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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Letters

Letter to Bishop Gaydos

Sept. 30, 2009

Dear Bishop Gaydos

We are writing about two notorious predator priests who, recent evidence shows, spent time in your diocese.

With one of them, there’s never been any public announcement or awareness of his presence in this area. With the other, there’s only been public attention recently of his time in this area.

The first is Fr. Ken Roberts, a notorious predator from Dallas who is accused of molesting children in Texas, St. Louis and southern Illinois. (He’s believed to e living now in Cincinnati.)

The second is Fr. Jerry Howard, a convicted predator from New Jersey who was allowed, after his conviction, to change his name and who was sent to unsuspecting parishioners in Boonville where he molested again.

Just last week, one of Roberts’ victims (Chris Amenn) lost a chance to hold the pedophile

Just last month, one of Howard’s victims (Dr. Mark McAllister) spoke publicly for the first time about Howard’s crimes.

There’s no evidence Roberts worked in the Jefferson City diocese. Even though he clearly violated other pledges he made (celibacy promise at ordination, his later promise to stay away from kids), he may not have violated his commitment to avoid church functions, speaking engagements, etc.

Still, it's common for child molesters to hurt kids they don't meet thru work. It’s possible he sexually abused one or more kids in or around Osage Beach. And it's of course possible that one of those kids will grow up to lead a troubled life, filled with depression and addictions and isolation, and then sue church officials.

However, there’s plenty of evidence that Howard did, in fact, work in the diocese. Even after he left his Boonville parish

In fact, he moved elsewhere in the diocese, to Columbia, where he again managed to work around a vulnerable group of youngsters – teenagers who were in some sort of trouble or trauma and were patients at Charter Hospital.

Because both men have been accused more than once, yet still walk free, we urge you to act quickly to warn families about them.

Specifically, we urge you and your fellow church staff to
-- admit that both priests are dangerous and spent time in your diocese,
-- put notices about the two predators in every parish bulletin, begging victims and witnesses to come forward,
-- 'come clean' about other secret settlements involving predator priests and other church employees, and
-- disclose the identities of any other child molesting clerics who have changed their names.

These are simple, inexpensive, proven steps that both help heal the wounded and protect the vulnerable.

We hope you will decisively break from your irresponsible pattern of secrecy and recklessness and act quickly to safeguard those at risk, even now, from these two predators.

Barbara Dorris
Outreach Coordinator, SNAP
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
6245 Westminster
St. Louis MO 63130
314 862 7688, 314 503 0003
SNAPdorris@gmail.com

David Clohessy
National Director, SNAP
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
7234 Arsenal Street
St. Louis MO 63143
314 566 9790 cell, 314 645 5915
SNAPclohessy@aol.com

SNAPnetwork.org