For immediate release: Thursday, April 7, 2016
A newspaper is reporting that an ex-priest who was convicted of child sex crimes is now at a North Carolina “spiritual center.” We think, this is a dangerous move and we urge his colleagues and supervisors to oust him.
The Atlanta Journal Constitution spoke recently with William Groves, a now-defrocked priest who pled guilty to felony abuse and sheltering “runaway Indian and Hispanic kids and giving them drugs and alcohol.” In June 2015, he was vice treasurer at the Spiritual Light Center in Franklin, North Carolina. Two local citizens told us they began to be suspicious when Groves repeatedly offered to set up a children’s program at the Center even though there were few children among the members there.
The AJC says he’s now an office manager there.
In our view, “reformed” alcoholics don’t seek jobs in bars. Likewise, a purported “reformed” child molester who hurt kids in a church shouldn’t seek employment with youth.
And he shouldn’t be given such a position. Child predators shrewdly use any role or responsibility or job or title to help persuade parents that they are trustworthy. So officials at the Spiritual Life Center, by giving Groves any job or position, are making it easier for him to win the trust of unsuspecting families and sexually violate more kids.
Groves was also named as a predator in two clergy sex abuse and cover up cases in Colorado. Those suits settled for $175,000. (His victims were represented by Ft. Lauderdale attorney Adam Horowitz.)
Previously, Groves worked in Colorado, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Kansas and allegedly got abuse counseling at a center in Atlanta in the 1990s.
We urge every single person who saw, suspected or suffered child sex crimes and cover ups in Catholic churches or institutions – especially by Groves – to protect kids by calling police, get help by calling therapists, expose wrongdoers by calling journalists, get justice by calling attorneys, and get comfort by calling support groups like ours. This is how kids will be safer, adults will recover, criminals will be prosecuted, cover ups will be deterred and the truth will surface.
(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