie Sakoda (email@example.com, 925-708-6175)
If you are looking to help spread the word about the importance of this summit and for survivors to be heard, add your voice to the conversation on social media using the hashtag #PBC2019. Be sure to follow SNAP on twitter and Facebook and share our posts, add your comments, and let the world know that we are watching!Learn More