For immediate release: Saturday, March 15, 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)
The child sex crimes and secrecy in Bishop Robert Finn's Catholic diocese of Kansas City continue as two school teachers have been recently accused of allegedly molesting students. One of them was apparently quietly removed and the teacher who replaced him is now charged with child sex crimes.
In the less-troubling case, Jackson County prosecutors filed charges on Friday against St. Thomas More elementary school teacher Tod. A. Barnard, 53, of Independence who allegedly repeatedly groped an 11-year-old girl.
In the more-troubling case, Catholic school officials admit they were informed on March 3 that the Independence Police Department was investigating an allegation of suspicious conduct by a school employee but apparently choose secrecy over openness twice. First, they kept that information hidden from parents and the public until two days ago. Second, they apparently quietly suspended the accused and kept that information hidden from parents and the public until two days ago too.
Shame on them.
Why the continuing delays and secrecy? If they suspended a teacher for alleged abuse, why did they not tell parents and the public? And if they learned of abuse allegations on March 3, why did KC Catholic officials conceal them until March 13?
Those ten days of secrecy gave a potential criminal plenty of time to destroy evidence, intimidate victims, threaten whistle blowers, discredit witnesses, fabricate alibis, “lawyer up,” and molest more children.
Finn and his top aides have some tough questions to answer. In a rigid hierarchy like the Catholic church, it's virtually certain that St. Thomas More principal Brian Borgmeyer did not unilaterally decide to suspend a teacher for alleged child sex crimes, bring in a replacement, and hide the allegations for days, weeks or months. It's virtually certain that he consulted with church officials at the diocesan headquarters before he opted to quietly sit on the first set of allegations and the suspension.
Any why this silly hair-splitting by church officials who said “Barnard was not paid by the diocese, but paid by the man who is on paid leave because of the second incident.” Does it matter who signs an alleged predator's paychecks when he's around kids? This sounds like a desperate public relations and legal defense maneuver by Finn's spokesman to deter lawsuits.(“Don't sue us, we weren't paying that guy.”)
We hope that every single person who may have seen, suspected or suffered child sex crimes by either teacher – or cover-ups by school or church staffers will find the courage to call law enforcement immediately so that kids can be protected and so that the truth can be revealed.
(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)
Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, SNAPclohessy@aol.com), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com), Mike Hunter of Kansas City (913 634 6490, email@example.com), Abott Durocher of Kansas City (314-616-5054, Hiabott@yahoo.com