OR--Victims ask: Where’s Portland predator now?
Victims ask: Where’s Portland predator now?
Secret records about child molesting cleric released
More than $5 million paid to victims of Catholic friar
His church supervisors claim he was “restricted & monitored”
But news reports show that he traveled far & organized events
SNAP to archbishop: “Aggressively seek out others he may have hurt”
A victims group is urging Portland Catholic officials to disclose where a credibly accused predator priest is now living. He is in the news again because last week, his long-secret personnel file was made public.
In a letter to a Portland-area church staff, leaders of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests SNAPNetwork.org, are urging church officials retract disclose the whereabouts of Brother Gregory Atherton who worked in Portland at the Grotto from 1991 until this year. http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news3/2002_05_05_Godines_HowOusted_Gregory_Atherton_etc.htm
Atherton is a member of the Servite Friars, a religious order based in Chicago. http://www.ocregister.com/articles/sharkey-660279-order-servite.html
On Friday, 999 pages of records about Atherton were posted online by a Los Angeles attorney: https://boucherllp.app.box.com/clergyfiles/1/3532800929/29476706811/1
The files show that Atherton sexually abused boys at Servite High School in Anaheim, CA. After his abuse at the all-boys school became known, Atherton was sent to a church-run treatment facility in New Mexico. Soon after, he was transferred to The National Sanctuary of Our Sorrowful Mother in Portland, also known as the Grotto. http://www.thegrotto.org/
More than $4 million has been paid to Atherton’s victims since 1999. http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news/2005_05_17_Knap_MillionDollar.htm
Members of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org) are upset that Atherton was not kept under restriction, nor were local Portland Catholics warned of the risk.
“We were .. alarmed when Rev. Fontana told a newspaper last week that Atherton was under a ‘safety plan’ and was only doing ‘light housework.’ This is not true,’” said SNAP in a letter to Servite Provincial John Fontana and Grotto Executive Director Thomas Fullmer. “In fact, news accounts show that Atherton was a prominent member of the Servite community, organizing the Festival of Lights, working with youth choirs, traveling to events, speaking at Masses, and playing the organ. He also had unfettered contact with Catholic families.”
Refutations of Fontana’s claims about Atherton are here: http://theworthyadversary.com/3485-atherton-servites-lie
The group is also upset that Servite officials refuse to disclose his current location.
“Child molesters are cunning and seldom have to use physical force. Even though Atherton is elderly, he is still dangerous. Keeping his location secret endangers kids,” said SNAP’s letter
SNAP’s letter asks Fontana and Fuller publicize Atherton’s file to local Catholics and everyone who worked on the Festival of Lights. They also want Fontana to disclose Atherton’s whereabouts and to reach out to victims and anyone who may have seen or suspected abuse.
The files were released as a part of a 2007 settlement between the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and more than 500 victims of child sex abuse.
SNAP’s letter, sent via email and fax is attached below.
Joelle Casteix of Newport Beach, SNAP Western Regional Director, firstname.lastname@example.org, (949) 322-7434
Barb Dorris of St. Louis, SNAP Outreach Director, bdorris@SNAPnetwork.org, (314) 503-0003
David Clohessy, SNAP National Director, email@example.com, (314) 566-9790
The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
PO Box 6416
Chicago, IL 60680-6416
Most Rev. John Fontana, Prior Provincial
The Servants of Mary
3121 W. Jackson Blvd
Chicago, IL 60612
Mr. Thomas Fullmer
PO Box 20008
Portland, Oregon 97294-0008
Dear Rev. Fontana and Mr. Fullmer:
We are members of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, the nation’s largest support group for men and women sexually abused in religious and institutional settings.
We were dismayed to read the recently released sex abuse and cover-up file of Brother Gregory Atherton https://boucherllp.app.box.com/clergyfiles/1/3532800929/29476706811/1. We were even more alarmed when Rev. Fontana told the Orange County Register that Atherton was under a “safety plan” and was only doing “light housework.” We know this is not true. http://www.ocregister.com/articles/sharkey-660279-order-servite.html
In fact, press reports show that Atherton was a prominent member of the Servite community, organizing the Festival of Lights, working with youth choirs, traveling to events, speaking at Masses, and playing the organ. http://theworthyadversary.com/3485-atherton-servites-lie
He also had unfettered contact with Catholic families.
Now, you will not tell anyone where Atherton is. Not only is this vary painful for Atherton’s victims, but this is a huge risk to the local families where Atherton now lives. Child molesters are cunning and seldom have to use physical force. Even though Atherton is elderly, he is still dangerous. Keeping his location secret endangers children who are not aware of his past.
We ask that you immediately do the following:
- Disclose Atherton’s location and warn local families of the risk,
- Publicize Atherton’s file in your online and printed newsletters and bulletins, and at Mass,
- Urge anyone who experienced, saw, or suspected abuse by Atherton or anyone to call the police,
- Reach out to all of Atherton’s victims who are suffering in shame and silence.
If you truly care about child safety, the above requests should be easy.
We look forward to your immediate response.
Joelle Casteix of Newport Beach
SNAP Western Regional Director
Barb Dorris of St. Louis
SNAP Outreach Director
SNAP National Director
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.