For immediate release: Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014
For more information: David Clohessy of St. Louis, SNAP Director (314-566-9790 cell, SNAPclohessy@aol.com)
Sex abuse victims blast NY Cardinal
His latest blog is “preposterous” they say
Dolan claims he may soon get “negative publicity”
But the files he fears have been sealed by a judge
And in civil cases, he claims law enforcement will see records
SNAP “He's either dreadfully ill-informed or he's being deceptive”
A support group for clergy sex abuse victims is blasting New York’s Catholic Cardinal Timothy Dolan, calling him "deceptive and self-absorbed” and accusing him of “attacking real victims and their advocates while posturing as a victim himself.”
In his latest blog post, Dolan warns that “negative publicity” about him may result from clergy sex abuse records in St. Louis, where he was an auxiliary bishop for a year (2001-2002).
A judge recently ordered St. Louis' archbishop to turn over the documents – under seal - to a 20 year old victim and her lawyer.
Leaders of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, say Dolan's claims are “preposterous and self-serving.”
“Every single file is under seal. Two people – the victim and her lawyer – can see them,” said David Clohessy, director of SNAP. “Dolan's either dreadfully misinformed or deliberately deceiving his flock so he can win sympathy and posture as a victim.”
Dolan writes that “law enforcement will review the files” in the case.
“But that's just not true, because this is a civil suit,” Clohessy said.
The lawsuit in question alleges clergy sex crimes over a four year period that ended around 2001. In June of that year, Dolan was made an auxiliary bishop. There do not appear to be any ties between Dolan and the accused priest, Fr. Joseph D. Ross.
“Dolan's name will very likely never be mentioned publicly in any way in connection with this case unless it actually goes to trial”, said Barbara Dorris of SNAP. “There have only been about 35 civil trials involving predator priests, so Dolan knows the chance of this case ever being heard in court are extraordinarily small.”
Dolan also charges that last year, lawyers who represent clergy sex abuse victims tried to “muddy” his name.
“Dolan's name was bandied about as a possible pope and who was picked by TIME Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2012,” said Clohessy. “It's a little sad and silly for him to be so thin-skinned just because he was questioned about some of his unusual moving of millions of dollars in Milwaukee.”
Dolan headed the Milwaukee archdiocese before being sent to New York. After a Wisconsin judge ruled that a number of clergy sex abuse and cover up cases could proceed, Dolan transferred $57 million into a cemetery fund that could not be used to compensate victims.
Noted Catholic blogger Rocco Palmo said Dolan's blog, dated Feb. 18, “aims to pre-empt (a) media onslaught.”
“Dolan's always been a public relations genius. He understands the concept of 'getting out ahead of bad news,'” said Dorris. “His blog would have been a savvy PR move if not for his exaggerations and falsehoods.”
“Pope Francis has harshly condemned self-centeredness and narcissism in the church. Dolan apparently hasn't been listening,” she said. “In deference to the pope's concern for the poor, Dolan reportedly no longer wears cufflinks in public. But we wish Dolan would pay less attention to his public appearance and more to his inaccurate words.”
(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)