MO--Three waves of victims of clergy sexual abuse

MO--Three waves of victims of clergy sexual abuse

For immediate release: Thursday, Nov. 5, 2015

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

There have basically been three “waves” of Catholic child sex abuse victims.

First were many who no longer had ties to the church. Their faith had been stolen from them. So they had fewer fears about seeking justice.

Then there were many who were abused in parish settings. They worried about their privacy, since parishes can be somewhat tightly knit. But they came forward anyway.

In recent years, many who were abused in Catholic high schools – even very expensive and prestigious ones – have begun coming forward. These schools are smaller than most parishes and even more tightly knit. They often have active and sometimes influential alumni groups. And the victims hurt at these schools often have conflicted feelings. On one hand, they were obviously and severely injured. On the other hand, however, many remain convinced they got a better education than they might have at another school.

For these reasons and more, it’s often harder for someone who was sexually abused at St. Louis University High or Vianney or St. Mary’s to step forward, protect kids, seek justice and expose clerics who commit

We’re glad this is happening more and more. These schools will be safer as a result.

Two examples:

--In 2005, Brother William C. Mueller’s first victim publicly stepped forward. Now more than 50 of Mueller’s victims have spoken up.

--In 2011, Brother Louis Meinhardt’s first victim publicly stepped forward. Now more than 15 of Meinhardt’s victims have spoken up.

Two months ago, during his US visit, Pope Francis made strong promises. He pledged that “abuse cannot be kept secret any longer,” “all responsible will be held accountable," and that church officials will provide "careful oversight to ensure that youth are protected.”

The Marianists are thumbing their noses at Francis. They’re doing none of this. It’s time that they start. And where better to start than with Br. Woulfe, a now-deceased cleric who faces multiple accusers and criminal charges in Illinois, in other words, a cleric whose guilt is not really in doubt.

Chaminade officials, Marianist officials, and archdiocesan officials should

--“come clean” about abuse in all Marianist schools,

--disclose ALL names of proven, admitted and credibly accused Marianists (whether living or deceased, lay or ordained, current or former),

--post predators’ names on Marianist schools’ websites, and

--send mailings to all alums about all of these predators.

Finally, we urge everyone who saw, suspected or suffered child sex crimes or cover ups by Marianists to call police, expose wrongdoing, protect others and start healing.

(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has 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)

Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, davidgclohessy@gmail.comSNAPclohessy@aol.com), Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003 cell, bdorris@SNAPnetwork.org)

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