NJ- Ex-priest not covered by church insurance in lawsuit, SNAP responds
For immediate release: Tuesday, June 03, 2014
Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314-503-0003, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)
A former New Jersey priest has been denied insurance coverage from the Catholic church in a lawsuit against him. The ex-priest is being sued for having an affair with a parishioner and counseling the woman’s husband.
This is another sad example of church officials focusing on legal technicalities instead of wounded and betrayed victims. Henry Drew was a monk at St. Mary's Abbey in Morristown, and the weekend assistant priest at Our Lady of the Mount Roman Catholic Church in Warren when he began to sexually exploit a married parishioner. The woman’s husband sought counseling from Drew, who told him to get a divorce. This is a gross misuse of power.
Drew violated his sacred duty twice. First, he sexually exploited a member of his church. Then he violating the trust of the man he was counseling and using his position to influence a divorce.
We also want to point out that relationships can never be equal between and priest and a parishioner. In 17 states, it's illegal for a clergyman to have any sexual contact with a congregant.
(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)
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
The Attorneys General of forty states have inquired about the grand jury process in Pennsylvania. Let's get statewide investigations going in fifty states.
Note to Letter Writers
Use your own words and style of writing. Cut and paste from the templates as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you were abused in or state now living in.