OK- Court sides with accused predator priest; SNAP responds

OK- Court sides with accused predator priest; SNAP responds

For immediate release: Monday, Feb. 3

Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 862 7688 home, 314 503 0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com) 

Fr. Paul Eichhoff has been accused at least twice of molesting boys (Kelly Kirk and Paul Weber). Kirk has sued Fr. Eichhoff.

Yet Tulsa Bishop Edward Slattery keeps Fr. Eichhoff on the job and lets him sue one of his victims for slander.

Shame on both Eichhoff and Slattery.

Now, a court has ruled that Fr. Eichhoff is not guilty of intentional infliction of emotional distress on Kirk and his family.

http://www.tulsaworld.com/homepagelatest/court-upholds-decision-clearing-bishop-diocese/article_1193a30a-8af2-11e3-8953-001a4bcf6878.html

Our hearts ache for the brave Kirk family. Kelly and his parents have tireless worked to expose predator priests and their corrupt supervisors. We admire them for their courage and persistence. And we are dreadfully sad that they have been betrayed, first by a child molesting cleric, then by a callous bishop, and now by our justice system. They deserve better.

As best we can tell, fewer than 20 of the more than 6,000 publicly accused US predator priests have sued their accusers. It's an especially hurtful legal tactic. It should not be permitted. And the fact that Slattery let Eichhoff do this, knowing that it would intimidate other victims, witnesses and whistleblowers into silence – is shameful.

Someday, Kelly Kirk and Paul Weber will be vindicated. We can only hope that between this day and that day, Fr. Eichhoff will not have molested other kids.

MORE FACTS ABOUT THE CASE: Eichhoff works at St. Cecelia Parish in Claremore (918 341 2343). We believes this puts kids needlessly at risk and violates the US Catholic bishops’ national sex abuse policy.

We want Eichhoff suspended immediately, for the safety of children. And we want Bishop Slattery to aggressively seek out anyone else who may have seen, suspected or suffered his crimes or wrongdoing.

In 2002, Eichhoff was accused of molesting then 8 or 9 year old Kelly Kirk of Tulsa when Kirk was in the second or third grade at St. Mary’s school in the 1970s. According to the Associated Press, within 24 hours of Kirk’s abuse report to the bishop, Eichhoff sued Kirk, claiming “slander.” We believe Eichhoff’s goal was to intimidate other victims into staying silent.

In 2004, however, Eichhoff lost his slander lawsuit, however. (The same jury determined that Eichhoff hadn’t molested Kirk. http://www.snapnetwork.org/snap_press_releases/2004_press_releases/101804_tulsa_trial.htm

Eichhoff and another priest, Fr. Ken Lewis, were both accused of molesting kids while at St. Mary’s. A lay ministerial worker, Evelyn McMahon, reported that in 1993, Eichhoff had threatened to fire her if she told anyone about seeing associate pastor Lewis in bed with a boy and giving boys “back rubs.” http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news3/2002_07_28_Egerton_AccusedPriest_Kenneth_Lewis_1.htm

In January/February 2010, Paul Weber contacted diocesan lawyer John Jarboe. (Weber's family reported his abuse to the church even earlier, in November 2009.) Weber also filed a police report with Tulsa Detective Darrin Carlot (918-669-6502) of the Child Crisis Unit (Report #2009064227).

Eichhoff has been represented by Tulsa lawyer Ken Brune (918 599 9600). A photo of Eichhoff is available at BishopAccountability.org.

Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell,SNAPclohessy@aol.com), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home,314-503-0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)

Comments

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  • commented 2014-02-03 12:37:52 -0600
    Again, thank you for reporting SNAP. It is all so sad and discouraging. I guess the reason all of the pedophile priests and their enablers and supporters can keep lying and making horrible claims and accusations about the abused, (and, as in this case going so far as to sue the abused, for slander) is that PEDOPHILE PRIESTS have nothing to lose by continuing to abuse and to cover it up, in their perverted, twisted world… by lying and having their lies believed, they “have everything to gain”. Certainly, a pedophile’s world must consist nearly entirely in spending all of their “free time” (when they aren’t actually overwhelming and abusing an innocent child), seeking more children to abuse. To my way of thinking, all of these crimes should be shocking to any human who is not a pedophile. Today, my sympathies and thanks for coming forward, go to these two abuse victims and their families and to all the people at SNAP who carry “the battle” forward. I also want to mention here, that this past weekend, Dylan Farrow wrote an open letter to the New York Times, about the sexual abuse she suffered as a child and I hope that SNAP reaches out to her and thanks her for her courage, as well. I believe her, and wish that Woody Allen could be stopped and brought to justice, also.