For immediate release: Friday, June 20, 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)
Innocent children and wounded victims have lost and serial wrongdoers have won today in a Charlotte courtroom, as clergy sex abuse and cover up cases against Charlotte Catholic officials have been tossed out.
We're deeply saddened by this ruling.
It's heartbreaking every time Catholic officials successfully exploit legal technicalities to deny abuse victims their day in court and evade responsibility for their heinous behavior.
We hope everyone who saw, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes or cover ups in North Carolina won't be deterred by this ruling. We hope they will find the courage to come forward, get help, and call police.
It's pretty clear, based on the actions of church and law enforcement officials, that Fr. Joseph Kelleher and Fr. Richard Farwell are child molesters. But Charlotte Catholic officials care more about their reputations and comfort than about children's safety, so they're using every legal maneuver possible to block trials, maintain secrecy and discourage victims.
We hope the bishop fails. We hope this ruling will inspire others who have been assaulted by Catholic priests, nuns, seminarians and brothers to overcome their fears, expose pedophile priests and seek justice.
We hope these brave victims will appeal and prevail. And regardless of what happens in court, we hope North Carolina lawmakers will respond to this injustice by reforming the state's archaic, predator friendly statute of limitations so that other officials will be deterred from putting kids in harm's way in the future.
(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 18,000 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)